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Independent Objective Review of the Ohio National ONDex Annuity

What will you learn about in this review of the Ohio National ONDex Annuity?

In this Ohio National ONDex annuity review, we will be discussing the in-depth details about:

  • Type of annuity
  • How the annuity works – including the way that the returns are calculated
  • Protected growth features
  • Charges and fees
  • Where the ONDex may fit well
  • Where this annuity might not be a good option

Annuities can be complex. That’s where having an Annuity Investigator who loves math comes in.
We make the complex, simple.

Oftentimes, planning for retirement can resemble a “give and take” type of relationship with your money. For example, if you want the chance to attain a decent rate of growth, you have to also accept the fact that your principal may end up losing value. But as you get closer to your retirement date, losses can hinder the amount of income you generate in the future, and in turn, can literally alter your lifestyle going forward.

On the other hand, you could invest in fixed, “safe money” options that won’t lose value – even in the event of a stock market crash. But with bonds and CD rates barely at the 1% mark, your purchasing power could be severely reduced. This is where an annuity that offers protected growth can be beneficial.

Think about it, with the 10-year U.S. Treasury rate struggling to stay around 1.5%, a $1 million investment would only provide you with $15,000 per year in interest. Plus, if interest rates continue to fall, you may generate even less down the road.

Could you live comfortably in retirement on $15,000 per year…and the possibility of that amount going down in the future?

We couldn’t either!

Given this potential lose-lose situation, many investors and retirees are turning to fixed indexed annuities. These financial vehicles offer the ability to generate a return that is based on one or more market indexes, such as the S&P 500.

But, if the index endures a negative performance in a given year, principal – along with your previous gains – will be protected. Plus, once the index turns around and performs in the positive again, there are no prior losses to make up for. So, the return continues to grow. If it sounds too good to be true, it isn’t – because that is exactly the type of “protected growth” that you can expect with the Ohio National ONDex fixed indexed annuity. But, before you make a long-term commitment to this annuity, it is important that you know exactly how it does, and does not, work.

Annuity and Retirement Income Planning Information You Can Trust

If you have never been to our website before, please allow us to officially welcome you here to Annuity Gator.

Who are we, and why should it matter to you?

We are a team of annuity specialists who focus on researching retirement income products and providing in-depth, and unbiased, annuity reviews on the Internet. We have been at this for quite a while now – far longer than our competitors have – even though there are now a number of “copycat” websites that are popping up.

Our mission at Annuity Gator is to provide in-depth information and reviews about annuities to consumers – as well as to financial professionals – so that everyone involved in a particular annuity transaction knows exactly what they may (or may not!) be getting into when considering the purchase of an annuity.

Even though annuities can offer some really cool features, these products can also be highly complex, so it helps to have someone who is adept in how annuities work, and who can pare down the massive amount of “fine print” into something that is more easily understood.

That’s where Annuity Gator comes in!

When researching annuity information online, it is essential that you know who is truly trying to provide education on the products, and who is simply wanting to sell you something…regardless of whether or not it is the right financial vehicle for you.

Admittedly, it’s easy to be lulled into some of the other websites out there – especially when they make enticing claims, like:

  •  Low fees
  •  No loss to principal
  •  High income payout
  •  Top-rated annuity carriers
  •  Guaranteed income stream for life

Does this look familiar?

On top of that, the more “bells and whistles” an annuity has, the more “small print” you are likely to come across that “explains” to you how it works. Not that it’s a bad thing – the more information you gather, the better you can understand what to anticipate – but it can make shopping for the right annuity much more cumbersome.

So, if you’ve come here to our website to learn more about the Ohio National ONDex fixed indexed annuity, you are definitely in the right place. We’ve done an extensive amount of research and testing on this particular annuity, and we will share that with you here in this review.

This will include both pros and cons of purchasing the ONDex annuity from Ohio National, because only focusing on the benefits could end up leaving you with some unexpected surprises down the road.

That being said, if you’re ready to get started, let’s dive in!

The Ohio National ONDex Fixed Indexed Annuity at a Glance

Product NameONDex Fixed Indexed Annuity
IssuerOhio National Financial Services
Type of AnnuitySingle Premium Fixed Indexed Annuity
A.M. Best RatingA
Phone Number(888) 925-6446
Website https://ohionational.com

Opening Thoughts on the Ohio National ONDex Fixed Indexed Annuity

Ohio National traces its corporate origins back to 1909. The company offers a variety of insurance and financial vehicles that are designed for growing and protecting wealth, as well as providing an ongoing income in retirement.

