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Independent Review of the Nationwide New Heights 12 Annuity – [October 2018 Update]

What’s covered in this Review?

In this review we’ll cover the following information on the Nationwide New Heights 12 fixed indexed annuity:

  • Product Typenationwide_logo
  • Fees
  • Current Rates
  • Realistic long term investment 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 thinking about a financial vehicle that can offer you the protection of principal, as well as the opportunity for increased returns – along with one that can provide you with a lifetime stream of income in the future – then the Nationwide New Heights 12 fixed indexed annuity could be a viable option for you.

Yet, prior to jumping in right away and purchasing this annuity – or any annuity, for that matter – it is always a good idea to get a more in-depth understanding of how these products work, and how they may (or may not) work for you.

Over the past several years, annuities have become increasingly popular as a way of providing a guaranteed lifetime income stream in retirement. Because of this, the number of financial and insurance advisors who provide these products has also expanded exponentially. But this may not actually be a good thing. This is because, while most financial professionals will want to do what is right for their clients, they may not necessarily be offering you the very best information regarding a fixed indexed annuity that you’re considering purchasing.

Also, due in large part to annuities’ growing popularity, insurance companies have been expanding their product lines to include “hybrid” and other types of products that can come with a lot of bells and whistles. This can make these already complex products even more confusing – even for well-educated individuals.

With that in mind, it is essential that you have an in-depth understanding of just exactly what you are purchasing, as an annuity will likely require that you deposit a large chunk of your retirement savings. And, if you find out too late that the annuity isn’t the best option for you, it can be extremely costly to get out of one, as you will likely be charged surrender fees.

Annuity And Retirement Income Planning Information That You Can Trust

If this is your first visit to our website, we would personally like to welcome you to We are a team of experienced financial professionals who are dedicated to offering you the most comprehensive, as well as nonbiased, annuity reviews. We have been offering these reviews for many years – much longer than any of our competitors – and because of that, we have become a trusted source of information about these products.

If you’ve been in search of any information about annuities via the Internet, it is probable that you have come across a wide range of details – much of which may be conflicting information regarding these products. This isn’t surprising, though, as there is a great deal of confusion out there about how these products actually work.

It is also possible that you have recently attended a seminar about annuities. Here, the advisor who was presenting the seminar may have offered you lunch or dinner, in return for allowing him or her to meet with you at a later time to discuss an annuity for you. This seminar and/or meeting may have been what prompted you to go online for additional details – and could even have led you here to our site.

While there are many other good websites out there that have a focus on marketing their annuities, there are some websites that will attempt to lure you in with some pretty exaggerated claims like:

  • Highest annuity payouts
  • Low fees
  • Guaranteed income for life
  • Top Rated Annuity Companies
  • Get an Annuity Quote Now!

Although these claims about fixed indexed annuities may sound good, it is important that you find out just how many of them are true before you move forward with the purchase of an annuity. In order to do that, though, it could mean that you have to read through a myriad of fine print – which in turn, could make annuities even more confusing.

But, if you are here at this site in order to get more details on the Nationwide New Heights 12 annuity, then you are definitely in the right place. In fact, we dare say that this site is the only place where you can truly get all of the in-depth details – which include not only the good but also the bad and the ugly. We feel that this way, you will be better able to truly determine whether or not this is the best annuity product for your needs.

Oftentimes, an insurance or financial sales rep who sells fixed indexed annuities will highlight all of the product’s advantages, such as the ability to obtain index-linked growth and principal protection. But, they could also leave out various details that pertain to the potential drawbacks of the annuity. Therefore, before you move a large amount of your hard earned savings over to the annuity, it is imperative to know the whole story.

Just to be clear here, there are some definite advantages to owning a fixed indexed annuity – provided that this type of product fits nicely into your overall financial plan. So, given that, you not only need to know how these annuities work but also why you may end up choosing the Nationwide New Heights 12 over a long list of other potential annuity options.

This annuity review is here in order to help you with getting a more in-depth understanding of all of this annuity’s fine print – as knowing this can help you in making a well-informed decision going forward.

