Independent Review of the Sun America Polaris Variable Annuity
What’s Covered in this Review
In this review, we will go over the following information on the Sun America Polaris variable annuity:
- Product Type
- Current rates
- Realistic long term investment expectations
- How it is used
- How it is most poorly used
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You may initially notice, that like many other annuities, the Sun America Polaris variable annuity can perform quite well in some instances. There are, however, other situations where it may not perform very well at all – especially in light of what your particular goals for the annuity may be.
Annuity And Retirement Income Planning Information That You Can Trust
You may have stumbled across our website for the first time right now, and you don’t know very much about us – but you have definitely come to the right place.
If you have been searching for and Googling “annuities,” then it is likely that you have visited annuity marketing websites that have made some or all of the following bold claims in order to just collect your contact information:
- Highest Payouts
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We have found that none of these “benefits” really even matter without first understanding what your primary reason is behind buying an annuity in the first place. Furthermore, under additional scrutiny, many of these annuities really cannot actually even provide you with 7-8% returns in most situations.
Other websites are adamantly opposed to annuities – but yet they have no idea how annuities even work!
The truth is that both of these approaches are actually flawed, and they don’t benefit you in any way.
The website you are on right now, however, is completely different. Here at Annuity Gator, we publish the most thorough, independent, and objective annuity reviews on the Internet – and we have been doing so for longer than many of the copycat websites that are out there. We want you to determine for yourself whether or not the annuity makes sense…so now you can ultimately decide for yourself.
So, let’s go ahead and get started.
Sun America Polaris at a Glance
Product Name Polaris Variable Annuity
Type of Product Variable Annuity
Standard & Poor's Rating A+ (Strong)
Phone Number (800) 445-7862
Opening Thoughts on the Sun America Polaris Variable Annuity
In general, variable annuities are designed to perform two primary tasks. These are to grow principal and to produce income. However, the reality is that variable annuities are not really all that good at producing retirement income. One of the key reasons for this is because of the risk that these types of annuities can present both to their investors, and to the underlying insurance companies that offer them.
Because the value inside of a variable annuity does tend to fluctuate up and down so much, it is not uncommon that for an insurer to guarantee a lower amount of income from a variable annuity. This can actually be the case – even though the variable annuity can provide the ability to earn more growth than does a more “safe” alternative such as a fixed annuity.
Therefore, for every dollar that you put into a variable annuity option, it can essentially offer you a lower amount of income than would a fixed annuity – for the very same amount of deposit. Because of this, if your main goal for the annuity is future retirement income, then a variable annuity may not be the best alternative.
Regarding the use of a variable annuity for growing principal, this product can offer the opportunity for a nice, high return. For instance, in the case of the Sun America Polaris variable annuity, this product offers some different options to choose from. With the Polaris Income Plus Daily annuity, investors can have market participation, along with the ability to lock in market gains. But, because it is a variable annuity, you can still have downside market risk – so it is important to be aware of where this risk may be harmful to principal protection.
Also, variable annuities can also be known for charging a number of fees to their investors. For example, what many investors in variable annuities may not always be aware of is that, in addition to just the annuity’s fees, there can also be management fees that are incurred by the mutual fund investments that are inside of the annuity. Because of all these fees, combined with market volatility, it can be somewhat of a challenge to obtain a high return in a variable annuity product in general.
Before we get into the gritty details, here are some legal disclosures…
This is an independent annuity review. Because of that, it will not include any recommendation to purchase or to sell an annuity. Sun America has not endorsed this review in any way, nor did we receive any compensation for providing this review. The information is just meant to be an opinion so that readers can view our personal perspective when determining the potential advantages and/or the drawbacks of this annuity, as well as whether it may or may not fit in with their financial goals. Before you purchase any type of financial product or service, it is important that you pursue your own due diligence, as well as that you consult with a properly licensed and competent financial advisor. In doing this, you can then more precisely ensure that the product or service that you are considering will fit in with your particular circumstances. All of the names, trademarks, and materials that have been used in this annuity review are the property of their respective owners.
How SunAmerica Describes The Polaris Variable Annuity
Based on Sun America’s website and the product’s prospectus, the Polaris variable annuity is described as being a vehicle that combines growth potential, family protection features, and optional retirement income choices.
The investment options that are included in the Polaris variable annuity are managed by professional money managers, which can help you to design the proper asset allocation strategy, based on your particular goals and needs. The annuity also offers additional features, such as an optional death benefit (at an additional charge).
There are several versions of the Polaris annuity. The Income Plus Daily, for example, allows the ability to lock in potential investment gains to an income base each day for guaranteed lifetime income.
How Financial Advisors Might “Pitch” This Annuity
The Sun America Polaris variable annuity does offer a number of features that are likely to be highlighted when being offered by a financial advisor. For example, the opportunity for growth – especially with the professionally managed investment sub-accounts, will typically be one of the features that are highlighted.
It is also probable that another key selling point will be the various additional optional features, such as the death benefit – which can help in leaving a legacy. These additional annuity features will typically come at an additional cost though.
