Independent Review of the Allianz Master Dex X Index Annuity
What’s Covered in this Review?
In this review I’ll be covering the following information on the Allianz MasterDex X Annuity with Simple Income Rider:
- Product type
- Current rates
- Realistic long term investment expectations
- How it is best used
- How it is most poorly used
What you’ll find is that like all annuities, the MasterDex X Annuity does some things really well. However, there are things some agents might say about its performance that is not entirely true. It’s important you understand the differences, so you can determine if it really is a good fit as part of your financial plan.
If this is your first visit here at AnnuityGator.com, we publish the most comprehensive independent and objective annuity reviews on the online and have been doing it longer than pretty much anyone out there. Ultimately, we want you to decide for yourself if an annuity makes sense and you’re getting the best deal.
Let’s dig in!
Allianz MasterDex X Index Annuity at a Glance
|Product Name||MasterDex X|
|Issuer||Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America|
|Type of Product||Fixed Index Annuity|
|Standard & Poor's Rating||"AA" (Very Strong)|
Opening Thoughts on the MasterDex X Annuity
Over the past few years, the Allianz MasterDex X has been one of the most popular Fixed Indexed Annuities. Thousands of investors are recommended this product every month as a safe way to grow their money, then turn it into a future income stream for retirement. The basic sales pitch is that this annuity can get upside based on the market – but with no downside. Further, it’s often sold based on the minimum income guarantee from the Simple Income rider. This rider allows the annuity to create an income for life benefit without annuitizing.
So in a nutshell, we commonly hear it being sold as a “hybrid” annuity that offers the best of both worlds: Market-based gains should the markets go up, no downside if the market goes down, and a growing income base that can be turned into a lifetime income even if there’s no market growth at all.
Sounds nice on the surface, but once you actually thoroughly read through the disclosure documents and contract details – you’ll find it doesn’t exactly work as many suggest it will. The good news: I tested all the moving parts of the annuity and my findings are in this review.
Since many people who are considering this annuity are either in retirement or close to it – the Simple Income Rider (a guaranteed lifetime income benefit) is another feature of interest. This is an optional rider, and when selected allows for either a guaranteed income for life to be taken immediately or deferred to a future date based on a “roll up” value. The way this works is quite a bit different in reality, then the way many agents explain it. To be clear, it’s a nice benefit – but some people suggest it will allow for 5%-7% (or higher) returns – and it most certainly will not. You’ll see why later in this review, most specifically in the nearly 1-hour video we created that shows exactly how it really works.
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. Allianz Life Insurance Company has not endorsed this review in any way nor do I receive any compensation for this review. This review is meant to be an independent review at the request of readers so they could see my perspective when breaking down the positives and negatives of this particular model annuity. Before purchasing any investment product be sure to do your own due diligence and consult a properly licensed professional should you have specific questions as they relate to your individual circumstances. All names, marks, and materials used for this review are the property of their respective owners.
Per the Allianz MasterDex X Annuity brochure, here are some key points as to how it’s marketed:
- The potential for indexed interest based on changes in an external market index
- A bonus on premium received in the first three contract years
- Access to full contract value, including bonus, as a lump sum – without surrender charges – after 10 contract years
- Free withdrawals of up to 10% based on your paid premium
- Flexible income options, including lifetime income
There’s a few more bells and whistles, but those are the basics. If you’re looking for the full brochure, you can download it here.
How Financial Advisors Might “Pitch” This Annuity
In the past few years, insurance agents have fallen in love with the term “hybrid annuity.” Even though the insurance companies don’t seem to like the term a whole lot, I guess the cool sounding name makes it easier to sell annuities, so it’s caught on nonetheless. When agents use the term “hybrid,” they are referring to an annuity that has multiple annuity features rolled into a single product.
In the case of the MasterDex X, it can be used with optional riders that allow it to have multiple benefit types, so whether Allianz likes it or not – plenty of agents will call it a hybrid annuity.
Since this is often then referred to as a “hybrid annuity” – there are a few different ways it might be pitched. My experience, however, is that most sales agents will cling to two main components:
- The safety combined with return potential of the market
- The guaranteed income for life rider
After all, that’s what a “hybrid annuity” is – an annuity that gives you a form of growth, access to capital, and guaranteed income – all rolled into one.
