What will we cover in this annuity review?
In this review of the Upstream Life Secure Foundation Multi-Year Guarantee Annuity (MYGA) we will be going over the following information:
- Type of annuity
- Advantages and possible drawbacks
- How the annuity may be “pitched” by a financial advisor
- Where the annuity could work well
- Where it might not work very well in a portfolio
Annuities can be complex. That’s where having an Annuity Investigator who loves math comes in.
We make the complex, simple.
If you’re thinking about buying an annuity to help you with increasing your nest egg, while at the same time keeping your money safe from market volatility, then the Secure Foundation MYGA annuity from Upstream Life could be a good fit for you.
One good reason for this is because the Secure Foundation annuity comes with some nice guarantees that are built directly into the contract. And honestly, when it comes to your money, who doesn’t like guarantees?!
But before you commit to buy this – or any other annuity, for that matter – it is recommended that you get a much more in-depth understanding of exactly how the annuity works, and how it may or may not necessarily work for you and your specific financial goals.
Throughout the past several years, fixed annuities have become quite popular. This is particularly the case with those who lost some (or all) of their retirement savings in the market downturn of 2008 – and the more recent 2020 COVID-19 outbreak (and its corresponding stock market dip of approximately 30%) – and who are now seeking safety for their principal.
Fixed annuities can also provide you with a stated and guaranteed lifetime income stream, which is nice because people are living longer now, and it can be difficult – or even impossible – to make your savings stretch for a retirement that could last for twenty or more years.
Because annuities have grown so much in popularity, there has also been an increase in the number of insurance and financial advisors who are offering them. Unfortunately, though, these agents may not always be giving you the very best answers to the questions that you may have…but that you need to know in order to make a well-informed decision that could significantly impact your financial future.
In addition, given the increased desire for annuities now, the selection of annuity products has grown significantly – and many of these new hybrid annuities come with a lot of bells and whistles attached (or available through riders).
But, while this variety of options can certainly help you to “customize” the products to better fit your specific needs, it can also make annuities even more confusing than they already are, even for well-informed consumers.
That being said, there are some recommended steps that you should consider that can help you in truly understanding what it is that you might be purchasing – especially as an annuity could realistically make up a large portion of your overall retirement income down the road.
Also, since annuities can be pretty hard to get out of once you have gotten into one, it is important that you know why you are going with one annuity over another, as well as why you are even going with an annuity at all.
Annuity and Retirement Income Planning Information That You Can Actually Trust
If this is the first time you have visited our website, then please allow us to welcome you to Annuity Gator. We make up a team of annuity and retirement income specialists who focus on educating people on how annuities work, as well as whether or not a particular annuity is right for you and your specific needs.
We’ve been doing this for quite some time now – far longer than our competitors. Because of this, we have come to be known as a highly trusted source of annuity information. Over the past several years or so, though, many “copycat” websites have started to spring up, mimicking what we do. While that can be somewhat confusing for consumers, we take it as “imitation being the highest form of flattery”.
If you have spent any amount of time on the world wide web looking for information about annuities – including the Upstream Life Secure Foundation MYGA (multi-year guarantee) annuity – you may have run across some highly conflicting information regarding these financial vehicles.
This isn’t too surprising, though, because there are many “flavors” of annuities out there today in the marketplace – and just about everyone has some sort of opinion about them. Some people love them, some people hate them. And some just don’t really care.
But the reality is there are situations where annuities work, and situations where annuities don’t work. That’s the premise of our annuity reviews – to make sure that you have enough information to make a well-informed annuity purchasing decision.
With that in mind, if you are looking for all of the in-depth details about the Secure Foundation annuity from Upstream Life, you are definitely in the right place. That’s because we don’t hold back any of the information about how this annuity works, and what you can expect if you make a purchase.
So, if you’re ready to begin, let’s go ahead and dive in!
The Upstream Life Secure Foundation Annuity at a Glance
|Product Name||Secure Foundation|
|Type of Product||Multi-Year Guarantee Annuity (MYGA)|
|A.M. Best Rating||B++ (Good)|
|Phone Number||(833) 850-8198|
Opening Thoughts on the Secure Foundation Annuity from Upstream Life
Upstream Life traces its history back to 1912, and it has grown significantly over the years through additional product offerings, as well as via acquisitions. The company offers life insurance and annuities to individuals who are looking to secure their financial future and avoid the financial risks that are oftentimes associated with the financial markets.
