Answers to the most frequently asked questions.

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Popular Questions

Retirement Income & Annuities

How is the fixed annuity rate guaranteed?

Any guarantees made by an insurance company are subject to the financial strength of the insurance company and their claims paying ability. Additionally, each state does have its own guaranty fund, but it should not be thought of as a substitute for FDIC insurance, which annuities do not have. State guarantee fund rules vary significantly state-by-state. You can find more state specific information here.

Retirement Income & Annuities

Do I have access to the money in a fixed annuity?

Some fixed annuities (generally those paying the highest rate) do not allow for any withdrawals during the guarantee term without a surrender charge. Surrender charges vary, but can be as high as 9% in year 1 and typically decline by 1% per year (and are 0% at the end of the guaranteed rate period). Other fixed annuities allow for penalty-free withdrawals of interest earned. However, this is sometimes restricted in the first year. Still other fixed annuities allow for withdrawals of up to 10% per year of the beginning balance at the start of the year. At Blueprint Income, we lay out plainly, product by product all charges and options associated with a withdrawal. See them and filter by withdrawal allowances for fixed annuities here.

Personal Pension: Basics

What is the Personal Pension?

The Personal Pension is a monthly retirement paycheck that offers you a guaranteed and consistent stream of income during your retirement years that lasts as long as you do. It’s the next best thing after an employer pension.

Retirement Income & Annuities

What is retirement income?

Retirement income is the “salary” you receive once retired. The traditional sources of retirement income are Social Security and pensions, both of which are guaranteed to last for life. Annuities provide supplemental guaranteed retirement income. In addition, you can generate retirement income (that isn’t guaranteed) by withdrawing from the assets you accumulated over time (think 401(k), brokerage and savings accounts).

Annuity Types

What are the different types of annuities?

What makes an annuity an annuity is its ability to provide guaranteed, lifelong income in retirement. Some annuities exist to do only that, while others have that as just an option. The former (provides income and income only) is called an income annuity. There are three types of income annuities:

  1. Immediate annuity (provides guaranteed, lifelong income starting 1-12 months after purchase)
  2. Longevity annuity (provides guaranteed, lifelong income starting 2-40 years after purchase)
  3. Qualified Longevity Annuity Contract or QLAC (a longevity annuity purchased with IRA funds starting after age 72)

The other type (has the option but not requirement) to provide income is known as a deferred annuity. There are three types of deferred annuities:

  1. Fixed annuity or multi-year guaranteed annuity (like a CD, it provides a guaranteed rate of return for a fixed number of years)
  2. Fixed indexed annuity (investment product that tracks market indices with limits on how much you can gain/lose)
  3. Variable annuity (investment product using mutual funds with limits on how much you can gain/lose)

Blueprint Income offers all types of income annuities, as well as fixed annuities. The Personal Pension is our flagship product that gives you access to all four with subscription-like funding.

Annuity Types

What is an immediate annuity?

An immediate annuity, a.k.a. single premium immediate annuity or SPIA for short, is the simplest annuity product on the market. It’s purchased by people retiring within the next year or already in retirement. For a given amount of money paid upfront today, you receive a set amount of monthly income starting within one year that lasts as long as you live.

Annuity Types

What is a longevity annuity?

A longevity annuity, a.k.a. deferred income annuity or DIA for short, provides lifetime income starting 2-40 years from now. Money is paid upfront, but the income payments you receive are delayed for a period of 2-40 years. Because of the deferral, you will receive higher monthly income as compared to an immediate annuity. You’re also able to add additional payments to the contract over time (known as the Personal Pension). Longevity annuities can be good for people who want income starting years in the future.

Annuity Types

What is a Qualified Longevity Annuity Contract (QLAC)?

A Qualified Longevity Annuity Contract, or QLAC for short, is a special type of longevity annuity. The QLAC is a way to purchase a longevity annuity using your qualified retirement savings (such as from an IRA or 401(k) rollover) but delays the start of that income to after age 72. It’s given this special designation because it overrides the IRS required minimum distribution (RMD) rules.

Annuity Types

What is a fixed annuity?

