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Independent Review of the Minnesota Life Secure Option Choice 5 Annuity

What will you learn about in this multi-year guarantee (MYGA) annuity review?

In this review of the Minnesota Life (Securian Financial) SecureOption Choice 5 annuity, we will be going over the following information about the product:
  • Type of annuity
  • Advantages and drawbacks
  • Charges and fees
  • How an insurance or financial advisor might present the product to you
  • Where the annuity might fit
  • Where it might not work

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

Making any type of financial commitment can be a major decision – and this is particularly the case when it is something that your retirement lifestyle can depend upon such as an annuity. For example, the right annuity can provide you with a nice, steady stream of guaranteed income that you can count on for a set period of time – or even for the remainder of your lifetime, no matter how long that may be. On the other hand, if you end up choosing an annuity – or really any financial product – that doesn’t fit your particular needs, it could have a negative impact on your retirement lifestyle…and ultimately on the way you live for the remainder of your life. An annuity will typically require a fairly large chunk of your retirement savings. Because most annuities have surrender penalties for withdrawing your funds “too early” – some that can last for more than ten years – it could cost you a great deal if you purchase an annuity and soon afterward you decide that a different product would be a better fit for your specific needs. Annuities have many “moving parts.” Because of that, these financial vehicles can be confusing to understand – even for well-educated consumers (as well as for some financial and insurance advisors). As “new and improved” annuities hit the marketplace, there can be a plethora of “small print” that comes along with these vehicles, sort of like an owner’s manual. But have you (or anyone else that you know, for that matter) ever really sat down and read an owner’s manual for any type of purchase word for word? The answer is likely no. The “small print” that is associated with most any product or service can oftentimes seem a bit daunting. Therefore, most people will simply move forward with their purchase and hope that everything turns out ok. When it comes to your future income, though, hope is definitely not the best strategy. That’s where Annuity Gator can help.

Annuity and Retirement Income Planning Information That You Can Trust

If this is your first visit to our Annuity Gator website, then please allow us to officially welcome you here. So, who exactly is 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 many years – and much longer than our competitors have – even though there are now lots of “copycat” websites popping up all over the Internet. Our primary mission at Annuity Gator is 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, though, 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 you are 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 “solution” 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:
  •  Low fees
  •  Highest income payout
  •  Top-rated insurance companies
  •  Guaranteed lifetime income
Look familiar? In addition to that, the more “bells and whistles” an annuity has associated with it, the more “fine print” you are likely to come across. Not that offering a disclaimer is a bad thing – the more information, the better – but all those words can start to run together and in turn, 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 Minnesota Life SecureOption Choice 5 annuity, 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 more informed decision regarding whether or not this is truly the best annuity for you. So, if you’re ready to get started, let’s dive in!

The Minnesota Life/Securian Financial SecureOption 5-Year MYGA Annuity at a Glance

Product NameSecureOption 5
IssuerMinnesota Life / Securian Financial
Type of ProductFixed Deferred / MYGA (Multi-Year Guarantee Annuity)
A.M. Best Rating (Securian Financial)A+ (Superior)
A.M. Best Rating (Securian Financial)(833) 810-8266

Opening Thoughts on the Minnesota Life/Securian Financial SecureOption 5 MYGA Annuity

In 2018, Minnesota Life Insurance company adopted its parent company’s brand, Securian Financial. From Minnesota Mutual, to Minnesota Life, to Securian Financial, though, it is still the same company that has been in business for nearly 140 years. The insurance policies and annuities that are offered by the company will still be issued by Minnesota Life Insurance Company or Securian Life Insurance Company – both highly rated insurers by the insurance carrier rating agencies. As of year-end 2019, Minnesota Life Insurance Company held in excess of $56.3 billion in assets, while Securian Financial Group stood at over $63 billion in assets. Both of these companies are considered to be strong and stable financially, and they both have positive reputations for paying out their policyholders’ claims. This is key because you want to know you can rely on future income payments when you need them. Over the past several years, due in large part to the continuous ups and downs of the stock market, the demand for fixed and multi-year guarantee (MYGA) annuities has increased substantially. One reason for this is because, in addition to keeping principal safe (in any market condition), these financial vehicles can also provide you with the opportunity for guaranteed growth for a set period of time – in some cases for 10 or more years – 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,” it typically is – so you should really 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 Minnesota Life Insurance Company nor Securian Financial Group has endorsed this review in any way. Likewise, we do not 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 the SecureOption Choice 5 MYGA Annuity is Described

The SecureOption Choice 5 annuity is described as a multi-year guaranteed annuity, or MYGA, that provides competitive rates, along with some attractive liquidity features, and a wide range of guarantee periods. (In the case of the SecureOption Choice 5, the rate is guaranteed for five full years – regardless of what happens in the stock market or the interest rate marketplace). As a fixed deferred annuity, the funds that are inside of the SecureOption Choice 5 annuity are allowed to grow on a tax-deferred basis. This means that there are no taxes due until the time of withdrawal. The SecureOption Choice 5 is a single premium annuity, so only one lump-sum contribution is required when you purchase it. (Other annuities may allow you to make multiple contributions over a long period of time). This annuity contribution could be made via personal savings and assets, or alternatively, funds could be rolled over from an IRA (Individual Retirement Account) or an employer-sponsored retirement plan such as a 401(k). In addition to the 5-year rate guarantee period, other choices for rate locks include 9-years, 7-years, and 3-years. Once the initial five-year rate guarantee period on this annuity has elapsed, it will switch over to a one-year guarantee period thereafter. Alternatively, you could allow this annuity to renew and receive an interest rate guarantee for an identical guarantee period. Or you may opt to completely cash out or surrender the annuity penalty-free. If you are ready to begin receiving income, an additional alternative is to convert the contract value into an ongoing income stream that you can count on. It is important to note that you only have 30 days to decide on your next move, once the guarantee period has ended – and if you do not inform Minnesota Life/Securian that you would like to make a change, the annuity will automatically renew into another 5-year rate lock period (with a matching new surrender period). There are some other features on this Minnesota Life MYGA annuity that can be attractive, too, such as a death benefit that will pay out the contract value to a named beneficiary – and therefore bypass probate – if the owner/annuitant passes away. You may also be allowed to take penalty-free withdrawals – even during the surrender charge period – if you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and/or if you have to reside in a hospital or a nursing home for at least 90 days. Also, as with other annuities, there are different income payout options that you can choose from, including set period payouts, or even a lifetime payout that will last for as long as you need it to. To check out the SecureOption Choice 5 annuity information on the Securian Financial Group’s website, you can go here. You can also view the online brochure for this annuity here. Is an annuity right for you? That depends. But don’t make a costly financial mistake before reading our Annuity Buyers Guide.