Since its inception, Ohio National has grown its family of companies to include:

  •  The Ohio National Life Insurance Company
  •  Ohio National Life Assurance Corporation
  •  The O.N. Equity Sales Company (ONESCO)
  •  O.N. Investment Management Company
  •  Ohio National Equities, Inc.
  •  Ohio National Investments, Inc.

In addition, the company also owns The Ohio National Foundation, a not-for-profit company that was founded in 1987 and focuses on contributing to numerous worthy causes and organizations across the country.

Given its strength and financial stability, Ohio National has earned high marks from the insurer rating agencies, including a(n):

  •  A from A.M. Best
  •  A- from Fitch
  •  A3 from Moody’s

For more than 110 years, Ohio National has proven to be a strong financial presence for its customers and policyholders. In 2020, the company paid out more than $1.4 billion to its policyholders and/or their beneficiaries.

More than 75 charitable organizations benefited from the volunteer and financial support of Ohio National and its associates in 2020 – even during the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, when many other companies were reducing their workforce or shutting down altogether.

As of year-end 2020, Ohio National held more than $41 billion in assets under management, with over $185 billion of life insurance in force. The company has stayed true to its overall mission:

“To make a difference in your life by helping you achieve financial security and independence today – and for generations to come.”

For more information on the financial strength of Ohio National, you can check out the company’s corporate profile here.

Over the past decade or so, fixed indexed annuities have been highly attractive to retirees, as well as those who are planning for retirement. This is particularly the case as more companies are doing away with defined benefit pensions, and the Social Security system has faced funding issues.

Today, many people must take what they have saved and convert it over to an income stream that will last as long as they need it to. Unfortunately, without investing in equities, you could give up the potential for significant growth. But, you can also face the risk of loss.

Low interest rates can also be a problem, as they could reduce your future purchasing power, and oftentimes do not even come close to meeting – much less beating – current and future inflation.

But fixed indexed annuities like the Ohio National ONDex can offer a “best of both worlds” scenario with both growth and protection. That’s because the growth is based in large part on the performance of an underlying market index, such as the S&P 500. When the tracked index (or indexes) does not perform well, though, there is no risk of loss.

We feel that the ONDex annuity from Ohio National does a particularly good job of offering a variety of growth options, while at the same time keeping your principal and your previous gains safe.

Not all fixed indexed annuities will perform exactly the same, though. So be sure that you read over this full review before making a decision on whether or not the ONDex annuity is right for you and your specific short- and long-term objectives.

Before we get into the gritty details, here are some legal disclosures we need to provide…

This is an independent product review, not a recommendation to buy or sell an annuity. Ohio National Financial Services has not endorsed this review in any way, nor do we receive any type of compensation for providing this review. This review is meant to be an independent review at the request of readers so that they may see our perspective when breaking down the positives and negatives of this particular annuity. Prior to purchasing any type of investment or insurance product, it is important that you do your own due diligence and that you consult a properly licensed professional if you should have any specific questions that relate to your individual circumstances. All names, marks, and materials that were used for this review are the property of their respective owners.

How Ohio National Describes the ONDex Fixed Indexed Annuity

Ohio National describes the ONDex fixed indexed annuity as a single-premium annuity product that can help you to accumulate retirement assets and then turn them into a source of income that will last for the rest of your life.

With the ONDex, you can allocate your money to either a(n):

  • Index-based crediting strategy that will grow, based in part upon the performance of one or more market indexes, such as the S&P 500
  •  Fixed interest account that will accumulate assets at a set rate each year

Because the return is based in large part on the performance of market-related vehicles, there is the opportunity to achieve a higher return than other “fixed” investments like bonds and CDs.

The ONDex annuity can continue to attain growth and protect principal (and prior gains) – even if the stock market tumbles.

This protection of your contribution and your previous growth can make a big difference in the value of your account. For instance, imagine if you planned on retiring in March 2020. The stock market had hit an all-time high the month prior. But when the Coronavirus pandemic hit in the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped by more than 30% in just a few weeks’ time.

Would you have still been able to retire then, or instead would you have to postpone it until you made your money back?

The thing about losing value in your portfolio is that it requires a much larger gain in the future to just get back to even. For instance, if you started with $100,000 and you lost 50% of the value in one year, you would be left with $50,000.

