SunAmerica Expands Lifetime Income Options on Variable Annuities

New options address fears of traditional income sources' diminished capabilities

SunAmerica announced Wednesday two new lifetime income options for retirees. The new benefits were added to the firm's Polaris variable annuities, and were designed with input from financial advisors and investors, according to Steve Maginn, chief distribution officer for SunAmerica, in a press release.

SunAmerica Income Plus 6% Income Option 2 offers retirees the opportunity to begin taking 7% annual withdrawals once they reach age 65. Income option 1 allows participants to make 6% withdrawals at age 45. During the first 12 years, participants with the Income Plus option can lock in the greater of investment gains, or annual income credit of up to 6%.

SunAmerica Income Builder 8% Income Option 2 provides 8% guaranteed growth for up to 12 years. Once participants reach age 65, they may begin withdrawing 6.5% annually. Each year participants do not take a withdrawal in the first 12 years, the Income Builder option locks in investment gains or an income credit of 8%.

Both options include a protected income payment, which provides participants with 4% or 3% of their income base, depending on their age at the time of first withdrawal.

"Our goal is to deliver innovative retirement income solutions that provide more income now, more income later and more total income with increased flexibility for all stages of retirement--elements that are critically important to today's investors," Rob Scheinerman, senior vice president for SunAmerica, said in a statement.

In a survey conducted by Harris Interactive for SunAmerica, almost half of respondents said they were worried traditional sources of guaranteed income would be insufficient in retirement, and 95% said it was important to have other sources of income beyond Social Security or a pension plan. Almost all respondents said guaranteed income was one of the most important features of a retirement investment, and 94% said protecting income from market losses was one of the top features.

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