What is Covered in this Annuity Review?
In this annuity review, we will be covering the following details on the Athene Ascent 10 Bonus Fixed Indexed annuity with Income Rider:
- Product Type
- Current Rates
- Realistic long-term return expectations
- How this annuity is best used.
- How it is most poorly used
Annuities can be complex. That’s where having an Annuity Investigator who loves math comes in.
We make the complex, simple.
If you’ve been thinking about purchasing a financial product that can offer you security, along with an ongoing, lifetime stream of income in retirement, then the Athene Ascent 10 Bonus Fixed Indexed Annuity with Income Rider 1 could be a viable alternative for you.
But, before you go out and make a long-term commitment to purchase this product, it is highly advised that you first attain a good understanding of how the annuity works, and how it may or may not work for you and your specific financial goals.
Over the past several years, fixed indexed annuities have become much more popular with investors. One reason for this is, due to the constant ups and downs of the stock market, many people are leery about staying exposed to equities that could end up in a loss of their hard earned savings.
This type of annuity can help to alleviate that fear, as it provides principal protection in the event of a market downturn, while at the same time also offering the opportunity to obtain a higher amount of growth than with a regular fixed annuity.
Because of this increased popularity, many insurance carriers have been expanding their lineup of annuities – many of which offer a long list of bells and whistles. This, however, is not necessarily a good thing, as oftentimes, an already confusing product can be even more confusing – even for well-educated consumers and financial advisors.
With that in mind, it can be all the more important that you read an annuity’s “fine print” so that you know just what it is you’re getting into, what the product will do (and not do), and why you may be choosing it over a wide array of other potential alternatives.
This is where we come in.
Annuity and Retirement Planning Information That You Can Trust
If this is the very first time you have visited our AnnuityGator.com website, then please allow us to personally welcome you here. We are a team of highly knowledgeable financial pros who are focused specifically on offering very in-depth and unbiased annuity reviews. We have been at this for quite a number of years now – much longer than our competitors – and because of that, we’ve become a go-to source for annuity information.
If you have been in the process of compiling more information on an annuity that you’re considering purchasing, then you have more than likely come across a lot of conflicting information about these products online. This really is not surprising, though, as there is a myriad of details available about these products. There is also a wide range of opinions about them, too.
It is also possible that you have attended a seminar about annuities recently, where the presenter there discussed the ins and outs of the Athene Ascent 10 Bonus 2.0 or some other similar annuity. It may even have been your attendance at that seminar that has ultimately led you here to our website in search of additional information.
While you’ve been online searching for additional annuity details, you may also have noticed that, while there are plenty of very good annuity-related websites out there, some of them will make some pretty bold claims with the goal of “luring” you in. These may include some or all of the following:
- Highest annuity payouts
- Lowest fees
- Guaranteed income for life
- Top-Rated Annuity Companies
- Get an Annuity Quote Now!
But, even though these claims may initially sound enticing, it is critical that you verify their validity before you move forward with buying an annuity. In doing so, you may have to read through a plethora of annuity fine print – or you could just read on right now.
If you’re interested in knowing more about the Athene Ascent 10 Bonus 2.0 fixed indexed annuity, then you are in the right place. In fact, dare we state that this is the only place online where you will be able to get all of the key details on this annuity – both the good and the bad. This, in turn, can assist you with making a much more well-informed decision about whether or not this annuity fits in with your overall financial goals.
Often, financial and insurance advisors who offer fixed indexed annuities will paint a nice, rosy picture for you regarding the opportunity to earn a higher return, while also keeping your principal safe in case of a market downturn. But unfortunately, these same advisors may also be conveniently leaving out some of the details that could be considered as drawbacks – which is information that any potential buyer needs to know!
One reason for this knowledge is so that you can anticipate how the annuity may (or may not) perform in certain situations. Another is that, once you have committed to an annuity, it can be extremely difficult – and expensive – to get out of it if you change your mind.
Just to be entirely clear here, we want to state for the record that we do believe that annuities can be a very viable method of saving and producing retirement income – provided that the product is appropriate for the investor.
This annuity review is here to assist you with getting a better understanding of all of the small print so that you are more knowledgeable regarding the Athene Ascent 10 Bonus 2.0 fixed index annuity and why it might work for you in terms of attaining your retirement savings and income goals.
So, if you’re ready to begin, let’s dive in!