While those are true statements, this annuity is not all roses. It can work well when used correctly but has shortcomings just like any other financial product. One of the biggest issues I’ve run into is that many agents misrepresent how this annuity will actually perform. That’s a problem.
From the many people I’ve talked to personally about their experience with agents, most seem to have been told this annuity will perform “better” than other annuities. I’ve even heard from potential buyers this annuity has a minimum return of 6% per year but has the possibility to earn 10% or more if the market really goes up…
Is any of that true? Nope.
If your agent/advisor explains this annuity correctly, you should never get the impression you’ll earn more than 2% to 5%. If bigger returns than that are part of your agent’s sales pitch – run, don’t walk, to find a more honest financial advisor.
Complete Video Review of the Allianz MasterDex X Fixed Index Annuity
Warning: We tend to get pretty in-depth and a little geeky with video reviews. This particular video is very thorough and will show you exactly how to calculate MasterDex X Annuity performance. Enjoy, but consider yourself warned. 😉
As you can see from the video review there are some major flaws in the sales pitch vs. reality going on here.
Yes, this annuity is linked to the market (but will not produce market-like gains). Yes, it really does have an income for life guarantee (but won’t return even close to 6%). Allianz is a rock solid company, financially speaking; but, the returns of this product are rather pedestrian and there are probably better options for many investors.
The Annuity Gator’s End Take on the MasterDex X Annuity
Where it works best:
- For producing a reliable, “pension-like” guaranteed income stream (so long as Simple Income rider is elected, and used shortly after purchase)
- For producing an income for life that cannot be outlived by a surviving spouse
- For investors who have a family history of life longevity
- For investors that have no need for their money or generating large returns, but want it to grow safely until transferred to their beneficiaries
Where it works worst:
- For those that do not plan on using the income for life benefit, or don’t plan to use it right away
- For those who plan to let the account grow for quite a few years, then turn on the Simple Income rider (there are better options)
- For those seeking maximum long-term growth
- For those expecting real returns of greater than 2-4% per year on average
One of the most important things for investors to understand is that the “roll-up rate” is not the actual return, nor is the “lifetime withdraw rate” the actual return. In no way will it produce the 5% to 8% return numbers a lot of uneducated advisors toss around when trying to sell it.
For someone strictly looking for guaranteed income with no market risk, there are better options available. For someone looking for an investment that cannot go down, is content with lower single digit returns, and wants the financial strength of a really solid company – this might be a good fit.
I’m still convinced most agents don’t realize what the real returns are, though, and significantly over promise what’s realistic – so be especially wary of anyone who suggests this annuity will work better than how I illustrated it here. If the agents are being upfront and honest, you’ll notice their explanations match very closely (if not exactly) as described in this review. When that happens, you have an agent you can trust.
As a recap to the video (for those that don’t have 50+ minutes to watch it), the MasterDex X Annuity will not actually return 6%. Nor will it likely return 5%. When financial advisors use those numbers they are referring to percentages used to calculate the income guarantee.
The only way to know if this annuity is a good fit for you is to have it tested. We do this free at AnnuityGator.com, so just get in touch with me and I’ll use the calculator from the video to illustrate for you what returns for your situation are likely to be. If your agent was honest with you the numbers will match up – if not, well then you might want to reconsider who your agent is.
Have Questions on the Allianz MasterDex X Annuity? See any Mistakes?
If you have questions please let me know. You can reach me via the Free Annuity Help form here.
I know annuities can be confusing and a lot of people are pushing investors very hard to buy them. But you need to know the real facts to make sure if you go that route you don’t end up regretting it later. After all, annuities are long-term investments with contracts, surrender penalties, etc. For some people, they won’t make sense at all, but for some, they might.
If you know anyone who has an annuity or is thinking of buying one, please share this post with them. I know a lot of people are getting very conflicting information and my goal in writing this review and making the video was to educate in an objective way. If you have a Facebook account you can click on the little “Facebook” icon and share this article. That way more people will be able to find it and hopefully, more people will benefit.
Thanks for bearing with me on this rather long post, I hope you found it beneficial in your research.
Lastly, like all humans – I do make mistakes. If you see one on this review please reach out and let me know. I’m always more than happy to make corrections and give credit where it is due. If you’re an investor and this review causes confusion and creates questions feel free to reach out as well. I can’t always get back right away but usually, I can clear up those questions within a few days.
The Annuity Gator