It is important to note, however, that if you plan on using this annuity – or using any variable annuity – as a source of guaranteed lifetime income, then you will need to closely examine it. This is because, due in large part to the potential risk to principal in the market, there can often be an effect on the amount of retirement income that you will ultimately end up receiving in the future. And, if income is, in fact, your primary reason for obtaining an annuity, then there can be other annuity products that could be better suited for this task.
In addition, even with professionally managed funds and a well-diversified portfolio of funds, the reality is that this annuity will still have market exposure. So, here too, you will really want to determine – based on your risk tolerance and overall financial goals – just how much market risk you will want to take. If you’re wondering if this annuity is right for you, or if you have questions and need a little help getting pointed in the right direction; just reach out via our secure contact form here.
What About the Sun America Polaris Annuity’s Fees?
In regards to fees, a variable annuity will generally be one of the more expensive of the financial product offerings in the marketplace. The Sun America Polaris variable annuity is no exception.
For example, with this annuity, investors will incur a number of annual expenses. These include a mortality and expense risk fee of 1.37% and a distribution expense fee of 0.15%. In addition, the total annual portfolio operating expenses can range from 0.53% to 1.24% each year. Plus, any additional riders that are added to the contract can also incur their own annual charges.
The Polaris annuity also has a surrender charge for the first seven years. This charge starts out at 7% in Year 1, and it gradually grades down to 1% in Year 7, until it eventually reaches 0% in Year 8 and beyond.
The Annuity Gator’s End Take on the Sun America Polaris Variable Annuity
Where it works best:
- When considering the Sun America Polaris variable annuity, it can often times work best if an investor wants to be invested for market growth – and wants the ability to diversify – while at the same time, also wanting the opportunity for future retirement income. This is because the annuity allows the ability to invest in professionally managed funds.
- On top of the growth opportunity, this annuity also provides the ability to receive tax-deferred growth. So, this can make it a good avenue for anyone who may have already “maxed out” their employer-sponsored retirement plan, as well as their IRA account, as an additional way to obtain tax-advantaged investment growth.
- Also, a variable annuity, just like any other annuity, can still be a good option for those who are concerned about outliving their savings or income in retirement. This is because they provide a guaranteed lifetime income feature.
- However, because of the surrender charges that can be incurred on the Sun America Polaris variable annuity, this vehicle should really be considered only as a longer term financial endeavor.
Where it works worst:
- For anyone who is not intending on using the income benefit on this annuity, it may not be the ideal product – and other, more suitable financial vehicles should be considered. This is because, due to the fees that can be charged, both on the annuity itself, and through the mutual funds that are inside of it, this route can be quite an expensive way to invest in equities – and there can likely be less costly ways to go.
When you are considering any financial product, it is essential that you determine just exactly what your overall goals are prior to moving forward. For example, in some cases, a particular financial vehicle may seem to offer both growth and income potential. Yet, after taking a closer look at it, the opportunity might come at a higher price than initially anticipated.
In the case of the Sun America Polaris variable annuity, there are certainly some nice features about it – including the ability to attain growth through professionally managed funds, and the ability to lock in growth.
Also, this annuity offers the opportunity to receive guaranteed lifetime income, which for many people can be a big concern. However, this really must be weighed out by the potential risk that you may be taking with your principal inside of the variable annuity during the accumulation period, based on market volatility.
In reality, the only way to truly know if this annuity will be a good fit for you is to have it tested. We provide this testing at no cost. Therefore, simply contact us and we will provide you with a better illustration of what the annuity may be able to return for you.
Have Questions on the Sun America Polaris Variable Annuity? See any Mistakes?
If you have any additional questions or concerns regarding the Sun America Polaris variable annuity – or if you happened to have noticed that any of the information in the review did not appear to be correct, then please contact us.
Over the past several years, annuities have become much more popular with investors. This has been due primarily to their guaranteed lifetime income ability – and because of this, there have been many financial professionals who have been pushing their clients to buy annuities, regardless of whether or not the annuity makes financial sense for the client.
However, annuities can tend to be confusing products – and you really need to know exactly what it is that you are purchasing with your retirement funds. You don’t want to make a mistake with these funds – especially one that you are not able to get out of.
Therefore, if an annuity doesn’t appear to make sense for you, then it is extremely important that you know – and that you say something immediately. If, however, an annuity does make sense for you and your financial situation, then it can be an essential component of your overall financial portfolio.
Likewise, if you know of any other investors who could possibly benefit from an annuity, please share this post with them. Today, there are many consumers who are getting conflicting information about these products. Our goal is to provide information about annuities in an objective manner so that people are able to better understand them.
So, if you can help to spread the word, that can be very beneficial. For example, if you have a Facebook account, then you could just simply click on the little Facebook icon in order to share this article so that more people will hopefully be able to benefit from it.
Also, if you did happen to notice any incorrect or outdated information in this review, please contact us and let us know. Just like any other financial product, annuities do tend to change often – and it can be somewhat difficult to keep up with all of the details that are regularly available on them. Therefore, we are always happy to make any updates that are needed in order to make this information clearer and more understandable.
If you’re wondering if this annuity is right for you, or if you have questions and need a little help getting pointed in the right direction; just reach out via our secure contact form here.
The Annuity Gator