Independent Review of the Guggenheim Highlander Fixed Indexed Annuity
What Will Be Covered in this Annuity Review?
In this annuity review, we will be going over the following details regarding the Guggenheim Life and Annuity company’s Highlander Fixed Indexed Annuity:
- 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 considering the purchase of an annuity because you want to your money to grow, while at the same time you want the assurance of having an ongoing lifetime income stream in retirement, then the Guggenheim Highlander fixed indexed annuity may be a good option for you.
But, before you rush full steam ahead with the purchase of this, or any, annuity product, it is highly recommended that you first do a bit of research on how the product works, and on how it may or may not ultimately work out for you and your specific financial goals.
Throughout the past decade or so – and especially since the U.S. market downturn of 2008, many investors have been pretty leery about diving into equity related financial vehicles. (This is particularly the case if you still feel the sting of losing a significant chunk of your hard-earned retirement savings in the recession).
But what if there was a way to get returns that were based on the performance of an underlying market index, yet not have to worry about the loss to the principal if the market tanks?
With a fixed indexed annuity, you can…but before jumping up and down with joy, remember that when something sounds too good to be true, it oftentimes is.
That isn’t to say that fixed indexed annuities are bad. They’re not – provided that they fit in with your particular financial needs and goals, and that you are fully aware of what the “tradeoffs” are for obtaining these nice benefits.
That’s where we can help.
Annuity and Retirement Income Planning Advice that You Can Trust
If this is the first time you have been to our website, we would like to personally welcome you here to AnnuityGator.com. We are a team of experienced financial professionals who are dedicated to providing non-biased and in-depth reviews of annuity products. We’ve been at this for a number of years now – far longer than most of our “copycat” competitors – and because of this, we have come to be known as a highly trusted source of annuity information.
If you’ve been seeking information about annuities online, it is likely that you have come across many conflicting details about these financial vehicles. This isn’t really very surprising, though, because there are a lot of opinions (both positive and otherwise) about these products floating around the Internet.
You may also have recently attended a seminar about annuity products. During this workshop, the presenter may have touted information about the Guggenheim Highlander Fixed Indexed Annuity, or some other similar product. Your attendance at that seminar could even be the catalyst that ultimately brought you here to our site in search of more details.
While there are a number of very good websites on the Internet that are focused on offering their annuity products, there are some that will attempt to lure you in with some pretty bold claims like:
- Lowest Fees
- Highest income payouts
- Guaranteed lifetime income
- Top-rated companies
Sound familiar at all?
Yet, while these claims may sound appealing, it is all the more important to know whether or not these claims are true. This is where our website can help. In fact, if you have come here in search of more in-depth details on the Highlander fixed indexed annuity from Guggenheim, you are certainly in the right place. We dare say that the website you are on right now is the only place where you can find out all of the information – the good, the bad, and yes, even the ugly. Knowing the whole picture, though, can help you in determining whether this product will be right for you.
Just to be perfectly clear, here, a fixed indexed annuity can provide you with some nice benefits. This, however, is really only the case if the product fits in with your specific financial plans. With that in mind, you should also know why you’re going with the annuity – and why you are choosing it over a long list of other potential annuities that may be available to you.
So if you’re ready to learn more, then let’s jump in!
Guggenheim Life Highlander Fixed Indexed Annuity at a Glance
|Issuer||Guggenheim Life and Annuity|
|Type of Product||Fixed Indexed Annuity|
|A.M. Best Rating||B++|
|Phone Number||(800) 767-7749|
Opening Thoughts on the Guggenheim Highlander Fixed Indexed Annuity
Guggenheim Life is a subsidiary of Guggenheim Partners, a global investment company that has in excess of $290 billion in assets under management (as of June 30, 2017). This company focuses primarily on three primary areas: investment management, investment banking, and insurance services.
