Independent Review of Great American Life AssurancePlus 7 Fixed Annuity
What’s Covered In This Review
In this review, we will be covering the following information on the Great American Life AssurancePlus 7 fixed annuity:
- Product Type
- Current Rates
- Realistic long-term investment expectations
- How it is used
- How it is most poorly used
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The Great American Life AssurancePlus 7 fixed annuity provides many nice benefits that retirees today could be looking for, such as the protection of principal, along with the guarantee of an ongoing income for life. A lot of these benefits are actually built directly into the annuity product itself. But, before you move forward with the purchase of this, or any, annuity, it is important to have a good understanding of how the annuity works, as well as how it can fit into your overall financial situation.
Annuities have been getting more popular today as a way to ensure that people have guaranteed lifetime income throughout retirement. This is largely due to the fact that pensions from employers are quickly disappearing. Having an annuity can make it easy for investors to just roll funds over from an IRA or a 401(k) plan and continue letting them grow, while at the same time setting them up for eventual ongoing income in the future. But, while having this in place can be reassuring, it is also essential to know that owning an annuity will be a long-term financial commitment that can often come with a surrender period of 10 or more years. This means that after making the decision to purchase an annuity, it can be extremely difficult to change your mind about it without incurring a large penalty in order to get out.
Really knowing what it is that you are getting into with an annuity, however, can be hard because these financial vehicles do tend to be somewhat confusing. There is a great deal of small print that is associated with them – even with the fixed annuities, which typically offer the least amount of “moving parts.”
Even more so than the annuity products themselves, what can often add the most amount of confusion has less to do with the actual vehicle and more to do with the way in which they are sold to consumers by financial professionals. This is where we come in.
Annuity And Retirement Income Planning Information That You Can Trust
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For anyone who has been looking for information on annuities – or even if you have simply heard people talking about these products – it is likely that you may have encountered some conflicting details about them. This is not uncommon, as there is a lot of confusing information about annuities out there. In addition, even some reputable websites that are focused on marketing their annuities do a very good job of getting your attention, with the primary purpose of simply obtaining your contact information. They do this by making claims like the following:
- Highest Payouts
- Guaranteed Lifetime Income
- Lowest Fees
- Top Rated A+ Companies
- Get Your Quote Now!
While these may certainly sound great – are any of these claims really true? If you want to find out, then you have come to the right place – and dare we say, it is likely the only place – where you can actually find out if that is so.
The insurance agents who offer fixed annuities will typically do their best in order to paint a rosy picture of how safe and secure these products are. But, what they neglect to tell you is that there are still a few drawbacks to owning this type of financial vehicle – and this means that you need to be aware of all of the potential angles prior to plunking down your hard-earned retirement funds.
This isn’t to say that what these agents are trying to sell you is bad. But it does mean that as you get closer to your retirement years – and as you are considering just exactly what you will do with your retirement savings – it is essential that you know what you are buying with these funds, and why you are buying it. This annuity review is here to help you with decoding all of the “fine print” so that you will have a better understanding of whether this annuity may be able to help you with achieving your financial goals in retirement.
So, if you are ready to begin, let’s dive in!
Great American Life AssurancePlus 7 Fixed Annuity at a Glance
|Product Name||AssurancePlus 7|
|Issuer||Great American Life Insurance Company|
|Type of Product||Fixed Annuity|
|Standard & Poor's Rating||A+|
|Phone Number||(888) 504-7109|
Opening Thoughts on the Great American Life AssurancePlus 7 Fixed Annuity
Great American Life Insurance Company has actually been in the business of offering insurance products since the late 1800s. In just the first five years of operation, Great American had more than 1,000 agents and was considered to be one of the most trustworthy companies in the nation. It was also known for paying out its claims in full, and in a timely manner. Today, Great American is one of only six companies to be listed on Ward’s 50 property-casualty, and life-health lists of the Top 50 insurers.
The company is considered to be financially strong and stable, having an A+ (Superior) rating from A.M. Best and an A+ rating from Standard & Poor’s. Great American’s history, vision, and values reflect staying power and optimism for the future – and because an annuity is only as strong as the claims paying ability of the underlying insurance company, this is certainly a very good thing.
The demand for annuities – which are always backed by insurance companies – has been increasing since market volatility has become the norm in today’s global economy. The fear of running out of money is what has many of today’s retirees seeking a safe place to put their savings, where it can earn at least some amount of return, while at the same time being protected. A fixed annuity can offer those things.
The problem is, though, that due also to the historically low-interest rate that has been present for so many years now, the return that fixed annuities have been offering is extremely low. In fact, in most cases, it isn’t even enough to outpace inflation. This can not only be disappointing, but can also be dangerous if you are counting on this financial vehicle for your ongoing living expenses for the next 10, 20, or 30+ years in the future.
Before we get into the gritty details, here are some legal disclosures…
This is an independent product review, not a recommendation to buy or sell an annuity. Great American Life Insurance Company 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.
