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Independent Review of the Western United Life Discovery Plus Annuity

What will we be going over in this annuity review?

In this review of the Western United Life Discovery Plus MYGA annuity, we will be discussing the following details:
  • Annuity type
  • How the annuity works
  • Pros and cons
  • Charges and fees to look out for
  • Who may be a good fit for this annuity
  • Who might not want to buy this annuity

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

The purchase of an annuity can be a big decision. After all, these financial vehicles – if they are purchased properly – can help to ensure that you will have an income for the rest of your life, no matter how long you need it. Today, many people are living much longer than in the past, so knowing that you have ongoing income can be a big relief. But even though annuities can offer a long list of benefits, there can also be some pitfalls in the products themselves, as well as the way they are sold. Annuities are confusing products, so unless you really read the “fine print”, an annuity may not perform the way that you expected it to. On top of that, these products can also sometimes be mis-sold by insurance and financial advisors. This doesn’t necessarily happen on purpose, but because advisors who don’t have a focus on annuities may not fully understand them either. This is where Annuity Gator comes in.

Annuity and Retirement Income Planning Information You Can Trust

If this the first time you have been to our website, we would like to welcome you here to Annuity Gator. We are a team of annuity and retirement income specialists who focus on offering comprehensive – yet non-biased – annuity reviews online. You can check these out in our Annuity Review Database on our website. We have been educating both consumers and financial professionals about annuities for quite some time now – far longer than our competitors have – even though many of them would like to have you think otherwise. Due to our wide range of experience and longevity in this arena, we have become very good at what we do, and we’ve actually come to be known as a highly trusted source of annuity information online. If you have been reviewing annuities on the Internet, it’s possible that you have come across some conflicting information about these financial products. This, however, isn’t really all that surprising to us because there are many different types of annuities, and there many different thoughts about them. Likewise, even though a particular annuity might be the right solution for someone else, it doesn’t mean that it’s the right solution for you and your specific objectives. This, in turn, is why it is so important to discuss your situation, your goals, and your options with an annuity specialist. In any case, if you’ve been seeking more information about the Discovery Plus annuity from Western United Life, then you are in the right place. In fact, dare we say that our website is the only place online where you can obtain all of the information that you require for making a well-informed purchasing decision about this annuity. Before we get too far into this review, though, we do want to be perfectly clear in stating that we believe that annuities can be a very viable financial option for some people – provided that they fit in with your other short and long-term financial goals. So, if you’re ready to begin this Western United Life Discovery Plus annuity review, let’s go ahead and dive in!

The Western United Life Discovery Plus Annuity at a Glance

Product NameDiscovery Plus
IssuerWestern United Life Insurance (Manhattan Life)
Type of ProductMulti-Year Guarantee Annuity (MYGA)
A.M. Best RatingB+ (Good)
Phone Number(800) 247-2045
Western United Life is a subsidiary of Manhattan Life Insurance Company. Originally founded back in 1850, Manhattan Life is actually one of the oldest continuously operating companies in the world. Today, it is a group of four companies (all of which maintain an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau,) and between these entities, Manhattan Life Insurance Company is licensed in all 50 of the U.S. states, as well as Puerto Rico. The company offers deferred/Multi-Year Guaranteed Annuities (MYGAs) and single premium immediate annuities, so it is able to provide opportunities to generate worry-free lifetime income, as well as to grow savings on a tax-deferred basis over time. Over the past several years, due in large part to the continuous 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. Neither Western United Life nor Manhattan Life Insurance Company 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 Western Life Describes the Discovery Plus MYGA Annuity

Both the Discovery and the Discovery Plus annuities are available. Western United Life describes the Discovery Plus MYGA annuity as an individual, deferred, single premium, multi-year guarantee annuity (MYGA) that offers you a choice of interest rate guarantee periods that range from three to seven years. This annuity is offered exclusively by Western United Life Assurance Company. This annuity requires a certain minimum contribution that is based on the guarantee period that you select. For instance, there is a minimum single premium of:
  • $10,000 for 3, 5, and 7-year plans
  • $25,000 for the 6-year plan
If you want to contribute more than $1 million to the Discovery annuity, you must first obtain approval from the Annuity Operations Office of Manhattan Life. This annuity works with both qualified and non-qualified funds. So, if you have a rollover from an IRA or 401(k) plan, this annuity could be a good place to put that money. There is also a guarantee that the minimum interest rate on the Discovery MYGA annuity will never fall below 1%. There is also at least some liquidity in this product, whereby you can partially surrender the accumulated interest or required minimum distribution (RMD) on the 3-year rate guarantee, or up to 15% of the annuity value per calendar year on the 5, 6, or 7-year guarantee period without incurring a surrender fee. There are some other features here, including a death benefit. In this case, if the annuitant dies before he or she has received all of their contributions back, the surrender charges will be waived, and the money may be received by a named beneficiary. If the annuitant and the owner are not the same person, and the owner dies while the annuitant is still alive, the surrender charges will not be waived. However, if the annuitant/owner dies and the sole beneficiary is the annuitant/owner’s surviving spouse (civil union or domestic partner if required by law), that individual may continue the Discovery MYGA annuity contract as if they were the original owner. Also, if the annuity contract has been paid out before the end of the surrender charge period, then the payout may be less than the initial single premium paid in, due to the annuity’s surrender charges. The primary difference between the Western United Life Discovery and the Western United Life Discovery Plus annuities is that the Plus option offers only a 5-year and a 7-year rate guarantee period. For more details on the Discovery Plus MYGA annuity from Western United Life, go here.

