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Independent Review of the Reliance Standard Keystone Index Annuity

What’s Covered In This Review

In this review about the Reliance Standard Keystone Index Annuity, we will be covering the following:
  • Product typeIndependent Review of the Reliance Standard Life Apollo MVA Annuity
  • Fees
  • Current rates
  • Realistic long-term expectations
  • How the annuity is best used
  • How the annuity is most poorly used

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

If you have been thinking about purchasing a fixed indexed annuity because of the index-linked (and tax-deferred) growth you can obtain without any worry about market-related losses, then the Reliance Standard Keystone index annuity could be a good option for you. That’s because fixed index annuities can offer you the opportunity for both accumulation and principal protection, along with an ongoing, guaranteed lifetime income that you can count on when you retire. In fact, index annuities have become extremely popular with investors who are tired of worrying about stock market losses, and who want to know that their money will be there when they need it – and for as long as they need it. But, before you run out and purchase this – or any – annuity, it is important that you first have a good understanding of how the product works, so that you can anticipate any of the fees that you may incur, as well as knowing the ins and outs of the crediting of returns. That way, you won’t be disappointed if the annuity does not perform the way you anticipated that it would.

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 exactly are we? At Annuity Gator, we are a team of experienced financial and annuity professionals who focus on 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. (Imitation is a form of flattery, isn’t it?!) It is our mission to provide in-depth information and reviews about annuities to consumers – as well as to financial professionals – so that they know exactly what they may (or may not!) be getting into when considering and/or selling an annuity. These products can 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 looking for annuity information online, it is essential that you know who is trying to provide education on the products, and who is simply trying to sell you something…regardless of whether or not it is the right financial vehicle for you. It’s easy to be lulled into some of the other websites out there in cyberspace – especially when they make bold claims, like:
  • Lowest fees
  • High income
  • Top-rated annuity carriers
  • Income stream for life
Does this look at all familiar? In addition, 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, the better – but it can make shopping for the right annuity much more cumbersome. That being said, if you have landed here on our website in search of more details on the Reliance Standard Keystone Index Annuity, then you are definitely in the right place. In fact, we dare say that this is the only website where you can find all of the information you need. This includes an honest review of the good, the bad, and yes, even the ugly about this annuity. But that way, you will be able to make a much better decision regarding whether or not this is truly the best annuity for you. So, if you’re ready to get started, let’s dive right in!

The Reliance Standard Keystone Index Annuity at a Glance

Product NameKeystone Index Annuity
IssuerReliance Standard
Type of ProductIndexed Annuity
A.M. Best RatingA+ (Superior)
Phone Number(800) 351-7500 ext. 3696

Opening Thoughts on the Reliance Standard Keystone Index Annuity

Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company (aka, Reliance Standard) is a leading insurance carrier that specializes in innovative and flexible employee benefit solutions – including group term life insurance, disability income, and annuities. It is a member of the Tokio Marine Group, which operates in the property and casualty insurance arena, as well as in life insurance and reinsurance around the globe. This group’s main operating subsidiary, Tokio Marine and Nichido Fire was originally founded in the year 1879. Reliance Standard’s products are available in all 50 U.S. states. It has an A.M. Best Rating of A+, so it is considered strong and stable from a financial standpoint and has a good reputation for paying out its policyholders’ claims. Given that fixed indexed annuities have become a financial solution of choice for many retirees and those who are approaching retirement, many insurance carriers have been adding to their index annuity product lineup. This, however, may or may not be an advantage because sometimes having “too many” choices can make things even more confusing. A fixed indexed annuity is oftentimes touted as the “best of all worlds,” because they allow their owners a way to secure a positive return in good times and to hang on to their principal value during market downturns. But it is essential to know all of the in-depth details about a fixed indexed annuity you are considering before you move ahead with depositing a large chunk of your money into one – as it can be difficult, and costly, for you to get out if you later realize that it really isn’t the best option for you. You can access our annuity buyers guide HERE for more information on how fixed index annuities work, and to help you determine whether or not this type of annuity would be right for you and your specific 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. Reliance Standard 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 Reliance Standard Describes the Keystone Index Annuity

The Reliance Standard website describes the Keystone Index Annuity as a single premium financial vehicle that offers:
  • Three index strategies
  • One fixed-rate option
  • Tax-deferred growth
  • The ability to reallocate your tracked indexes each year
  • No market value adjustment
  • A death benefit for a named beneficiary
  • The ability to withdraw up to 10% of the contract’s value each year penalty-free during the surrender charge period
The Keystone Index annuity will earn interest, based on the allocation of your premium to one or more of the different index interest strategies and/or the fixed interest strategy. This annuity also provides a guarantee that your paid-in premium (minus any withdrawals) will earn interest at a guaranteed rate over the length of the contract. At the time of withdrawal, surrender, or the election of a settlement option, the value of the Keystone annuity will be the greater of the minimum guaranteed value, or the value of the index interest strategies and fixed interest strategy, reduced in either case by any surrender charges that you may incur. These surrender charges will correspond with the rate guarantee period. So, for instance, if you go with the Keystone Index 5 annuity, the surrender charge will last for 5 years. Likewise, the Keystone Index 7 annuity will have a 7-year surrender period, and the Index 10 annuity will have a 10-year surrender period. The Keystone index annuities have a variety of interest crediting methods that you can choose from, including:
  • Annual Point to Point – Capped Strategy
  • Annual Point to Point – Participation Rate Strategy
  • Annual Monthly Average – Capped Strategy
  • Fixed Interest Strategy
The index interest rate cap, the participation rate, and the fixed interest rate guarantee are guaranteed for the first contract year. Each year after that, Reliance Standard will declare the interest rate cap, participation rate, and fixed interest rate for the subsequent contract year and that cap or rate will never dip below the minimum guaranteed rate or cap. There are a few added features that could make this annuity more enticing. For instance, a death benefit ensures that the remaining funds in the annuity are payable to a named beneficiary upon the annuitant’s death. The amount of this benefit will be the greater of the annuity value or the guaranteed minimum values that are stated in the contract. The qualified nursing care benefit allows you to access up to 25% of your funds penalty-free (even during the surrender period) if you are confined to a qualified nursing home or hospital. (Some exceptions apply here). Likewise, the terminal illness/condition benefit will also allow you to access funds – but this time, the entire annuity value – penalty-free (after the first contract year) if you are initially diagnosed as having a terminal illness by a qualified physician. (This condition will typically be required to have a life expectancy of 12 months or less). For more of the in-depth details about the Reliance Standard Keystone Index 5, Index 7, and Index 10 annuity, go HERE.

