STRAIGHT LIFE ANNUITY: Payouts and Best Alternatives

straight life annuity

A straight life annuity will guarantee you a stream of payments for the rest of your life, but those payments will stop when you die. In most cases, there is no death benefit or ongoing payments to heirs. Straight life annuities may not be the ideal option for persons who want to provide financial support for their families after they pass away. Straight life annuity guarantees payments for the rest of the annuitant’s life, and the payout is greater because the annuity is not required to pay income to a surviving spouse or other dependents.

What Is a Straight Life Annuity?

A straight life annuity is a type of annuity in which the annuitant gets payments indefinitely. The straight life annuity has no expiration date or time limit and often pays out monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually. Annuities are one method to put your money to work for you and ensure a consistent income stream throughout retirement.

When the annuity owner dies, no income is provided to surviving spouses or extra annuitants. The high monthly payouts and lack of a legacy or ongoing income stream make this annuity ideal for a single person who has no intention of financially supporting others after death.

A single-life annuity may benefit married people or retirees by providing alternate streams of income and other assets to leave to dependents as part of a comprehensive financial strategy and diverse portfolio. Retirees who have begun estate planning may discover that a single life annuity can fill a need left by other assets and retirement savings accounts.

How Does Straight Life Annuity Work?

While many annuities allow the annuitant to choose a beneficiary (typically a spouse) who will be entitled to either continued payments or death benefits, a straight life annuity foregoes this additional benefit in favor of higher assured payments while the annuitant is alive.

A straight life annuity policy can be purchased over the length of the annuitant’s working life by making periodic payments into the annuity, or it can be purchased in one big sum. Lump-sum purchases are typically made at or shortly after the annuitant’s retirement. The same regular payments will be made under each payment option.

A straight life annuity owner can receive the largest monthly payment by excluding the survivor and death benefits. As a result, such an annuity is best suited to people who do not have a spouse or partner.

In effect, it is a straight gamble on life; the longer the owner/annuitant lives, the more payments they will earn. It makes no provision for risk reduction in the event of early death, in which case the annuity writer maintains the balance. Straight life annuities may not be the ideal option for couples who rely on the retirement income provided by the annuity.

Straight life annuities, like all annuities, provide longevity insurance.

In such a circumstance, the surviving spouse would require an additional source of income, most likely another annuity. Straight life annuities may not be a smart solution for people who want to leave their money to heirs.

What Is the Cost of a Straight Life Annuity?

Straight life annuities, like other annuities, can be funded to whatever level you like.

The more money you contribute through premium payments, the higher the value of your account and the more income you’ll receive in payouts. Typically, you can fund your annuity with funds from your savings, IRA, or by selling stocks, mutual funds, and other investments. Even the surrender value of a life insurance policy might be cashed in.

What Is the Payout of a Straight Life Annuity?

The straight life annuity overall payout amounts are determined by a variety of factors, including your life expectancy. Straight life annuities, on the other hand, offer the greatest payouts of any payout option.

Is it possible to deduct a straight life annuity?

Yes. Straight life annuities, like other annuities, are tax-advantaged. They grow tax-deferred, which means you don’t have to pay taxes on your gains until you receive them. This accelerates the growth of your account worth. For the vast majority of people, this also entails paying taxes in retirement.

Many retirees have lesser salaries and hence fall into a lower tax bracket. You will pay fewer taxes altogether if you are in a lower tax bracket when you pay your annuity taxes.

Straight Life Annuity Options for All Annuities

Yes, a straight-life payout option can be combined with most forms of annuities. Each of the following, for example, is a form of annuity that offers a straight life payout option.

Typically, you do not select your annuitization option until you wish to annuitize. That means you can buy an annuity with numerous payout options and then choose the best one for you when you’re ready to start receiving money.

#1. Straight Life Immediate Annuity

This is a straight life annuity that starts paying you back as soon as you acquire it. The term “straight life single-premium immediate annuity” refers to the same thing.

#2. Straight-Life Deferred Annuity

This is a straight life annuity with time to develop and accrue interest before paying you back.

#3. Straight Life Variable Annuity

This is a variable annuity that pays out over the course of your life after it has been annuitized.

#4. Straight Life Fixed Indexed Annuity

After it is annuitized, this is a fixed indexed annuity with a life income payout structure.

#5. Straight Life Fixed Annuity

After it is annuitized, this is a fixed annuity with a life income payout structure. Straight Life Annuity with a Single Premium. This is a straight life annuity that you pay for in one flat sum.

#6. Flexible-Premium Straight Life Annuity

This is a straight-life annuity that you fund over time with a series of premium payments.

When Can Married Couples Benefit from a Straight Life Annuity?

Married persons typically choose an annuity arranged in such a way that it can continue to give income to the surviving spouse after the annuity holder dies.

However, if a married person has another source of income, purchasing a straight life annuity may make sense. This enables the annuity holder to optimize retirement income without having to worry about leaving a surviving spouse with nothing.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Straight Life Annuity

So, is it worthwhile to get a straight life annuity policy?

It is dependent on your circumstances. Here are some of the benefits and drawbacks of this form of annuity.


#1. Retirement income that is guaranteed.

They give income during retirement and are guaranteed to endure the rest of the annuitant’s life.

#2. Increased payouts.

Straight life annuities do not pay out to payments. They stop paying when the annuitant dies. As a result, the annuity business can offer bigger payout amounts. Straight life annuities typically provide the highest payouts of any annuity payout option.


#1. There are no death benefits.