How an Insurance or Financial Advisor Might “Pitch” this Annuity to a Client

If you are approaching retirement, you may be torn between going with financial vehicles that have more risk in order to increase your opportunity for growth, or instead going with something “safe” so that you don’t lose any of your hard-earned retirement funds. Because many pre-retirees today are concerned about not losing what they’ve already saved, having certain guarantees can be comforting – so if you have been presented the Discovery Plus Multi-Year Guarantee Annuity by an insurance or financial advisor, it is likely that they keyed in on the safety features of this product, along with the ability to earn a higher return if or when rates rise in the near future. So, in many ways, this annuity can allow you to potentially increase the returns on your “safe money”. But there are some tradeoffs that you need to be mindful of. For example, even though you can earn more than the guaranteed rate on this annuity, the reality is that you still may not be able to beat, or even meet, the rate of inflation. In the case of the Discovery Plus MYGA annuity, you could be essentially locked into certain rate guarantee periods of either five or seven full years (during which you may have to pass up other, higher interest-earning financial opportunities). So, on the one hand, while it might be nice knowing how much you’re going to earn in the next few years, what happens if interest rates go up? In this case, you’d be left behind, earning a lower rate for the remainder of the guarantee period!

Are there Fees on the Discovery PlusMYGA Annuity?

Although any up-front agent commission is built into the annuity product, that doesn’t mean that you won’t have any charges or fees to contend with if you purchase the Discovery MYGA annuity from Western United Life – this is particularly the case if you take more than a certain amount of money out during the annuity’s surrender charge period. Just like most other Multi-Year Guarantee Annuities, the surrender charge period on the Discovery Plus annuity will correspond with the rate guarantee period you have chosen.

Western United Life Discovery Plus MYGA Annuity Surrender Charge Schedule

PlanPercent in Calendar Year of Surrender
5 Year8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 0%
7 year8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 0%
In addition to a possible surrender fee, you could also incur an additional 10% “early withdrawal” penalty from the IRS if you make a withdrawal prior to turning age 59 ½. So, it is really important to consider this a long-term financial commitment.

The Annuity Gator’s End Take on the Western United Life Discovery Plus Multi-Year Guarantee Annuity

Where this annuity works best: Just like all product or service offerings, there will usually be some pros and some cons with annuities, meaning that the item or service may work well for some, and not-so-well for others. So, if you are still considering the purchase of the Western United Life Discovery Plus MYGA annuity, then it could work well for you if you are seeking the following benefits:
  •  Guaranteed growth for either 5 or 7 years
  •  Protection of principal – no matter what occurs in the stock market
  •  Lifetime income in retirement
Where it works the worst: On the other hand, this particular annuity may not be the right one for you if:
  •  You want the opportunity to earn an even higher rate of return in order to keep better pace with future inflation
  •  You want to access more than just a small percentage of the contract’s value during the surrender period
  •  You do not plan to use the guaranteed lifetime income feature

In Summary

When you’re thinking about how to best position your savings for the future, there are a number of different criteria that you should ideally take into account. For instance, with annuities, you will definitely need to make sure that the product allows you the opportunity to earn a nice return (at least enough to meet or beat inflation,) while also keeping your money safe in any type of market environment. In addition to that, if you’re seeking a future income stream – including one that you cannot outlive, regardless of how long that may be – then you also need to know how the annuity will pay out when you need to convert the funds into ongoing income. So, if you are still leaning towards the Discovery Plus Multi-Year Guarantee Annuity (MYGA) from Western United Life, then you can be assured that your money will be safe, no matter what goes on with the stock market. You can also count on an ongoing income stream down the road, alleviating the worry about running out of money before “running out of time”. However, while this annuity can certainly provide you with some nice benefits, the reality is that it could still fall somewhat short – and quite honestly, there may very well be a better alternative out there for you. This is even more true if you are looking for a way to keep your money safe, while still having the opportunity to earn a higher rate of return. The only way to truly get an idea of how this annuity may perform – based on your specific situation – is to have it tested. We can do this for you by running the numbers through our annuity calculator, and we can then provide you with a spreadsheet of the results. In order to receive this information, just simply contact us through our secure online form here and let us know.

Have Any Additional Questions About the Western United Life Discovery Plus MYGA Annuity? Are There Any Other Annuities You’d Like to Have Reviewed?

While we know that this annuity review was a bit on the long side, we feel that providing “too much” information than not enough. That being said, we appreciate you sticking with us here to the end. We also realize that, because everyone’s situation is different, there may have been some questions that went unanswered in this review. If this is the case and you still have any additional questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to us here. In addition, if you found this annuity review to be helpful, then please forward it on to anyone else that you think may benefit from it, as there is a lot of misconception out there about annuities and how they work. Is there any other annuity you would like to see reviewed? If so, we will get right on it! There is a myriad of annuities available in the marketplace today. So, if you don’t currently see an annuity in our online database in that you are considering, then just let us know the name of that annuity (or the names, if there is more than just one,) and our team of annuity pros will get to work on it ASAP. Best, The Annuity Gator P.S. If you would like to read more of our Manhattan Life annuity reviews here is a link to check out: Independent Review of the Western United Life Discovery Plus Annuity  

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