Athene Ascent 10 Bonus 2.0 Fixed Indexed Annuity at a Glance
|Product Name||Ascent 10 Bonus 2.0|
|Type of Product||Fixed Indexed Annuity|
|S&P Rating||A- (as of August 2017)|
|S&P Rating (Athene Holding Ltd)||BBB (as of August 2017)|
|Phone Number||(888) 266-8489|
Opening Thoughts on the Athene Ascent 10 Bonus 2.0 Fixed Indexed Annuity
The name Athene is actually somewhat new as compared to many other insurance carriers that are out there in the marketplace. But don’t let that fool you. This insurance holding company has grown a great deal within a relatively short period of time. One way it has done so is through the acquisition of several other financial and insurance companies that have long and positive track records.
Athene Annuity and Life Company is a subsidiary of Athene Holding, Ltd., and is part of the large family of Athene companies. It is licensed to conduct business in all 50 of the U.S. states, and as of early 2017, the company has sold more than 1.1 million policies.
The company is highly rated by the insurer rating agencies, which includes ratings of:
- A- from S&P
- A from A.M. Best
- A- from Fitch Ratings
As of August 2017.
Throughout the past several years, fixed indexed annuity products have become a great deal more in demand with consumers. This is particularly the case with those who are fast approaching retirement and are seeking a way to grow their money, yet without losing their hard-earned principal in the process.
But, even though fixed indexed annuities have the ability to protect principal and help your money grow, it is still important to ensure that this “best of all worlds” scenario will fit your needs. That’s because whenever something sounds too good to be true, it oftentimes is.
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. Athene 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 out 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 Athene Describes the Ascent 10 Bonus Fixed Indexed Annuity Product
Athene describes the Ascent 10 Bonus annuity as a fixed indexed annuity with an optional income rider that could be a good option for someone who is looking for:
- Growth Potential
- Tax Deferral
- Premium Bonus
- Minimum Guaranteed Value
- A Death Benefit for Loved Ones
In terms of growing your funds inside the annuity, you have the flexibility to place your money in one or more of the interest crediting strategies in the contract. These include a fixed strategy – which offers a guaranteed rate of interest that is used to calculate and credit interest to the annuity each day. (Athene declares the guaranteed rate for this fixed strategy each contract year).
There are also several indexed strategies. Here is where you can receive interest credits that are linked in part to the performance of externally marked indexes like the S&P 500. The indexed strategies that are offered on the Ascent annuity credit any earned interest to your annuity once a year on the anniversary of when you purchased the annuity.
There are several options for how the index return can be credited to the account, including:
- 1 year no cap point-to-point
- 1-year point-to-point
- 1-year monthly cap
- 1-year monthly average
There are some other nice benefits, too, including a confinement waiver (where you can withdraw up to 100% of the annuity’s accumulated value if you have been confined to a nursing facility), as well as a terminal illness waiver (where you can also withdraw up to 100% of the accumulated value of the annuity if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness that is expected to result in death within one year).
There are also two income rider options that you can choose from on the Ascent 10 Bonus 2.0. (The income option must be chosen at the time of annuity purchase, though, and cannot be added at a later time).
Option 1 offers a level income feature, which includes a 10% simple interest rate for the first ten years, and a 5% simple interest rate for years 11 through 20.
Option 2, which is considered to be a “stacking” income benefit, entails a smaller simple income rollup being applied, and the sum of all interest credits to the account value, multiplied by a Credit Applied Percentage, which is added to the annuity’s income base. The option can help to leverage the growth potential of strong crediting strategies and a 200% participation rate.
How an Insurance or Financial Advisor May Pitch this Annuity
Because fixed indexed annuities can offer a wide range of benefits, there are several ways in which an insurance or financial advisor might pitch, or position, this product. For example, they may key in on the fact that this annuity offers the opportunity to get market index-linked growth, yet without any downside risk – regardless of what occurs in the market. In addition, the 10% upfront bonus is a plus that agents will likely present you with.
In addition to keeping your principal safe in an environment that can produce higher than regular fixed annuity returns, the Ascent 10 Bonus 2.0 annuity can also provide you with an ongoing lifetime income in retirement for as long as you need it.
What the agent may or may not heavily focus on, however, is the “fine print” – which is important for you to know, though, as it will outline the parameters that are required for some (or all) of the annuity’s benefits to kick in.
As an example, the income base of the annuity is guaranteed to increase by 10% – but only each year that you delay taking income from the annuity for the first ten years. After the first ten years have gone by, the income base will then increase by 5% going forward.
