When it comes to crafting a proper retirement plan, there’s no playing around — and pre-retirees who are looking for the most appropriate financial tool to do so have a wide range of annuity options to help.

Valerie Brown, president of ING’s retail annuity sales division, says that both fixed and variable annuity products have a suitable place in certain customers’ plans, but says that

“Some product is better than other, no matter the carrier, so it’s important to work with an advisor who has integrity and is someone you trust,” Brown says. “All consumers should do some homework. The decision on what to purchase really depends on their need — do they want something that’s totally fixed, or do they feel that the stock market will bring them better rewards?”

Brown says that decision also depends on how much confidence, if any, consumers feel about protecting their long-term well-being through once-stable tools such as Social Security and company pensions.

“Most consumers no longer have any guaranteed income at retirement, and they have to ask themselves how much they feel like they can count on Social Security. To that end, fixed annuities tend to offer pretty good risk aversion — those who buy them tend to be the kind of people who like tools such as CDs.”

On the other hand, consumers who’d like the opportunity to see their money do a bit more for them have found variable annuity products a more enticing option. “It’s a way of getting them into the market but still want some security, which is a different mindset. And with new innovations in VA products, they’re able to get an even better sense of security of what increases in income they can come to expect.”