Many retirees who own annuities are not quite sure why they own the annuities.

Researchers at Financial Research Corp., Boston, write about that finding in a summary of a recent survey of 574 retirees with a minimum of $100,000 in investable assets.

About 18% of the survey participants owned variable annuities and 20% owned fixed annuities.

Annuity ownership was more common among older retirees and among widowed retirees, the researchers write.

Annuity holders cited guaranteed death benefits as the number one reason to own an annuity, and access to guaranteed income as the second most important reason.

But 17% of the annuity owners said they did not fully understand the value of their annuities.

“Financial services firms have a lot of room for improvement in the ways they communicate the benefits of these products,” the researchers write.

The researchers note that 57% of the participants have been doing business with their primary financial advisors for 10 years or more, and only 11% have had relationships with their primary advisors for 3 or fewer years.