The annuities offered include multi-year guarantee (MYGA) products that have various interest rate guarantees available – in some cases, up to 20 years. With these fixed-rate annuities, individuals and couples can also expect a set amount of future income – no matter what happens in the stock market.
Upstream Life is headquartered in Dallas, Texas. Considered strong and stable financially, Upstream has been assigned a B++ rating from A.M. Best and a Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of bbb+.
Fixed annuities like the Secure Foundation MYGA product offer a great deal of certainty, even in an uncertain financial world. And, while they typically offer a lower fixed rate of return – they can also be enticing for those who want to ensure that their principal is protected and that they have guarantees when it comes to growth in the account, as well as a future income stream.
Because of that – due in large part to the constant ups and downs of the stock market – the demand for fixed annuities has increased substantially. This includes multi-year guarantee annuities (or MYGAs).
One key reason for this is because, in addition to keeping principal safe (in any market condition,) these financial vehicles can also provide you with a guaranteed rate of growth for a specific period of time, as well as a set amount of income that could last you for the remainder of your lifetime.
Yet, even though this might sound like a win-win-win situation, the reality is that if something sounds like it may be too good to be true, then it typically is – so you should ideally get as much in-depth detail as possible if you are considering committing to it for the long term.
Before we get into the gritty details, here are some necessary legal disclosures…
This is an independent annuity product review. It is not a recommendation to purchase or to sell an annuity. Upstream Life has not endorsed this review in any way, nor do we receive any type of compensation for providing this review. This annuity review is meant solely to be an independent review at the request of our readers so that they may see our perspective when breaking down the positives and the negatives of this particular annuity. Before purchasing any type of insurance and/or investment 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 situation. All of the names, marks, and materials that were used for this annuity review are the property of their respective owners.
For more information on how to compare annuities in order to determine which one may be the best for you and your financial circumstances, click here to obtain our free annuity report.
How Upstream Life Describes the Secure Foundation MYGA Annuity
On its website, Upstream Life describes the Secure Foundation as a single premium fixed annuity that offers a multi-year guaranteed interest period.
These include a:
- 3 year
- 5 year
- 7 year
- 10 year
- 15 year
These rates can (and often do) change over time for new purchasers. To check the current interest rates for the Upstream Life Secure Foundation annuity, go here.
This annuity accrues simple interest in a tax-deferred manner. It also offers an income stream that can continue for a set period of time, or even for the remainder of your lifetime. If the income recipient (i.e. the annuitant) dies before the contract value has been paid to him or her, a named beneficiary (or more than one beneficiary) will receive a death benefit. (Unlike the death benefits that are paid out from life insurance policies, though, annuity death benefit proceeds can be taxable to the recipient).
Upstream Life annuities are currently only offered in specific U.S. states. So, in order to view where the company’s annuities are offered and/or pending, you can check here.
How an Insurance or Financial Advisor Might “Pitch” this Annuity to You
Because so many people today are concerned about keeping their money safe, it is likely that a financial or insurance advisor would pitch the Upstream Life Secure Foundation annuity based on its safety features, along with its guaranteed growth. Tax deferral is also oftentimes an added bonus that is highlighted by advisors.
However, while these features might initially sound appealing, there is always going to be some kind of “trade-off” for the upside on a financial product. In this case, it is that the return can be painfully low. So low, in fact, that it may not even come close to meeting – much less beating – inflation.
Added to that is the fact that the guaranteed rate on this annuity will only last for a set amount of time – in this case, from 3 years up to 15 years, depending on the option you choose – after which you take the chance that it could go down. So much for guaranteed interest rates!
Therefore, it is highly likely that there could be some better alternatives out there for you – especially if you are seeking safety of your principal, as well as the opportunity to earn a higher rate of return.
So, unless you are 100 percent convinced that the Secure Foundation annuity from Upstream Life is right for you, it could be quite beneficial to take a look around at some alternative options. It can also be helpful if you first run the numbers based on your particular situation via our annuity calculator.
That way, instead of getting a “hypothetical” scenario based on how this annuity may perform in general for an anonymous investor, you can plug in some actual numbers that relate to you. This is where we, the Annuity Gator team, can come in.
