What Will We Be Covering in this Annuity Review?
In this annuity review, we will be going over the following information about the Fidelity Personal Retirement Variable Annuity:
- Product Type
- Current rates
- Realistic long-term return expectations
- How it is 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 have been considering the purchase of an annuity because you are looking for tax-advantaged growth of your savings, along with the ability to obtain a future income stream in retirement, then the AXA Structured Capital Strategies variable annuity could be a viable option for you.
But, before you go out and make a commitment on this – or any – annuity, it is recommended that you first have a good understanding of just exactly how this product works so that you know what to anticipate.
Annuities are complex products, and the more “bells and whistles” they offer, the more confusing they tend to be. Because of that, many consumers aren’t really sure what they are purchasing – only to find out after they’ve purchased that the product really isn’t all that it was cracked up to be.
Unfortunately, at that point, it is too late to get out of the annuity without having to pay a substantial withdrawal fee. This is definitely not the way to grow and/or protect your hard-earned savings.
This is where the Annuity Gator comes in!
Annuity and Retirement Income Planning Information That You Can Trust
If this is your very first visit to our website, then please allow us personally welcome you here to AnnuityGator.com. We make up a team of experienced and knowledgeable financial professionals who focus on providing highly informative and unbiased annuity reviews.
Even though you may have noticed other similar websites on your quest for annuity information, we’ve actually been offering annuity product reviews for many years – far longer than most of the other copycat sites. (Although, it has been said that imitation is the highest form of flattery).
It may be that your financial advisor has recently talked with you about the AXA Structured Capital Strategies Annuity with the 5-year segment. Alternatively, you may have attended a seminar where, in return for a free dinner or lunch, a presenter provided you with details about this, or some other similar annuity.
But, even though you may feel like the presenter left you “well informed,” it is still extremely important that you know more about the entire picture – which includes the good, the bad and the ugly – before you commit what will likely be a large chunk of your retirement savings.
In researching annuities online, you may have come across other annuity websites – many of which tout some pretty bold claims about their annuities, such as:
- Highest income payouts
- Low Fees
- Top-rated annuity carriers
But unfortunately, rather than present you with all of the pertinent details about the annuities that they’re marketing, these websites would rather just highlight the good features, in order to get you to provide your contact information.
As enticing as some of these claims may be, you absolutely, positively need to know both sides of the story when it comes to annuities. This means understanding that, while the AXA Structured Capital Strategies annuity with the 5-year segment does certainly have some nice features, there are also some areas where this annuity may present you with some substantial disadvantages, too.
While most insurance and financial services representatives will work to do what is right for their clients, they may only place a key focus on the positive features of a product, while leaving out the possible drawbacks
Our annuity reviews, however, will offer you the good and the bad, which in turn can allow you to make a much more well-informed decision as to whether or not Structured Capital Strategies with the 5-year segment from AXA is the one for you.
So, if you’re ready to move forward, let’s go ahead and dive in!
AXA Structured Capital Strategies Annuity with 5-Year Segment at a Glance
|Product Name||Structured Capital Strategies Annuity with 5 Year Segment|
|Type of Product||Variable Annuity|
|Phone Number||(877) 899-3743|
Opening Thoughts on the AXA Structured Capital Strategies Annuity with 5-Year Segment
AXA is one of the largest companies in the world. After more than two and a half decades in the insurance and financial services arena, AXA offers its products and services in 64 countries and has more than 107 million clients.
For year-end 2016, AXA crosses the Euro 100 billion mark for the first time in the company’s history. This 2% growth over the following year was achieved while also keeping a focus on profitability.
Today, the AXA brand remains the #1 insurance brand worldwide (for the ninth consecutive year), and it is still part of the Top 3 Financial Services brands. The company has also continued to move up the ranking from 46th position to 42nd in terms of best overall global brand.
While variable annuities have taken somewhat of a back seat to other, safer, alternatives like fixed and fixed indexed annuities over the past decade, there is a definite niche for these products – particularly with those who are seeking the opportunity for a higher rate of return, as well as the tax-deferred growth of assets.
Before we get into the gritty details, there are some required legal disclosures here…
This is an independent annuity product review. It is not a recommendation to purchase or to sell an annuity. AXA 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. Prior to committing to the purchase of any type of insurance and/or investment vehicle, it is critical that you do your own due diligence, and that you also talk with a properly licensed professional if you have any questions that relate to your specific situation. All of the names, materials, and marks that have been used in compiling this annuity review are the property of their respective owners.
How AXA Describes the Structured Capital Strategies Annuity with 5-Year Segment
The Structured Capital Strategies is described by AXA as being an innovative, tax-deferred financial vehicle that includes an investment option. And, even though this is a variable annuity, it also offers some downside protection.