So, if you are ready to begin, let’s dive in! [desktoponly]

Nationwide New Heights 12 Annuity at a Glance

Product NameNew Heights 12
IssuerNationwide Life Insurance Company
Type of ProductSingle Premium Fixed Indexed Annuity
Standard & Poor's RatingA+
Phone Number(800) 321-6064

Opening Thoughts on the Nationwide New Heights 12 Annuity

For the past 85 years, Nationwide Insurance Company has placed a primary focus on its customers. With its dozens of affiliated companies, Nationwide – a Fortune 100 company – has grown to become one of the largest insurance and financial services companies in the world.

Nationwide Insurance Company’s advertising jingle, “Nationwide is on your side,” has become well known throughout the years, and it exemplifies how the company treats its individual and business clients – by essentially being on the same side of the table.

Considered to be strong and stable financially, the company paid out nearly $19 billion in claims in 2017. As of year-end 2017, some of the other financial highlights for Nationwide include its:

  • $46 billion in total sales / direct written premium
  • $28 billion in operating revenue
  • $562 million in net operating income
  • $236 billion in total assets

Nationwide Life Insurance Company has earned high ratings from the insurer rating agencies, which include a(n):

  • A+ from A.M. Best
  • A+ from S&P
  • A1 from Moody’s

Nationwide has earned a long list of accolades, such as being:

  • #1 in 457 plans (based on the number of plans)
  • #1 total small business insurer
  • #1 writer of farms and ranches
  • #1 pet insurer

The company has also contributed more than $430 million to non-profit organizations since the year 2000 by the Nationwide Foundation.

Throughout the years, Nationwide has become a major player in the annuity market place – particularly as retirees and those who are about to retire are concerned with protecting principal, and having an ongoing income that they can count on for the rest of their lives.

Due to the constant volatility of the market over the past several years, the demand for fixed indexed annuities has expanded substantially – particularly as a way for people to obtain higher potential index-linked returns, while at the same time maintaining the safety of principal.

However, even though this may at first sound like the best of both worlds when something sounds too good to be true, it typically is. So, it is important that you take some precautions before you move forward with the purchase of this, or any, annuity, as you do not want to find out the negatives when it’s too late to get out without a hefty penalty.

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. Nationwide 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, to obtain our free annuity report.

How Nationwide Life Insurance Company Describes the New Heights 12 Annuity

According to Nationwide Insurance Company, the New Heights 12 Annuity is a single purchase payment deferred annuity with features that can help you to accumulate retirement savings and protect your money.

The product literature for the New Heights 12 annuity states that this particular annuity offers two key benefits:

  • Enhanced growth potential
  • Protection from market risk

First, the New Heights 12 annuity tracks your potential earnings daily and does not limit the amount of index performance used to calculate your earnings. Therefore, there is potential for higher long-term accumulation, based on the performance of the underlying and declared rate component.

Although rates can – and often do – change over time, these may not be published in the annuity brochure. Rather, it is best to discuss rates with your broker or agent. You can also contact Annuity Gator via our secure online contact form to set up a time to discuss rates, and any other question you may have, with an annuity specialist.

In addition, the annuity guarantees that you will not lose any of your initial investment or credited earnings due to the performance of the underlying index. Also, the return of purchase payment guarantee provides assurance that, should you surrender your contract after the end of the 12th contract anniversary, or if a death benefit is payable or a surrender is triggered due to an event that qualifies under the Long-Term Care, Terminal Illness, or Injury Event provisions, you will receive 100 percent of your purchase payment (minus any gross withdrawals).

You can find updated details on the additional riders HERE. In this case, you could choose the Nationwide High Point 365 Lifetime Income Benefit Rider, which provides the opportunity for continued growth, even after income has begun, as well as the Nationwide High Point Enhanced Death Benefit, which also provides growth opportunities, along with some guarantees.

Although there is not a prospectus for this product (which are typically only available with variable annuities), you can go HERE for more details on how fixed indexed annuities work in general, as well as for more in-depth details regarding the Nationwide New Heights 12 annuity specifically.

You will also find a product summary HERE, which includes details regarding the available riders.

If you happen to be a financial advisor, you can check out the updated rates for the New Heights 12 annuity right HERE.