How an Insurance or Financial Advisor Might “Pitch” the SecureOption Choice 5 Annuity

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 retirees and pre-retirees today are concerned about not losing what they’ve already saved, having certain guarantees can be somewhat comforting – so if you have been presented with the SecureOption Choice 5 multi-year guarantee annuity by your insurance or financial advisor, it is likely that they keyed in on the safety features of this product. In fact, once you have locked into the rate guarantee – in this case, for five full years – even if interest rates plummet in the near future, you will still have security in knowing that your rate will remain the same for a set period of time. With that in mind, in many ways, this annuity can allow you to potentially increase the returns on your “safe money” – especially considering the tax-deferred growth. But even so, there are still some tradeoffs that you need to be mindful of before you lock up your money for five years. For example, even though you can earn a guaranteed, locked-in rate on this annuity, the reality is that you still may not be able to beat, or even meet, the rate of inflation. Therefore, even though your rate won’t decline during the guarantee period, you will be hit with a surrender penalty if you take more than 10% of your money out in any given year (during the surrender period) if another, more lucrative financial opportunity comes along. This is definitely a situation where lost opportunity cost can abound! So, on the one hand, while it might be nice knowing how much you’re going to earn in the next several years, what happens if interest rates go up (which they are likely to do at some point in the future)? In this case, you’d be left behind, earning a lower rate for the remainder of the guarantee period! And then there are the potential charges and fees…. not just via the insurance company, but also from Uncle Sam!

Fees Associated with the Minnesota Life/Securian Secure Option 5 Annuity

While fixed annuities don’t necessarily always deduct an up-front sales commission, most all annuities will impose some sort of withdrawal or surrender penalty if you cancel the contract, or even if you decide to take out more than a certain percentage of your funds in any given year. In the case of the SecureOption 5 annuity, there is an initial five-year surrender charge period. So, in Year 1, if you access more than 10% of the contract’s value, you will also owe a surrender charge of 9%. This amount gradually grades down until in Year 10 it is 0%.

Secure Option 5 Annuity Surrender Charge Schedule

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In addition to a possible surrender fee, you could also owe taxes, and you could incur an additional 10% “early withdrawal” penalty from the IRS if you make withdrawals prior to turning age 59 ½. So, it is really important to consider this a long-term financial commitment. It is also important to note that if you purchase the SecureOption 5, 7, or 9 – which have rate lock periods of 5, 7, and 9 years respectively – the surrender period corresponds with the rate guarantee period. So, the 5-year option will have a 5-year surrender period, and so on.

The Annuity Gator’s End Take on the SecureOption 5 Annuity from Minnesota Life/Securian Financial Group

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 Secure Option 5-year annuity, it could work well for you if you are seeking the following benefits:
  •  Guaranteed growth (for five full years, and possibly another five years at renewal)
  •  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 10% of the contract’s value during the 5-year 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 factors that you should 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. On top of that, if you’re seeking a future retirement 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, it can really help to conduct some research on the offering insurance carrier in order to determine whether or not it is financially stable, and that it has a positive reputation for paying out its policyholders’ claims. Given all of that, if you purchase the Securian/Minnesota Life Insurance Company’s SecureOption Choice 5 MYGA annuity, 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, which can help to alleviate the worry that most retirees (and even some pre-retirees) have 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 particularly true if you are looking for a way to keep your money safe, while at the same time still having the opportunity to earn a higher rate of return. The only way to get an in-depth idea of how the Minnesota Life/Securian Life SecureOption Choice 5 annuity may perform – based on your specific situation – is to have it tested. An Annuity Gator annuity specialist can do this for you by running the numbers through our annuity calculator and 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.

Do You Have Any Additional Questions About the SecureOption Choice 5 Multi-Year Guaranteed Annuity (MYGA)? Are There Any Other Annuities You’d Like to Have Us Review?

While we know that this Minnesota Life MYGA annuity review was a bit on the long side, we feel that providing “too much” information is much better than not you with enough. That being said, we appreciate you sticking with us here to the end of the review. 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 through our secure contact form. In addition, if you found this annuity review to be helpful, please feel free to forward it to anyone else that you think may benefit from it, as there is a lot of misconception out there about MYGA annuities and how they work. Is there any other annuity you would like to see reviewed through our annuity review database? If so, we will get right on it! There is a myriad of annuities available in the financial marketplace today. So, if you don’t currently see an annuity that you are considering in our online database in just simply let us know the name of that annuity (or the annuity 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 Minnesota Life/Securian Financial annuity reviews here are some links to check out: Independent Review of the Minnesota Life Secure Option Choice 5 Annuity

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