A fixed annuity, also known as a multi-year guaranteed annuity (MYGA), provides a guaranteed rate of return for a predetermined period of time. It is most similar to a Certificate of Deposit (CD) that is offered by a bank or other-FDIC insured institution, except that it is offered by an insurance company. When compared to CDs, fixed annuities offer higher guaranteed crediting rates over longer time horizons (2-10 years), tax-deferred growth, the ability to annuitize upon maturity, and liquidity via penalty-free partial withdrawals for those 59½ or over.

Retirement Income & Annuities

Why do I need lifelong retirement income?

The average American is living longer, which means that your savings have to last longer too. At the same time, the decline of pensions has made it harder to be financially prepared for retirement. Preparing for retirement with just savings exposes you to market volatility and risks, i.e. your investments might lose value and/or you might live longer than you expect. Guaranteed retirement income — like pensions and annuities — mitigates both of these risks.

Personal Pension: Basics

How is the Personal Pension different than an annuity?

Both the Personal Pension and a traditional income annuity guarantee lifetime retirement income, but there are some key differences between the two.

  1. The Personal Pension is subscription based and accepts small, recurring contributions instead of a large one-time deposit
  2. The average Personal Pension account is opened with $5,000, as compared to a traditional annuity’s average one-time premium of $100,000
  3. Not only are these contributions smaller in size, but you have the flexibility to change how frequently you want to make them
  4. Rather than choosing just one insurance company, the Personal Pension allows you to diversify across different insurance companies based on credit rating and pricing
  5. Because you can contribute over time with the Personal Pension, you also have the ability to benefit from future increases in annuity rates

Personal Pension: Basics

How does the Personal Pension last a lifetime?

Similar to a traditional income annuity, the Personal Pension is a contract between you and an insurance company where the money they promise to pay you is not only guaranteed, but is given to you for the rest of your life. Unlike any market investment, annuities provide longevity protection so you don’t outlive your savings.

Personal Pension: Basics

How much does the Personal Pension cost?

The Personal Pension requires a $5,000 starting contribution. That $5,000 turns into a future guaranteed retirement paycheck at a rate based on your gender, age, and when you want your pension to start. You can continue to contribute voluntarily, with as little as $100 a month. You can change your contribution size and schedule whenever you want.

Personal Pension vs. Other Options

Should I have a Personal Pension in addition to or instead of my 401(k)/IRA?

Your 401(k) and Personal Pension will play complementary roles. Your Personal Pension is meant to cover all of your fixed expenses once you’re retired; think shelter, food, transportation and – let’s be honest – your cell phone. These expenses are life’s basics. In a small number of instances, the money you’ll receive from Social Security is enough to cover these fixed expenses, but in most cases it’s not. Assets in your 401(k) can then be used for discretionary expenses; think vacations, grandkids, or hobbies. Admittedly, this is the fun stuff. We want to be fun. But when it comes to retirement, we also want to be certain.

Personal Pension vs. Other Options

How is the Personal Pension different from a 401(k) or IRA?

401(k) and IRA accounts are ways to invest in the market and accumulate wealth for retirement. The amount you’ll have at retirement depends on what you put in and how the market performs (i.e. its cumulative gains and losses). At retirement, you’ll start spending the money you saved, hopefully with the right budgeting so you don’t run out.

A Personal Pension, on the other hand,  generates an infinite amount of guaranteed monthly income that lasts as long as you do. Instead of being invested in the market, the Personal Pension is a portfolio of income annuities guaranteed by life insurance companies. It’s a way to prepare for retirement without worrying about market risk or how long you’ll live.

Personal Pension: Signing Up

How do I know if the Personal Pension is a good fit for me?

The Personal Pension may be right for you if:

  1. You are more than 5 years from retirement,
  2. You want a guarantee for a portion of your retirement savings,
  3. You don’t currently have a traditional employer pension – or if you do have one, it’s not large enough, and
  4. You are healthy and plan on living a long life.

Personal Pension: Signing Up

What is the enrollment process?

Our 6-part online enrollment takes approximately 10 minutes to fill out. The information collected is only provided to the insurance companies backing your Personal Pension and is 100% confidential. After submitting the online enrollment, a member of our team will follow up with the official insurance company paperwork for you to sign.


We recommend having the following information available to complete your application:

  1. Personal information, including your address, phone number, SSN, place of birth;
  2. Financial information, including your income, expenses, assets, debt, and any existing life insurance or annuities you own;
  3. Driver’s license; and
  4. Bank account or IRA information.