How Financial Advisors May “Pitch” This Annuity

The Nationwide New Heights 12 Annuity is a fixed indexed annuity that can help you with building up your retirement savings through interest growth, along with the protection of your principal. And, as with other types of annuities that are offered in the market, the funds that are inside of the annuity’s account are able to grow on a tax-deferred basis, which can allow the money to accumulate more quickly.

Many financial and insurance advisors will tout these benefits, as well as the annuity’s ability to provide you with a guaranteed stream of income in retirement – for as long as you (and your spouse, if you choose that option) may live.

Based on these criteria, the New Heights 12 Annuity could seem like an ideal option for you. However, if you are currently being offered this annuity by a salesperson who will make a commission, it is likely that he or she will highlight these positive features, but leave out some or all of the possible drawbacks.

When you take a much closer look at the Nationwide New Heights 12 Annuity, you may find that this product is not as awesome as it initially sounded. For instance, even though the product does not limit the amount of index performance used in calculating the earnings, what you actually return will still be subject to the limitations of the other crediting factors, such as the indexed allocation and the strategy spread. Also, some indices don’t include dividends paid on the underlying stocks, and therefore do not reflect the total return of the underlying stocks. With this in mind, it is important to remember that an index – or any market-indexed annuity – is not really comparable to a direct investment in the financial markets. (In other words, you aren’t directly investing in the underlying index here).

Also, based on the company’s product brochure, a market value adjustment (or MVA) may be applied to the annuity contract if you make a partial withdrawal or you fully surrender your contract before the surrender charge period has elapses. In addition, the company website notes that “While the crediting factors will not change during a strategy term, crediting factors for each subsequent strategy term may vary.”

The reality is that even though the opportunity for enhanced growth, and a lifetime income guarantee, are nice to have, these features can also be found on any number of other fixed indexed annuities. And, if you are able to find these features, along with some added benefits, it could be well worth it to take a look at other alternatives.

Even if the Nationwide New Heights 12 annuity appears to be a good fit for you, this product is only offered in certain states – which as of this time excludes: AK, CA, CT, DE, NM, MO, MS, NJ, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, TX, UT, and WA.

So, if you are still not 100 percent sure that the Nationwide New Heights 12 Annuity is the right way to go – and/or if you have any additional questions or concerns about annuities that you would like to have addressed – then please feel free to contact us directly through our secure contact form.

We understand that annuities can be somewhat confusing – even for well-educated consumers. However, when you are attempting to decide what you should do with a large amount of your hard earned savings, it is crucial that you know just exactly what it is that you’re getting into.

Another key area to be mindful of is the pay that the advisor who is offering you this annuity will receive. Just like with any type of sale, the person who is the seller can often be motivated by the size of their paycheck, as versus how suited the product is to the customer.

Given that, it is important that you have an idea of the Nationwide New Heights 12 annuity commission schedule before you plunk down what could be a large sum of money. This particular annuity has a 12-year declining Contingent Deferred Sales Charge (or CDSC), that starts at 10%, and gradually grades down until it reaches 0% in Year 12. You can see the details, as well as some other relevant info, by going HERE.

The Nationwide New Heights 12 Fixed Indexed Annuity Disclosure provides in-depth information regarding the product itself, how it works – including how earnings are credited to the account and the calculation strategy of earnings – and other important details.

To check out the full Nationwide New Heights 12 Fixed Indexed Annuity Disclosure Summary, you can go HERE.

In addition, there is a full brochure available that provides updated information on the Nationwide New Heights 12 annuity. To check out the Nationwide New Heights 12 annuity brochure, go <HERE –>.

Therefore, if you would like to have any additional information so that you know all of your options, you can in order to download our free report that discusses what you should know before your purchase an annuity.

What About the Nationwide New Heights 12 Annuity’s Fees?

In addition to knowing how your money may perform in a fixed indexed annuity, it is also helpful to understand the type and a number of fees that you may be charged. All annuities can – and typically do – charge fees and these can have an impact on the amount of money that you are able to save, as well as the amount of income that you will receive in the future.

Just some of the fees that you are likely to find on fixed indexed annuities include an up-front sales commission for the advisor who sold it to you, as well as various contract and/or administration charges.