In the following year, if your account went up by 50%, would you be back to even?

Nope!

That’s because a 50% gain on the $50,000 would only get you to $75,000 – which in this case would represent a loss of 25% based on your original $100,000. So, in order to just get back to square one, it would require a 100% gain to “right” the previous 50% loss.

$100,000 @ 50% loss = $50,000

$50,000 @ 50% gain = $75,000

$50,000 @ 100% gain = $100,000

There are some other features that can make the ONDex fixed indexed annuity a bit more enticing, such as a(n):

  •  Diversification
  •  Death benefit
  •  Nursing home waiver
  •  Liquidity
  •  Spousal continuation
  •  Guaranteed income

Diversification

A diversified retirement portfolio is one of the keys to developing a successful overall plan. That’s because the proper diversification can allow you to grow your funds, while at the same time still mitigating the impact of any losses.

With the Ohio National ONDex annuity, there are several market indexes that you can choose from for allocating your funds. In some cases, putting everything into one makes sense, while in others, spreading out could be the better option.

The indexes offered with the ONDex fixed indexed annuity include the:

  •  S&P 500
  •  Russell 2000
  •  Barclay’s Global Trailblazer

There is also a 1-year fixed accumulation account that offers a fixed interest rate for a one-year period of time.

In order to better “customize” the annuity for your needs, the ONDex annuity from Ohio National currently offers six different crediting strategies. Each option will provide a credit to the annuity’s contract value, based on either the performance of an index or a guaranteed interest rate. A cap is an upper maximum limit of return that will be credited to the annuity’s contract value. As an example, if the S&P 500 index attains a 10% gain in a given year, and the annuity has a cap of 7%, then the account value will be credited with a 7% return.

Participation rates may also be factored into the return on the annuity. In this case, participation rates represent how much of an underlying index’s return will be credited. For instance, if the participation rate is 80%, then a 10% gain in the underlying index would result in an 8% return credited to the account value. That is because 80% of 10% is 8%.

Depending on the crediting option that you choose on the ONDex annuity, there may be both caps and participation rates. Discussing the different alternatives with an annuity specialist can help you with narrowing down the one(s) that may be most beneficial to you.

(Note that rates and caps are subject to change at any time. These may also differ, based on the amount of contribution that you make into the annuity).

There is a 7-year and a 10-year option on the ONDex annuity. And, like many other financial products, the longer your time commitment, the higher the rates and the lower the caps may be. So, based on your particular time frame, one or the other could be a better fit.

Unlike many other annuities offered in the marketplace, the Ohio National ONDex provides guaranteed accumulation protection. This means that you will receive a minimum contract value – based on your contribution – of 1% per year (simple interest).

In other words, if there is no growth in the underlying index(es) throughout the time that you own the annuity (which is an unlikely scenario…but just in case), your contract will still be worth more at the end of the contract period.

So, for instance, if your initial contribution into the ONDex 7-year annuity was $100,000, it would be worth $107,000 after seven years, or $110,000 after 10 years. If you want to keep the money invested in the annuity after the initial time period of 7 or 10 years has elapsed, it will automatically reset.

Even in the “worst case scenario” of no growth in the underlying index(es) over time, you could still fare better than you would with a 5-year CD that is currently (June 2021) paying .6% interest.

As an added bonus, the money that is in the ONDex annuity grows tax-deferred. This means that there are no taxes levied on the gains until the time of withdrawal. Therefore, with all other factors being equal, a tax-deferred option could allow you to generate much more growth than a comparable taxable investment.

Taxable versus Tax-Deferred Growth

The growth that takes place inside of the annuity is tax-deferred, meaning that there is no tax on the gains until the time of withdrawal. This, in turn, can allow the account value to increase – in some cases significantly – especially if the funds are held for a long period of time.

This tax-advantaged feature can be a nice “tradeoff” as compared to taxable investments – even if the latter has the opportunity for higher annual returns. This is because any time there is a loss in the mix, it can impact the actual growth – starting with the fact that the loss must be made up before additional growth can occur.

As an example, here is how a $1,000 investment that vacillated between positive and negative yearly returns of 10% would look over a 10-year period of time.