For more information on how to compare annuities in order to determine which one may be right for you, contact us to obtain our free annuity report.
How Great American Life Insurance Company Describes the AssurancePlus 7 Fixed Annuity
Great American Life Insurance Company describes the features and benefits of the AssurancePlus 7 fixed annuity in their literature as follows:
- Guaranteed rate protection
- A bonus for you
- No upfront fees
- Payout options for retirement that include a lifetime income alternative
There are some additional perks, but that covers the key highlights. If you want to find the website and/or the literature where you can obtain more in-depth details, you can click HERE.
How Financial Advisors Might “Pitch” This Annuity
As an educated consumer who has been studying annuities, you have likely noticed that insurance and financial companies do a very good job of making their products sound like they can solve just about any possible need. For instance, you may have read over that bulleted list above and thought that this annuity would be perfect for your retirement savings and income purposes. And, if you are making the decision to purchase this annuity under the guidance of an insurance salesperson who stands to earn a nice commission or fee from the sale of it, then you will likely hear about it in terms of all of its key positives highlighted.
For instance, it is likely that you will hear these individuals discussing the following concepts about the Great American Life AssurancePlus 7 Fixed Annuity:
- Access to your money
- Bonus on purchase payments
- Various payout options for your retirement
But let’s delve into these points a little deeper. For example, first, during the first contract year, you may withdraw the earned interest that has been credited to your contract without incurring an early withdrawal charge. However, each year after the first contract year, you can only withdraw up to 10% of the account value without incurring a surrender charge. In fact, there are surrender charges that last through Year 7.
With regard to the bonus, you will receive a small bonus on purchase payments into the annuity. These include a 1% bonus on amounts that are less than $100,000 and 2% on amounts that are over that. However, the bonus – as well as any interest that is earned on it – will be forfeited if the annuity contract is canceled during the first contract year.
As far as the payout options, the guaranteed lifetime payout option that is offered on this annuity is not unusual and in fact, most annuities will offer this type of lifetime income payout option to annuity holders. With that in mind, there are literally thousands of other annuities that can also make this same claim, while at the same time providing the opportunity for a higher return, along with the safety of principal.
So, here is the bottom line: While there may be some features of this particular annuity that at first glance can sound appealing, once your money has been locked up in this product, it will be too late to turn around. Therefore, if you are wondering if this annuity is really right for you, or if you have any additional questions and you need more help, then just reach out to us via our secure contact form here.To download our free report on annuities, click here
What About the Great American Life AssurancePlus 7 Fixed Annuity’s Fees?
It is also important to be aware of the fees that you may be charged when you initially purchase a fixed annuity, as well as the ongoing fees and expenses that you may be subject to throughout the years. With this type of annuity, the expenses will generally include administrative fees, the cost to cover the annuity’s guaranteed income stream, and the commission that is paid to the sales agent. Also, some fixed annuities may also charge an annual contract fee. There will also usually be a surrender charge that is levied if you withdraw your funds within the first several years of owning the annuity.
In the case of the Great American Life AssurancePlus 7 fixed annuity, the good news is that there are no upfront sales fees. You will, however, be subject to 7 years of surrender charges. These start at 7% in Year 1, and remain at 7% through Year 3. Then, the charge gradually grades down to 3% in Year 7, until it eventually goes to 0% in Year 8.
The Annuity Gator’s End Take on the Great American Life AssurancePlus 7 Fixed Annuity
Where it works best:
This annuity will typically work the best for those who are seeking:
- Safety of principal
- Guaranteed rate protection
- Additional protection if they need extended care
- Guaranteed lifetime income in retirement
Where it works worst:
- For people who need access to their money right away
- For people who are seeking a high rate of return on their money
- For people who have a high-risk tolerance
- For people who are not looking for guaranteed lifetime income
In order to really know how to compare the best annuity for you and your specific needs, click here to download our free report on annuities.
Overall, it is always important to keep in mind that annuities should be considered as long-term financial vehicles, and because of that, they should appeal more to those who need retirement income in the future, and who are working to build up as much as they possibly can in the account in order to generate a nice amount of income when that time comes. Unfortunately, even though the Great American Life AssurancePlus 7 fixed annuity does offer some nice features, it still falls a little short – and there may be some better alternatives available if you are seeking the opportunity for growth, as well as guaranteed lifetime income in retirement.
If you are wondering, then, if this annuity is the right one for you, or if you have any questions and you need some additional help with getting pointed in the right direction, then just reach out to us through our secure contact form here.
Have Any Questions on the Great American Life AssurancePlus 7 Fixed Annuity? See Any Mistakes?
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One final note – as humans sometimes do, we can make mistakes. So, if you did happen to notice any while going through this review, please do let us know. We are always more than happy to make any necessary corrections and to give credit where credit is due. If you are an investor and this review causes you any confusion and/or it creates any additional questions, then please reach out to us as well. While we are not always able to get back to you right away, we can usually clear up any questions within just a day or two.
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