Nationwide pays the agent or advisor who sells you this annuity. However, the commission will not be deducted from your annuity purchase payment. Rather, the Nationwide New Heights 12 annuity commission is a cost that will be factored into the financial terms and conditions of the annuity contract.

Plus, if your needs happen to change within the first few years that you own the annuity, and you need access to your funds, it is probable that you will be hit with a surrender charge. These charges can be quite high – especially during the early years of your annuity ownership. [desktoponly]

In the case of the Nationwide New Heights 12 fixed indexed annuity, you can take out up to 10 percent of the contract value penalty-free. However, if you withdraw more than that, the surrender charges are as follows:


The Annuity Gator’s End Take on the Nationwide New Heights 12 Fixed Indexed Annuity

Where it works best:

This annuity will typically work the best for those who are seeking:

  • Safety of principal
  • The opportunity for additional, index-linked growth
  • Guaranteed lifetime income in retirement

Where it works worst:

  • For people who need access to their money right away
  • 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, to download our free report on annuities.

In Summary

There are a wide array of criteria that need to be considered if you are trying to determine which – if any – annuity is right for you. In all cases, an annuity should be considered a long-term financial vehicle, and the money that is used for purchasing this product should not be an amount that you may need for another issue soon after making your annuity purchase.

When thinking about the purchase of a fixed indexed annuity, you can be secure in knowing that your money is safe from market ups and downs and that you can have an ongoing lifetime income in retirement.

In terms of the Nationwide New Heights 12 Annuity, there can definitely be some benefits that are available to you. But, this annuity could also still fall short – and quite frankly, there may very well be some alternatives that are better for you and your specific needs.

If you still have any questions that are unanswered regarding the Nationwide New Heights 12 Annuity – or, even if you would just simply like to obtain some additional information – then please feel free to reach out to us through our secure contact form here.

Have Any Questions on the Nationwide New Heights 12 Annuity? See Any Mistakes?

We realize that this annuity review of the Nationwide New Heights 12 annuity may have been a tad bit longer. But, we would much rather that you have too much information on this product than to not have enough. So, if you found this annuity review to be beneficial, please feel free to pass it on and to share it with other people who could also find value in it.

In addition, we are aware that information regarding annuities can, and often does, change. So, if you happened to notice anything in this review that should be updated or revised, let us know and we will be happy to make the necessary edits.

And, if this annuity review caused you to be more confused about annuities and how these products work – or, if the review seemed to prompt some additional questions, then please let us know by clicking here.

Is there an Annuity that You Would Like to See Reviewed?

No problem! Our team of highly trained annuity geeks will get on it! Just click here in order to get started and we will do our best to get the review online as soon as possible.


The Annuity Gator


  • Norris Aycox
    12:19 PM, 1 June 2017

    What is the difference between Nationwide New Heights 8 Annuity; Nationwide New Heights 9 Annuity; Nationwide New Heights 10 Annuity; and Nationwide New Heights 12 Annuity?

    • Annuity Gator
      10:04 AM, 14 June 2017

      Hi Norris – Thank you for your message. At this time, we have a review of the Nationwide New Heights 12 posted on our website. It can be found by going to: We are always looking for suggestions for additional annuity reviews to place on the site, so will add the New Heights 8, 9, and 10. Please be sure to check back soon in order to read these, as well as information regarding the differences. Best. – Annuity Gator Team

  • Sempronius Densus
    6:25 PM, 22 March 2018

    According to the illustration I received from an agent, the NH 12 offers penalty-free access to 7% per year, not 10.


  • Scott Hefelfinger
    4:06 PM, 2 June 2018

    An agent prepared an account summery for me for the Nationwide New Heights 12 FIA. In the “Balanced Allocation Strategy” details it shows the “Equity Index Allocation”, which I understand to be equivalent to a “Participation Rate”, is given as 160%. As explained to me by the agent this means if the interest rate to be credited to my account is 10% I will actually get a credit of 16%. This sounds too good to be true and I have been unable to find any information on this figure. Does a 160% Participation Rate sound plausible to you?