End of YearGain or LossValue of Account
110%$1,000.00
2(-10%)$990.00
310%$1,089.00
4(-10%)$980.10
510%$1,078.11
6(-10%)$970.30
710%$1,067.33
8(-10%)$960.60
910%$1,056.66
10(-10%)$950.99

In this scenario, even though the “average” return is zero, the actual return is roughly negative 5%. Compare this to a fixed financial vehicle that offers tax-deferred growth and protection of principal – even if the interest rate is considered low.

End of YearGain or LossValue of Account
12%$1,000.00
22%$1,020.00
32%$1,040.40
42%$1,061.21
52%$1,082.43
62%$1,104.08
72%$1,126.16
82%$1,148.69
92%$1,171.66
102%$1,195.09

Example shows a fixed interest rate of 2%, tax-deferred, compounded annually.

Death Benefit

If the annuitant passes away while there is still money in the annuity, a death benefit may be paid out to one or more named beneficiaries. The amount of the benefit is the greater of the annuity’s contract value or the guaranteed minimum nonforfeiture value.

Nursing Home Waiver

With longer life expectancy today, more people are worried about the need for – and the cost of – long-term care services. The ONDex annuity from Ohio National allows access to the contract value without any surrender charges – even during the surrender period – if the owner or annuitant requires either hospital or nursing home confinement for at least 30 consecutive days. (In order to retain this benefit, the annuity must have been purchased before your 80th birthday).

Liquidity

Even though there is either a 7- or a 10-year holding period on your money that is in the ONDex fixed indexed annuity, you still have the option of taking up to 10% of your funds out each year without penalty – even during the surrender charge period.

This is similar to other fixed investment products, like CDs and bonds, where there is often some type of early withdrawal penalty. Given that, most annuities should be considered a longer term commitment.

So, while the ONDex isn’t necessarily a “substitute” for investing in stocks and other types of equities, it could be a viable alternative for bonds and certificates of deposit – especially if you want to avoid painfully low interest rates and possible reinvestment risk in the future.

Spousal Continuation

Should you pass away while the annuity is still in force, there is a spousal continuation option. This feature allows your spouse (if applicable) to continue the annuity contract as if he or she is the sole primary beneficiary.

Guaranteed Income

Although the Ohio National ODex annuity focuses on protected growth, there are guaranteed income options available if you opt to convert the contract over to an ongoing income stream. In this case, income can be received for a pre-set number of years, or you can choose for it to continue for the remainder of your lifetime – no matter how long that may be. This lifetime income option can help to alleviate one of the biggest fears on the minds of retirees – running out of income while it is still needed.

In addition, you could also choose a joint life and survivor income option where cash flow will continue for a second income recipient upon your death – and it will then continue for the remainder of his or her life, as well.

For more information about the Ohio National ONDex fixed indexed annuity, you can go to the insurer’s website here.

Although the ONDex is simple in its structure, fixed indexed annuities can still be loaded with a lot of “moving parts,” so it is important to have a good understanding of how the return is calculated so that you know what you can expect from it. In addition, not all fixed indexed annuities are exactly the same, so the ONDex could perform quite differently than another fixed indexed annuity.

With that in mind, we can answer any questions that you still have about the ONDex and its competitors. In addition, we can provide side-by-side annuity comparisons for you, so that you can see the difference in features, as well as in the anticipated performance over time.

How the ONDex Annuity from Ohio National May Be “Pitched” by a Financial Advisor

While fixed indexed annuities have been available in the marketplace for some time, many advisors are still not 100% sure how these financial vehicles work. But if an advisor is “pitching” this annuity to you, it is likely that he or she will focus on some key areas, such as:

  •  Protection of principal in any type of stock market environment
  •  Market index linked growth potential
  •  Access to the funds at 10% free withdrawal each year or all at the end of the term

The “best of all worlds” concept of the ONDex fixed indexed annuity can be enticing for investors – especially if you are seeking a nice mix of growth and protection of principal. Even so, though, while most insurance and financial professionals truly want to help their clients, unless they are an annuity specialist, they may not be able to fully explain how the index crediting works. This, in turn, could lead to some disappointment in the future if the annuity does not perform like you thought it would.

For instance, it is essential that you understand how caps and participation rates work and the indexes that are being used. Because they can have a tremendous impact on how the annuity determines your overall return. In some cases, advisors – both online and off – focus on what the index “might” do, without considering the caps, participation rates, or other return limitations.