Personal Pension: Signing Up

Where does the money come from to fund my Personal Pension?

During the enrollment process you will choose the source of funds for your Personal Pension. Your options include: savings, checking, or brokerage accounts, as well as your Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, or Rollover 401(k) accounts. Using post-tax money will create a standard non-qualified Personal Pension. Using pre-tax money will create a qualified Personal Pension. Please refer to the tax section below for how this can affect your future income payments.

Personal Pension: Signing Up

How does my money get transferred to the insurance company?

The paperwork we provide the insurance company includes a “request for transfer” form. This form is then sent from the insurance company to the financial institution holding your money, which initiates a transfer from your account to the insurance company. This process takes 2-4 weeks.

In addition, if you’re planning future, automated contributions, your paperwork will include an authorization form to make those contributions happen automatically.

Personal Pension: How It Works

How much money do I need to contribute after my first contribution?

After your starting contribution you can contribute as little as $100 on a flexible schedule that suits your needs.   

Personal Pension: How It Works

Can I change my contribution schedule?

Yes, you can modify or cancel any scheduled contribution 2 or more weeks in advance.

Personal Pension: How It Works

How can I see the current value of my Personal Pension?

Your Dashboard will show your saving progress. It will also show your upcoming contribution schedule.

Personal Pension: How It Works

Can I withdraw money from my Personal Pension?

You won’t be able to make withdrawals from your Personal Pension like you would with a savings account. In that way, it’s more like a pension. Once you begin receiving income payments, some insurance companies will offer some level of extra liquidity, which is most commonly in the form of an option to accelerate upcoming income payments.

Personal Pension: How It Works

What are the fees for a Personal Pension?

There are no upfront or ongoing fees for the Personal Pension. All of the expenses incurred by the insurance company, including the distribution fee paid to us, are reflected in the size of the retirement paycheck they can offer. There are no future or recurring fees associated with your account.

Personal Pension: Customization

Can I include my spouse in my Personal Pension?

Yes! When you customize your Personal Pension, you can choose to for it to cover both you and your spouse. That means that you’ll receive income payments as long as either of you are alive. You also have the option to reduce the income generated upon the passing of the first spouse, which will allow for more income while both spouse are alive.

Personal Pension: Taxes

How do taxes work for the Personal Pension?

There are three kinds of Personal Pensions: a Traditional IRA Personal Pension, a Roth IRA Personal Pension, and a standard (non-qualified) Personal Pension. They differ in where the money you use to fund your Personal Pension comes from and the the taxes you pay once you start receiving your monthly paycheck.

Personal Pension: Taxes

Should I purchase my Personal Pension with pre-tax or post-tax money?

If you have an existing IRA or 401(k) Rollover that you would like to transfer to something guaranteed, then it makes sense to fund it with that pre-tax money. If you haven’t maxed out your IRA for the year, then you can apply those limits to your Personal Pension and fund it pre-tax. Otherwise, if you want to save even more than what’s allowed pre-tax, then the Personal Pension is a great post-tax retirement plan.

Personal Pension: Rates

What is the return on a Personal Pension?

Your Personal Pension is not a typical investment. It’s a member of the fixed income family, like bonds, but does not have a maturity date. Instead, your Personal Pension will generate income for as long as you’re alive. Living until your life expectancy will generally produce a return comparable to a long-term A-rated bond. The longer you live, the higher your effective return will be, and vice versa.

Personal Pension: Rates

How do interest rates impact the Personal Pension?

When you contribute to your Personal Pension you are giving the insurance companies small increments of money that they invest on your behalf. Because the insurance companies are using your money to invest, the interest rate at the time of this transaction determines the insurance company’s cost of borrowing. The higher the interest rate at the time, the higher the return you receive for giving the insurance company money.

Personal Pension: Rates

Should I wait to purchase the Personal Pension if I think interest rates are going up?

With the Personal Pension you start small and make contributions over time. For every contribution you make, your Personal Pension purchases you a small income annuity at the best rates available. This way, you can benefit from higher rates starting at a younger age and still have the ability to capture rate increases with future contributions. At the end, your Personal Pension provides you a diversified portfolio of income annuities that will generate guaranteed, lifelong income.