How an Insurance or Financial Advisor Might Present this Annuity to You

Because people are living so much longer today than ever before, having enough income in retirement has become a top concern for many retirees, as well as those who are approaching retirement. With that in mind, the guaranteed income concept of the Reliance Standard Keystone Index annuity is most likely where an insurance or financial advisor would focus when presenting this product to clients or prospects. In addition, the tax-deferred growth of your money inside of the contract can also be a bonus – and it could even allow for an additional option for tax-advantaged accumulation, even if you have “maxed out” other alternatives like an IRA and/or employer-sponsored retirement plan. But even with all of these awesome features, you really need to be careful, as there are some “tradeoffs” you may need to make with indexed annuities. For instance, even though you have the ability to obtain a positive return based on the performance of an underlying index (or indexes), the upward potential can also be capped or limited by a certain percentage. In other words, depending on the crediting strategy you choose, this annuity may use an annual index rate cap, which is another way of saying that there is a maximum amount of return you can earn each year – even if the underlying index(s) have a stellar performance. For instance, if the cap on earnings is 4%, and the underlying index return 6%, you will only receive 4% for that time period. In addition, excess withdrawals will void any income credits, and can even reduce the income base. There may also be limited return due to the use of a participation rate. In this case, if the annuity has a participation rate of 80%, your account will only be credited with 80% of what the underlying index returned for a given time period. So, in this instance, if the tracked index returns 6% in a given period, an 80% participation rate would only provide you with a 4.8% return on your account. (80% of 6% = 4.8%).

Fees on the Reliance Standard Keystone Index Annuity

Although the up-front agent commission on fixed and fixed index annuity is oftentimes built into the product’s premium, you could still incur some pretty significant fees with the Keystone Index annuities from Reliance Standard. These could come in the form of a surrender charge if you withdraw more than 10% of the account value in any year during the surrender period.

Depending on which of the Keystone Index annuity options you choose, the surrender charge period could extend out for a period of ten years.

Reliance Standard Keystone Index Annuity Surrender Charge Schedule

Keystone Index 5

Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4Year 5Year 6+

Keystone Index 7

Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4Year 5Year 6Year 7Year 8+

Keystone Index 10

Years 1-2Year 3Year 4Year 5Year 6Year 7Year 8Year 9Year 10Year 11+
In addition, if the distribution(s) from the annuity occur before you turn age 59 ½, you could also incur an “early withdrawal” charge of 10% from the IRS. You may also be subject to a market value adjustment (MVA) on your remaining funds in the annuity. With that in mind, this (and for that matter, any) annuity should be considered a long-term financial commitment. So, the money that you contribute to this annuity should not consist of funds that you might need to access for an emergency in the future.

The Annuity Gator’s End Take on the Reliance Keystone Index Annuity

Where it works the best: Although this indexed annuity offers many nice benefits, it will typically work the best for those who are seeking the following attributes:
  • Safety of principal
  • Tax-deferred growth
  • The opportunity for additional, index-linked growth, which can provide a higher return than a regular fixed annuity
  • Guaranteed income for life
Where it works the worst: Conversely, there are some areas where this particular annuity may not be the best option. That may be for people who:
  • Will need access to their funds within the annuity’s surrender charge period (either 5, 7 or 10 years, depending on the option that is chosen)
  • Do not intend to use the lifetime income feature
If you are still considering the purchase of the Keystone Index Annuity from Reliance Standard, 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

While there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration when you are buying an annuity, one of the biggest concerns is making sure that the annuity is truly right for what you want – and need – it to do. With regard to the Peak fixed index annuity from Nationwide, you can rest assured that you will have an income for life. But at the same time, depending on your other goals and needs, this product may still fall a bit short – and there quite frankly could very well be something else out there that is a better fit for you. If you have any additional questions on this, or other income-related products, we are here to help. We can also run side by side annuity comparisons in order to determine how various annuities might perform. So please feel free to contact us directly via our secure online contact form here.

Do You Have Any Additional Questions About this Annuity? Did You Happen to Notice Any Mistakes on this Annuity Review?

We realize that this Reliance Standard Keystone Index 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 happened 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 P.S. If you would like to read more of our Reliance Standard annuity reviews here are some links to check out: Independent Review of the Reliance Standard Keystone Index Annuity    

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