But even if you are still ready to jump on board and delay taking income for ten years in order to get the 10% guaranteed income base, there are a couple of things that you may want to consider first.
For instance, while we may not like to talk about it, each and every year, we all get a tad bit closer to leaving this earth. So, for each year that you don’t take income from your annuity, another year goes by, which in turn, means that we have one less year to enjoy the benefits of our hard earned savings.
Insurance carriers, because they rely on mortality tables for their policy pricing, know that for each year you want to take income, it is one less year that the company will ultimately have to pay you your benefits from the annuity.
It is also important to understand that an annuity’s income base is not money that you can just take out of the annuity’s account, nor can your beneficiaries obtain this money when you pass away.
There are some other areas of the small print that are important to understanding, too, such as with the confinement and terminal illness waivers. Here, for instance, with the confinement waiver, there are several criteria that must be met in order to qualify for the penalty-free withdrawals – including having been in a nursing home facility for at least 60 consecutive days before qualifying. Likewise, the terminal illness waiver also has some added criteria that you must meet, in addition to the terminal illness diagnosis itself.
Even the way in which the annuity attains its return may not be completely clear up front. Here, for instance, if an indexed strategy is chosen that has a cap, the return will be limited – even if the underlying index has a stellar upward year.
What About the Fees on the Athene Ascent 10 Bonus 2.0 Annuity?
Even though annuities can provide some nice benefits, the reality is that these products also come rife with fees – and the Athene Ascent 10 Bonus 2.0 fixed indexed annuity is no different. In this case, there is an up-front sales commission (the amount of which can vary, depending on your age at the time of application).
As with other annuities, the Ascent 10 Bonus 2.0 annuity from Athene also has a surrender charge. In this case, it lasts for the first nine full years that you own the product.
Athene Ascent 10 Bonus 2.0 Fixed Indexed Annuity Surrender Charge Schedule
If you are under the age of 59 1/2 and you take such withdrawals, then you could also be hit with an additional “early withdrawal” charge of 10% from the IRS.
You may also run into a premium bonus vesting adjustment if you withdraw more than 10% of the annuity’s contract value during the surrender period. For example, withdrawals or surrenders (other than for death of the annuitant, or the confinement/terminal illness waiver) that are taken during the first nine years of the contract will result in the loss of a portion of the premium bonus.
The Annuity Gator’s End Take on the Athene Ascent 10 Bonus 2.0 Fixed Index Annuity with Income Rider 1:
Where it works best:
This particular annuity will usually work the best for those who are looking for:
- The opportunity to obtain a higher rate of growth than that of a regular fixed annuity
- Safety of principal
- Lifetime income – with income guarantee
Where it works worst:
Conversely, this particular annuity may not fare so well for those who:
- Want to fully participate in market gains
- Want or need to access their funds penalty-free within the first 9 years
- Do not intend to use the guaranteed lifetime income feature
There are many factors that need to be considered when you are trying to determine whether or not a particular annuity will be right for you – or even if any annuity at all is the best option for your retirement funds.
If you are considering a fixed indexed annuity, then you can be secure in knowing that your principal will be safe from the ups and downs of the stock market, as well as in that you will have a future retirement income that you can count on.
But in reality, the only way to really know if this particular product is right for you is to have it tested. We can do this for you providing you with an in-depth and personalized spreadsheet showing how the annuity may perform given your specific parameters.
In going this route, you could find that it fits the bill for you – or, you may also find out that there may be some other products out there that work better for you and your particular situation.
Also, if you did not get all of your questions about the Ascent 10 Bonus annuity from Athene answered in this review, then please feel free to reach out to us directly through our secure contact form here.
Any Additional Questions? Did You Notice Any Mistakes?
We understand that this review was a bit on the lengthy side. However, when offering our annuity reviews here at AnnuityGator.com, we would much rather “err” on providing “too much” information for our readers rather than not enough. That way, you will be in a better position to make a truly informed decision as to whether or not a particular annuity product is right for you.
In addition, we also know that annuity information can change on a regular basis. So, if you noticed any details in this review that may need to be updated or revised, then please let us know that, and we will be happy to make any of the needed changes here. Likewise, if reading over this review caused, even more, confusion about this product, then please click here in order to let us know that too.
Are there any other annuities you would like to have reviewed?
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The Annuity Gator.