The company offers its products in 49 of the U.S. states, and the District of Columbia, and it is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. Guggenheim has several different annuities on its shelf, including fixed indexed, multi-year guarantee (MYGA), and single premium immediate annuities (SPIAs).
Due in large part to the volatility of the stock market over the past several years, those who are saving for retirement have become much more concerned about the protection of principal, even though they know that they also need to keep their money growing. Based on this, some consumers feel torn between the opportunity for the growth that a variable annuity can offer and the principal protection that is found in a fixed indexed annuity. Now, with the Guggenheim Highlander annuity, they may find that both are possible.
But, it can be extremely advantageous for you to check out how exactly this product works before diving in head first to something that you may not be able to get out of down the road.
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. Guggenheim Life and Annuity Company have 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 Guggenheim Describes the Highlander Fixed Indexed Annuity
Guggenheim Life and Annuity Company describe the Highlander Fixed Indexed Annuity as a single premium deferred fixed indexed annuity that allows you to accumulate funds, benefit from tax deferral, maintain a simplified allocation, and can provide a living benefit of income that can last for as long as you live.
Here, there is a fixed account that offers a fixed, guaranteed interest rate. (This rate is declared at the beginning of each annual interest term). There are also a couple of indexed account strategies, where the return that is credited each year is based on the performance of the S&P 500 index. These include:
- 1-Year point-to-point (cap)
- 1-Year point-to-point
You could qualify for an additional 4% bonus on the premium that you put into this annuity during the first contract year.
In addition, there are some other features that are included, such as a death benefit, as well as a nursing home care waiver and a terminal illness waiver whereby the full amount of the account value may be accessed without surrender charges (as long as certain guidelines are met).
Also, there is the option to purchase a lifetime withdrawal rider, where the benefit base will grow for 20 years by a dollar amount credited to the account value and multiplied by 4% guaranteed on each of the contract anniversaries.
For more in-depth details on this annuity, you can take a peek at the product guide HERE.
How an Insurance or Financial Advisor Might “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 potential for an added 4% bonus is a plus that agents will likely present you with.
On top of keeping your principal safe in an environment that can produce higher than regular fixed annuity returns, the Highlander 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.
For example, as with many other fixed indexed annuities that are available in the market today, a cap rate could hinder your upward returns. That’s because if the underlying index that your annuity is tracking has an absolutely stellar performance in a given year (or for that matter, even if the performance percentage is any amount over the cap rate), your return will be “capped” or limited to the cap rate.
There is a somewhat similar hindrance when it comes to the participation rate. In this case, if the selected tracking option only participates in, say, 50% of the gain, then if the underlying index returns 10% in a given year, you would only receive 5%.
And remember that added 4% bonus that you may have received, based on your first year’s premium? Well, the amount of that bonus is not included in the annuity’s benefit base calculation. (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).
In addition to all of that, if you do happen to make a withdrawal within the first ten full contract years, the insurance company is going to re-capture some (or even all) of that bonus, depending on when you make your withdrawal.
Premium Bonus Re-capture Charge Schedule
What About Fees on the Guggenheim Highlander Fixed Indexed Annuity?
Just like with most any other annuity, you will also need to be mindful of the various charges and fees that you can incur, as these could end up negatively impacting the overall return you end up with on this product.
Here you will have an annual lifetime withdrawal rider charge (if you’ve chosen to include this rider) of 0.90%. This charge will be calculated on and deducted from, the account value.
Plus, if you need to take some or all of your money out of the annuity within the first 10 years, you may find yourself being hit with a surrender charge. Here, if you withdraw more than 10% of the contract value within the first decade, your penalty (in most states) will be as follows:
Guggenheim Highlander 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.
The Annuity Gator’s End Take on the Guggenheim Highlander Fixed Indexed Annuity:
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 10 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.
Have Any Additional Questions on the Guggenheim Highlander Annuity? Did You Notice Any Mistakes in this Review?
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 this review caused, even more, confusion about this product, then please click here in order to let us know that too.
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