The 5-year segment offers several market indices to choose from, including the S&P 500, the Russell 2000, and the MSCI EAFE Index. (Note that the variable investment options are also available without either segment buffers or performance cap rates, which can help to enhance performance and/or present more risk in a downward moving market).
You can take a look at the performance cap rates for the Structured Capital Strategies annuity with a 5-year segment (as well as the 1 year and 3-year segments) HERE.
How an Insurance or Financial Advisor May “Pitch” this Annuity
Given the many options that are available with the AXA Structured Capital Strategies annuity, it is likely that an insurance or financial advisor who is “pitching” this product would focus on the upside potential, in combination with the protection feature. One reason for this is because as you move closer to retirement, most people want to attain – and maintain – growth to pace with inflation, but yet cannot afford to lose principal.
Yet, while this is all well and good, variable annuities are not necessarily known for being the best alternative for generating lifetime income. While you can obtain a stream of income for life, oftentimes, due to the risk to the insurance company involved, these products end up only generating the same amount of income – or less – than safer options such as fixed annuities.
That being the case, would you really want to endure sleepless nights wondering what the market is going to do, and worrying that your hard-earned principal could be lost before you retire?
Annuities can be confusing products – and because of that, it is important that you know what you’re getting into, and you know what questions you should ask before moving forward. With that in mind, if you would like some additional tips on what you need to know before buying an annuity, just simply click here so that you can immediately access our free report on how to shop for an annuity.
What About the Fees on This Annuity?
Throughout the years, annuities have been known for the fees that they charge – and the AXA Structured Capital Strategies annuity with the 5-year segment is no different. Here you will find that there is a long list of potential charges – which could ultimately eat into your overall return.
These can include a Total Annual Operating Expense of between 0.59% and 0.71%, as well as management charges from the various investments that you choose. These may range from between 0% and 3.5%.
Additional fees may include:
- Wire transfer charge – up to $90
- Express mail charge – up to $35
- Duplicate contract charge – up to $35
- Check preparation charge – up to $85
- Charge for third party transfer or exchange – Up to $125
Plus, if you opt to withdraw more than 10% of your contract’s value within the first five full years of owning the contract, you will be hit with a surrender charge. The amount of this charge is based on the contract year, as follows:
|Contract Year||Charge Percentage|
For all of the most updated fee information, you can go to page 12 of the current product prospectus HERE.
The Annuity Gator’s End Take on the AXA Structured Capital Strategies with 5-Year Segment
Where this annuity works the best:
- For those who are looking for the opportunity to attain market-related growth
- For those who are seeking a way to diversify their assets
- For those who wish to obtain additional tax-deferred growth and have already maxed out their 401(k) and IRA options
Where this annuity works the worst:
- For those who have a low-risk tolerance
- For those who do not intend on using the lifetime income feature
If you’ve been going back and forth with the thought of purchasing a variable annuity – or any annuity, for that matter – but you’ve been hesitant to move forward because you just aren’t sure which annuity might be right for you, it is important that you know all of the ins and the outs of a particular product before you sign on the dotted line.
This is because an annuity should always be considered as a long-term financial commitment – and if you do end up determining that a particular annuity just isn’t for you after you’ve purchased it, it can be fairly expensive to get out of it.
If you’re still considering the AXA Structured Capital Strategies annuity with the 5-year segment, there are certainly some nice benefits that can be gained here. But, this particular product may quite frankly still fall somewhat short, too.
So, if you still have any questions as to whether or not this annuity would fit into your overall financial plans, please feel free to contact us directly via our online contact form here and our annuity team will be happy to assist you.
Do You Need Any Additional Info? Did You See Any Mistakes in this Annuity Review?
We realize that this annuity review was a bit lengthy – and we appreciate you sticking with us through it all – however, we feel that it is much better to “err” on the side of providing “too much” information than not enough. With that in mind, if you felt that this annuity review was helpful, then please feel free to forward it on to anyone else that you think may benefit from it, too.
Also, as humans will often do, we also understand that information about annuities can change quickly. Therefore, if you happened to notice any details in this review that were out of date or that need correction, please let us know that as well, and we will get it fixed quickly.
Are there any other annuities that you would like to also see reviewed?
If you have checked out our list of annuity reviews and there is another annuity (or more than one other annuity) that is not currently in our annuity review database, but that you would like to see reviewed, please let us know the name of the annuity or annuities and our team of annuity “geeks” will get right on it. So, be sure to check back with us soon to see any updates.
The Annuity Gator
P.S If you would like to read more of our AXA annuity reviews here are some links to check out:
- AXA Accumulator Series Annuity
- AXA Retirement Cornerstone Variable Annuity
- AXA Investment Edge Variable Annuity
- AXA Structured Capital Strategies Variable Annuity
- AXA SCS (Structured Capital Strategies) Plus Annuity