Are Annuity Rates on the Rise?

Annuities may be starting to improve again. Why is this relevant to you? Well, if you plan to retire you would be wise to consider an annuity as an option for all or part of your retirement income. If you are already retired and using a Drawdown arrangement, improvement in rates may also be worth your attention.

New Rates

I recently received an email from one of the UKs largest insurance companies advising of change to their annuity rates. In general rates have begun to increase upwards. As an example, a 65 year-old with the maximum single life annuity from £100,000 would now receive £4,944 a year rather than £4,896 a year, an increase of about 1%.

How long is a lifetime of income?

Anyone wanting to build in a spouse’s pension of 50% (i.e. once the “owner” (annuitant) of the annuity dies, income would reduce to 50% for the remainder of the spouse’s life) can expect the same fund to buy an annuity of £4,420 up from £4,375. These are for level annuities (the income remains the same). You could build in a degree of inflation-linking, doing so would reduce the initial income for a joint life annuity £2,818 a year increasing by 3% each year.

The crossover point

The alarming detail is that it would take 17 years (in my example) for the inflation (rising) annuity to match the annual income of the level annuity, at which point it continues to pay out more each year (i.e. a 65-year-old would be 82). It takes a total of 30 years before the total income paid out would exceed that of the level annuity. Remember that this is for someone that started their annuity at age 65.

In truth, there are better annuity rates out in the market. You should also note that if you have any form of health problems, or smoke, you would probably qualify for an enhanced annuity. However most people would look at a pot of £100,000 and think an income of £4,420 is not terribly much and any “bells and whistles” added just make it worse. Hence pension freedoms and the abolition of the requirement to buy an annuity.

However, despite appearances annuities offer a guaranteed lifetime income, no other alternative really does that, but instead relies upon investment returns, which obviously means risk. Since pension freedoms (April 2015) many people have chosen not to buy an annuity and have taken their income from a drawdown pension instead. Unfortunately, according to recent research, many will run their pension pot dry within 12 years. Most people take too much it would seem, or at least an unsustainable amount. Almost everyone under-estimates their life expectancy, which is a crucial discussion to have and one that needs regular reassessment.

So now you know that:

  • There are different and better (higher) annuities available in the market
  • Health issues might provide a better (enhanced) annuity
  • Drawdown pensions carry risk
  • Life expectancy is a key factor
  • Most people are expected to run out of money
  • Review, review, review – especially if you have a Drawdown pension

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email