If you die before receiving your entire annuity, the insurance company will make no further payments to you. That means you won’t be able to name beneficiaries, and your heirs will receive nothing. This sort of annuity is not suitable for people who require a legacy planning tool.

#2. You might lose money.

Even if you die and your annuity payments are less than the account value, your beneficiaries will receive nothing. That implies you could lose money if you die before you reach break-even.

Straight Life Annuities Alternatives

A joint and survivor annuity can be purchased if you have a partner and want to ensure that you both enjoy lifetime income. You and your spouse can both receive income payments for the rest of your lives if you choose an annuity with a shared payout option.

Another option is to purchase a cash-refund rider, sometimes known as a “cash refund annuity.”

This ensures that the beneficiary receives at least the principal premium paid (minus any payouts).

It guarantees that you will at least break even and will not lose money if you die prematurely. A final option is to select an annuity that provides death benefits to a selected recipient. This manner, you can leave your fortune to friends, relatives, or even a charity.

#1. Cash Refund Rider

A cash refund rider, while not technically an alternative to a straight life annuity, is a way to tweak your annuity so that it can still pay a benefit to a loved one when you die. Payouts are deducted from premiums paid, and any remaining balance is distributed to your beneficiary. It protects you against long-term care costs by ensuring that no premiums are wasted; but, your beneficiary may be subject to taxes on their half of the payout.

#2. Period Certain Annuity

A period certain annuity, like a cash refund rider, may deliver any remaining assets to your beneficiaries if you die unexpectedly. The annuity is provided for a set length of time (typically 10-20 years), during which your beneficiaries can receive benefits. So, if you outlive this term, you will receive no benefit. This can make sense if you’re well into retirement or have certain health concerns that limit your longevity, as your life expectancy may be drastically reduced. It should be noted that beneficiaries may be required to pay taxes on their payouts.

#3. Life Plus Period Certain Annuity

A life plus period certain annuity combines the lifetime payout advantage of a straight life annuity with the option to pass down unused premium payments to a beneficiary provided by a period certain annuity. It is a hybrid product that will pay out out for a set amount of time (typically 10-20 years) or for the annuitant’s entire life, whichever comes first. The tax implications differ.

#4. Joint-to-Survivor Annuity

If your spouse does not have another source of income, a joint-to-survivor annuity pays out until both of you die, regardless of who dies first. This avoids the problem of leaving a spouse without retirement income or financial support after one of you dies. So, it can be an excellent option for couples that do not have financially dependent children, do not care about passing down generational wealth, or have other assets set aside for their beneficiaries.

When you buy a joint-to-survivor annuity, you may be able to structure the payouts so that they are 25-50 percent higher while both you and your spouse are still alive, and then reduce the payout once one of you dies. This contributes to the optimization of your annuity. Furthermore, when the survivor is a husband, some insurance companies may provide greater payouts than when the survivor is another beneficiary connection.

#5. Whole Life Insurance

If transferring wealth from generation to generation or providing for dependents are important financial goals, properly structured whole life insurance through a mutual insurance firm not only provides a guaranteed death benefit, but also a guaranteed rate of return and prospective dividends. These earnings can be used for tax-free retirement income or in a variety of other ways. This sort of permanent life insurance provides the most guarantees and the least volatility of any type of permanent life insurance.

How Should You Compare Straight Life Annuity Policies?

Straight life annuity policies are not all the same. Here are some things to look for while choosing the proper policy:

#1. When reviewing a policy, request a prospectus from an insurance agent.

The prospectus will provide a breakdown of fees, projected earnings, and other pertinent information.

#2. Pose a lot of questions.

This will offer you a sense of the company’s customer service, which is vital when making major adjustments. If the company isn’t pleasant or forthright with information, you can expect troubles with your annuity in the future.

#3. Rates should be compared.

While most insurers’ rates tend to follow those of their competitors, there may be variances that can add up over time.

#4. Examine the company’s lifespan.

While it is uncommon for an insurer to go bankrupt, and you will still be partially protected by state and federal programs, it might be a needless risk and inconvenience for your hard-earned money.

What Is The Difference Between Straight Life Annuity and Annuity Certain?

While a straight life annuity is related to your life expectancy, period certain annuities pay out over a specified length of time regardless of how long you live.


Straight life annuities give you a consistent retirement income until you die. However, if you die before getting all of your funds, they will not offer any additional income to your spouse or beneficiaries. As a result, they are perfect for single people with no heirs.

If you want your spouse, heirs, or another entity to profit from your estate, a straight life annuity may not be the best option. You might want an annuity with death benefit options instead. Still unsure if a straight life annuity is a right choice for you?

Consult with a financial advisor or another specialist. They can assist you in determining whether this type of insurance product is a good fit for your needs.

Straight-Life Annuity FAQ’s

Can you outlive a straight life annuity?

For the rest of his or her life, the annuitant will receive regular payments (typically monthly). This ensures that the annuitant will never run out of money and will not outlive his or her earnings.

What are the 4 types of annuities?

There are four basic types of annuities to meet your needs: immediate fixed, immediate variable, deferred fixed, and deferred variable annuities.

What does straight mean from straight life policy?

The premium structure of a whole life insurance policy is referred to as straight. This word indicates that the plan’s premiums will be flat, which means they will not increase or decrease throughout the course of the policy’s life.

What type of annuity is best for retirement?

As part of a retirement strategy, low-cost fixed or variable annuities are frequently the best option. A variable annuity’s monthly payments change, whereas a fixed annuity pays out a fixed amount each month. Although an annuity is neither covered or insured, it is considered a secure investment.

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