Income to Count On

Why you may need an immediate-fixed annuity when you retire

Even if you've beefed up personal savings in recent years, you're probably not ready to retire until you have bought an immediate-fixed annuity, an insurance contract that will pay you a set amount monthly for the rest of your life. With interest rates up, the guaranteed income you can lock in now appears generous.

Why do you need an immediate-fixed annuity? Traditional pensions are disappearing, and Social Security is on wobbly ground. Those two onetime pillars of retirement finance used to give many retirees enough secure monthly income to cover most of their critical living expenses. But now we have 401(k)s,...

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