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Multi-Year Guarantee Annuities (MYGAs) are the annuity industry’s version of a CD (Certificate of Deposit).
Both MYGAs and CDs allow you to contractually lock in a specific annual interest rate for a duration of time you choose at the time of application. MYGAs can be as short term as 2 years and you can lock them in for as long as 20 years. MYGAs have no annual fees, no moving parts, and provide full principal protection while guaranteeing an annual interest rate.
So for all of the misinformed people that say “I Hate All Annuities,” I’m sure they don’t hate CDs...so it’s impossible to hate MYGAs....and annuities as a whole for that matter. If you say that you “Hate All Annuities,” that’s like saying you hate all restaurants or all shoes. It’s ridiculous.
*No annual fees
*Contractually guaranteed annual interest rate
*Rates are typically higher than CDs
*Interest compounds tax-deferred in a non-IRA account
*Can be purchased inside of an IRA or non-IRA account
*Easy to understand
*No moving parts
*No market attachments
*Full principal protection
*Can be transferred to another MYGA without tax consequences
The primary difference between a MYGA (i.e. annuity contract) and a CD is that in a non-IRA (i.e. non-qualified) account, the MYGA interest grows tax-deferred with no tax penalty on the interest earned. With CDs in a non-IRA account, you have to pay taxes annually on that guaranteed interest rate that is credited. This tax-deferral benefit doesn’t make MYGAs better than CDs, it’s just the primary contractual difference between the two strategies. MYGAs can also be transferred from one MYGA to another in a non-IRA account, without creating any tax consequences. In other words, that annuity to annuity transfer would be a non-taxable event using the IRS approved 1035 exchange rule. MYGAs inside of an IRA can also be transferred via a non-taxable event as well. That would be an IRA to IRA transfer, and would not trigger any taxes.
After the surrender charge period ends, you can also transfer a MYGA to another type of annuity as well. For example, you can transfer the full MYGA proceeds to a SPIA (Single Premium Immediate Annuity) if you need income to start now. Another example would be to transfer your MYGA to a DIA (Deferred Income Annuity) if you need income guarantees to start at a future date. In each case, the initial cost basis would transfer to the receiving annuity strategy...and that transfer would be a non-taxable event as well.
The other difference between MYGAs and CDs is the backing or insurance behind the product. MYGAs are fixed annuities that are issued by life insurance companies and regulated at the state level. Each state has its own State Guaranty Fund that backs MYGAs to a specific dollar amount. Each state has different coverage, so go to www.nolhga.com to check your specific state of residence coverage. CDs are FDIC insured. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is superior coverage, in my opinion, when compared to State Guaranty Funds.
MYGAs and CDs can work well together to create a fixed rate ladder strategy. Historically, we have found that MYGAs provide higher rates than CDs if the contracted term is 3 years or more. For less than 3 year time periods, CDs typically provide the highest annual rates. With most MYGAs, you can choose to peel off the interest penalty-free. Peeling off the interest is not considered “partial withdrawals” because the principal is never touched. If you do decide to dip into the principal, there will be surrender charges during the guarantee period. This interest only strategy can be part of your retirement income plan, in combination with Social Security, pensions, etc.
An example of a combination MYGA and CD ladder would be if you had $500,000 to put into fixed rates with full principal protection, and your goal is locking in the highest contractual yield possible for each laddered duration.
1 Year CD @ $100,000
2 Year CD @ $100,000
3 Year MYGA @ $100,000
4 Year MYGA @ $100,000
5 Year MYGA @ $100,000
This specific fixed-rate ladder would have money coming due and maturing after year one, and each year after that. The hope would be to take that maturing money and lock in a higher rate at that time to continue the ladder. It’s important to point out that this is just one ladder example, and you can customize your own ladder to achieve your specific contractual goals.
MYGAs can be set up with one owner, or with joint ownership. Also, the listed beneficiaries on the policy can be changed by the owner(s) at any time as long as they are alive. In other words, your policy beneficiaries are revocable...not irrevocable. That’s important if your beneficiary listings need to be changed or updated.
If you are a current CD buyer, then you need to consider adding MYGAs to your principal protected fixed-rate portfolio. It’s important to consider the MYGA company’s claims-paying ability before making your final decision. On our site, we offer a free download of a monthly CANNEX report that shows all 4 rating services (A.M. Best, Moody’s, S&P, Fitch) and an easy to understand 1 to 100 score for each life insurance company (i.e. MYGA carrier) in the United States.
Before you purchase a MYGA, you need to read my MYGA Owner’s Manual and speak with me personally before you make a decision. We have a live feed of the best MYGA rates that you can look at and shop around without having to sign up. Most MYGAs allow you to peel off the interest penalty-free, but not ALL do. On our live feed, we will show you the MYGA carriers that allow or don’t allow interest to be taken out. I encourage you to take a look at the best rates and terms for your state of residence and then schedule a call with Stan The Annuity Man to have a full conversation about MYGAs.
There’s never an urgency to buy a MYGA (or any annuity for that matter), the only urgency is to fully understand the benefits and limitations of the MYGA you are specifically considering.