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What you should know:

  1. Fixed, Equity-Index linked, or Variable - Your savings are invested in Bonds or Indexes. Variable annuities provide you with Mutual funds choices.

  2. Interest rate, Participation rate, Guaranteed Minimums, and Bonuses - Fixed annuities: you receive a return on your savings based on an interest rate. Equity-Index linked: a choice of Indexes with participation (percentage) rates, minimums and caps (maximum rate) determines your return. Equity-Index linked annuities may also have Floors, Resets as well as Minimum Guaranteed Rates - to protect your savings against downside losses. Bonuses are "free" money that you are "given" upfront. Variable annuities provide you with Mutual funds choices.

  3. Immediate or Deferred, and Term - Immediate annuities start distributions (withdrawals) within a year of the issue (purchase) date and are funded once. Deferred Annuities start withdrawals more than a year from the purchase date and are funded once or with multiple contributions. The Term or "walkaway period" is the length of the annuity contract.

  4. Withdrawals, Loans, Payment options (distributions), and Medical hardships/Death Benefits - Withdrawals and Loan provisions allow you to take distributions during the contract. Income Payments (distributions) choices may be taken at the end of the contract. Your distributions can be over your lifetime (based on actuarial tables), over a certain period of time (based on a dollar amount, percentages, or time periods) and special provisions for Medical hardships/death may be included.

  5. Surrender Charges and Fees - Surrender charges are usually assessed if you forfeit the contract before the term (walkaway) period and/or tax fees for distributions before age 59 1/2 (similar to other IRS Retirement plans). Other fees may impact your contract.

  6. Brand Names - Many Insurance companies underwrite annuities. What makes choosing the right annuity difficult is that they are constantly changing. Only part of an annuity contract is GUARANTEED the rest is "subject to change". Insurance companies introduce/reconfigure NEW contracts monthly. Less than 1 out of 20 annuities (currently offered for sale) may be right for you.

James C. Brandon CA# 0C73572 JCB Capital Performance 1839 Ygnacio Valley Rd. #123 Walnut Creek CA 94598

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Annuities are savings plans with tax-deferred growth. Your money is invested in one of three styles: Fixed rate, Equity-index linked, or Variable (investment choices). You choose when your distributions/annuitization/retirement date begins. You choose from different payment options.

Fixed Annuities are a "safe" investment underwritten by Insurance companies - with incorporated downside insurance protection. Similar to Insurance policies the beneficiaries of Annuities avoid probate.