Do you want principal protection?
If you desire to have any part of your monies protected against market loss, then you need an annuity. Most people desire some portion of their portfolio protected from market risk. Certain types of annuities can provide principal protection.
Do you want income for life?
If you need guaranteed income you can’t outlive, then you need an annuity. People, who understand Social Security as a lifetime annuity, understand the need to have a lifetime annuity at the very least to pay for the living expenses that Social Security income doesn’t cover. Many types of annuities can provide income for life.
Do you want to leave a legacy?
If you want to create a legacy for family or charities, you need an annuity. (It’s possible to fund a legacy with life insurance, but not everyone is healthy enough to secure coverage.) Many people want to give to family and friends and enable charities to go on into perpetuity after they’re gone. Some annuities can provide income for others over their lifetime.
Do you need long term or confinement care?
If you foresee needing long-term care in your future, you need an annuity. (It’s possible to fund long term care with a stand-alone long-term care policy if you can pass the health requirements and pay the premium.) A few annuities have long-term care benefits embedded in the policy or charge for a long-term care rider.
If you answer no to all of these questions, don’t purchase an annuity. And if you purchase an annuity, buy it on the basis of the contractual guarantees and not on predictions of performance based on “back testing” or any past results. Annuities can be a powerful financial product if they are purchased for the right reasons.