As experts in the annuity arena, we can offer you help with any additional questions or concerns that you may have – so please feel free to reach out to us at any time via our secure contact form here.
Knowing everything that you need to know about the Secure Foundation annuity – or any other annuity, for that matter – could end up saving you a great deal of money and frustration, as knowing more of the details can help you to avoid products that do not truly fit your needs.
Otherwise, getting into the wrong annuity could cost a great deal in surrender charges if you change your mind soon after purchasing one and want to get out of it. On the other hand, staying with the wrong financial product in your portfolio could cause some severe damage to your future retirement lifestyle.
What About Fees on the Upstream Life Secure Foundation Annuity?
While most fixed annuities do not typically charge an up-front sales commission (which in turn, gives you less money to start earning interest on,) there are still some possible charges and fees that you could incur.
For instance, with the Secure Foundation annuity from Upstream Life, there is an added cost of 25 basis points per year. This equates to 0.25% – which could have an impact on your returns over time.
After the first year of purchasing the Secure Foundation annuity, you are allowed to withdraw up to 10% of the contract’s value in any year penalty-free. But, if you take out more than that, you could incur a surrender charge of 15 basis points.
The length of the surrender charge period corresponds with the length of the rate guarantee period on the Secure Foundation MYGA annuity. So, if your interest rate is guaranteed for three years, the surrender charge period will also be three years. If your rate is guaranteed for 15 years, your money will be locked up for 15 years, too.
The surrender charge is in addition to any taxes that you owe on the gains that are withdrawn. Plus, if you are under age 59 ½ when you make such withdrawals, you could also have an additional 10% IRS “early withdrawal,” too.
With that in mind, it is important to be sure that the money you contribute to the Upstream Life Secure Foundation annuity won’t be needed for emergencies or any other financial obligations in the near future.
The Annuity Gator’s End Take on the Upstream Life Secure Foundation Annuity
Where this annuity could work best:
- Principal protection for a pre-set period of time – no matter what takes place in the stock market
- Guaranteed lifetime income stream
- Guaranteed interest rate protection (also for a specific period of time)
Where this annuity may not work very well:
- For those seeking the opportunity to get a higher rate of return
- If you need your money out before the surrender period has elapsed
- For those seeking a longer-term interest rate guarantee
- For those who do not intend to use the guaranteed lifetime income feature
If you truly want to get a more in-depth idea of the best annuity options in the market, then please feel free to download our free report on annuities here.
If you’ve been thinking seriously about purchasing a fixed annuity like the Secure Foundation MYGA Annuity from Upstream Life, but you’ve also been a bit leery about moving forward, then you may need to get a more in-depth understanding of how these products work, how they can work for you, and why they may or may not actually be the ideal financial option for you.
In any case, though, you should always consider an annuity to be a long-term financial endeavor – especially because these products will typically have multiple years of surrender charges if you want to take out more than just 10% of your contract value.
The good news is that, if you are considering going with a fixed annuity, you can be assured that you will have principal protection and safety, as well as a set, ongoing income stream for life that you can count on.
With that in mind, when it comes to the Secure Foundation annuity, there are some nice features that are offered. Yet, this particular annuity could also fall somewhat short – especially if you’re hoping for a higher market-linked return.
If you have any questions about whether or not this annuity would fit into your financial plan – or, even if you just have a general question about annuities and how they work – please feel free to contact us. Our annuity geeks team will be happy to help.
Need Additional Info About this Annuity? Did You See Any Mistakes in this Annuity Review?
While we know that this review of the Secure Foundation annuity from Upstream Life was a bit on the lengthy side, our feeling is that we would rather give you too much information about annuity options than not enough. So, if you do feel that you gained some good insight about it, then please feel free to forward this review to anyone else who you think may benefit from it.
Also, we know that because information about annuities can, and often does, change, that there may be some details here that require updating. With that in mind, if you did happen to notice anything at all in this review that needs revision, please let us know here via our secure online contact form.
Likewise, if you would like to see any other annuities reviewed, please let us know that, too as we are always looking for suggestions on products to review for our large – and expanding – annuity review database.
In addition, if you are interested in seeing personalized figures plugged into the Upstream Life Secure Foundation annuity, we would be happy to run a spreadsheet and share the information with you, at no charge.
We look forward to helping you with any questions that you may have.
The Annuity Gator