    • Annuity Gator
      10:47 AM, 13 June 2018

      Hi Scott – In this case, the earnings are credited to the New Heights 12 FIA using a blend of an equity index component, a declared rate component, and a strategy spread component. It is possible that the % in the illustration is the strategy spread. The spread is an annual percentage rate that is actually deducted as part of the overall earnings calculation. In other words, the indexed interest amount would be determined by subtracting a certain percentage from any gain that the underlying index achieves within a certain time period. As an example, if the annuity has a spread of 2% and the underlying index goes up 9%, then the annuity would be credited with 7% (9 – 2 = 7).

      For a given equity indexed allocation and declared rate allocation, a higher strategy spread will possibly result in lower earnings that are credited to the contract. However, since higher strategy spreads are often associated with higher equity indexed allocations, the earnings for a strategy option with a higher strategy spread may be higher or lower than another strategy option, depending on the declared rate and the performance of the underlying index.

      There is an example of how the strategy works in the updated New Heights 12 brochure (page 12) which can be found here: Hope this helps. Please let us know if we can answer any additional questions. We can be contacted directly via phone at (888) 440-2468, or through our secure online contact form at: Best! The Annuity Gator

  • John Allen
    2:25 PM, 18 June 2018

    My main question for Nationwide is: since the annuitant and the company do not invest directly in the index per se (the JP Morgan Mosaic II,for example), how does the company maintain a reserve that will “mirror” the index’s return when, normally in a fixed rather than variable annuity, principal protection requires investment primarily in quality long-bonds in the lower interest rate range.

    One source explains that Nationwide is allowed to mirror the higher index return by including up to 10% of annuity premium in much higher risk “options” that recall the wild volatility of the derivative market in the prior decade.

    In states where New Heights 12 is allowed, is this 10% in options a kind of gamble that Nationwide feels it can high roll to equal the index performance?

    • Annuity Gator
      12:10 PM, 28 June 2018

      Hi John – Thank you for your message. The interest credits with a fixed index annuity won’t mirror the actual performance of the underlying index itself. Rather, the index closes (either daily, monthly, or annually, based on the particular annuity) are used at a type of basis for determining what the interest credits will be. Also, because many fixed index annuities will place a “cap” on the return, in many cases, the insurer’s return will be higher than the return credited to its customers. We would be happy to walk you through more in-depth details. Please feel free to contact us directly by phone, toll-free, at (888) 440-2468. Or, you can set up a time to chat with an annuity expert by going to our secure online contact form at: Thanks, we look forward to hearing from you. Best! Annuity Gator

  • Brad Spalding
    4:10 PM, 20 September 2018

    Thought I’d share a helpful resource for the Nationwide New Heights annuity:

    • Annuity Gator
      1:30 PM, 22 December 2018

      Hi Brad – Thank you for sending. We are in the process of updating a number of the annuity reviews in the review database, so this is extremely helpful. Will use for reference as well. Thanks, and best! Annuity Gator

  • Ken
    9:56 AM, 9 July 2019

    One of the concerns I have – other than the jargon-packed gobbledygook employed by the Nationwides of the world which passes for customer communications – is that there doesn’t seem to be a resource for accessing reviews of real-life annuity holders. Like many insurance companies, Nationwide uses “smart beta” indices as the basis for “crediting” New Heights holders. Yet, it appears that the beta technique is fairly new, so there is little actual experience with the JP Morgan Mozaic II Index or similar concoctions. It seems to me that FIAs require a leap of faith on the part of contract purchasers not unlike investing directly in the market itself.

    So back to the earlier question regarding the difference between the various flavors of New Heights products: what is the difference? I’ve looked at the company-provided materials for the 9 and 12, and they look fairly similar other than the length of the surrender period. I presume that those recommending 12s over 9s are getting higher commissions. Are there other differences that argue in favor of one over the other? You say above that you had not evaluated other versions of this product, but I believe you now have done so. Accordingly, what are the advantages and disadvantages you perceive between the two? Thx.

    • Annuity Gator
      12:29 PM, 31 July 2019

      Hi Ken– Thank you for your message.
      We would be happy to help you understand these two products better and compare them side by side.
      Please feel free to contact us directly, toll-free, at (888) 440-2468 to chat with one of our annuity specialists or visit

      We look forward to hearing from you.
      Best. Annuity Gator

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