In addition, many “newer” market indexes in other annuities show nice percentage returns but many if not most are based on backtested results on brand new indexes that were just created. This is important because those indexes may have only been around for one or two years and they have no track record or real history. This is not the case with the Ohio National ONDex annuity. It uses the S&P 500 index which has been around for 60 years. This is a key benefit of the Ohio National ONDex annuity.

Working with a specialist who can help you with your index allocations can help you to ensure that you’re going in the right direction, based on your objectives, risk tolerance, and time horizon until retirement.

Fees on the Ohio National ONDex Annuity

While variable annuities are typically known for their high fees, investors who own fixed and fixed indexed annuities generally incur little to no charges. Regarding the Ohio National ONDex fixed indexed annuity, there is a surrender, or holding period of either 7 or 10 years, depending on which option you choose.

During this time, you can still access up to 10% per year penalty-free. (Any amount over 10% during the surrender period will incur a charge, though). Once the surrender period has ended, there are no withdrawal penalties incurred. Given that, any contribution that you make into the ONDex annuity should ideally be with funds that you will not need in the near term for emergencies or other purposes.

The ONDex Fixed Indexed Annuity Surrender Charge Schedule

Contract Year 1234567891011+
Surrender Charge %99876543210

Note that when you access money from any type of annuity, you could incur taxes on the gain, as well as a 10% “early withdrawal” charge from the IRS if you are under the age of 59 ½ when you make the withdrawal.

There are typically no surrender charges incurred as a result of the annuitant’s death or under certain scenarios, such as the withdrawal of funds under the annuity’s nursing home waiver and/or when using certain annuitization options.

For those who contribute less than $50,000 into the ONDex fixed indexed annuity, there will also be a $30 annual fee. If the contract value increases to more than $50,000 at the annual anniversary of the annuity, the $30 will then be waived.

The Annuity Gator’s End Take on the ONDex Annuity from Ohio National

Where this annuity might be a good fit:

Given the many enticing features that are offered with the Ohio National ONDex fixed indexed annuity, this financial vehicle could be a good option if you are seeking:

  •  The opportunity for index-linked growth
  •  Protection of principal – and prior gains – in any type of stock market or economic environment
  •  An alternative for the low rates and possible reinvestment risk of CDs and bonds

Where the ONDex fixed indexed annuity might not be a good fit:

On the other hand, there may be other, better alternatives if you:

  •  Anticipate needing a large sum of liquid funds for emergencies
  •  Have a high risk tolerance and prefer investing directly in the stock market
  •  Need a shorter time frame than 7 or 10 years.

If you are still considering the purchase of the ONDex fixed indexed annuity from Ohio National, but you’re currently on the proverbial fence regarding whether or not it will be right for you, we can help you to “test” it, based on your specific scenario, at no cost or obligation.

Just let us know if this is something that you are interested in doing, and we’ll get on the case right away!

In Summary

As the Baby Boomer generation continues to make its way towards retirement, one of the key attributes desired is simplicity. This is something that the ONDex annuity from Ohio National can offer.

Given all of the annuities that are available in the marketplace now, it is our opinion that the ONDex fixed indexed annuity from Ohio National is one of the top, if not top protected growth annuity out there. So, if your priorities include generation of more growth, but keeping your principal safe, then this could be a good alternative for you.

But even so, there are many different ways that you could structure this annuity, so talking with an objective annuity and retirement income specialist can help. If you have questions regarding the ONDex annuity – or any annuity, for that matter – feel free to contact us and talk with one of our retirement income experts. We are happy to discuss various annuities and scenarios with you so that you’re confident in moving forward with a plan that is right for you.

At Annuity Gator, we know annuities inside and out. We offer easy-to-access online annuity reviews on our website via our annuity review database.

Do You Have Any Additional Questions About the ONDex Annuity from Ohio National?

We realize that this annuity review may have run a bit long. But quite frankly, we would much rather that you have “too much” information on this annuity than to not have enough. So, if you found this annuity review to be beneficial, please feel free to pass it on and to share it with other people who could also find value in it. (And, if you found it to be confusing, please also let us know that, too.)

In addition, we are aware that information regarding annuities can, and often does, change. So, if you happen to notice anything in this review that should be updated or revised, let us know and we will be happy to make the necessary edits.

Are there any other annuities that you would like to learn more about?

If so, just give us a shout and let us know, and our team will get to working on them right away.

Best,

The Annuity Gator

Independent Objective Review of the Ohio National ONDex Annuity

 

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