What is the “Life Only” Option on Annuities?

Choosing the “Life Only” option will turn your annuity balance into income that will be paid only to you, and will last only as long as you live.

Annuities can be turned into income streams that are guaranteed to either remain the same or to increase based on an inflation-adjustment rider. The payout rate will be determined based on the length of the annuitant’s life expectancy, the amount being converted to income, whether annual increases are part of the contract, and what provisions are made for beneficiaries or joint annuitants.

In a Life Only option, the payout will be the highest possible, because the company is not obligated to pay anything to beneficiaries at all.

We do not recommend this unless you are a complete Scrooge with no love for anyone.

If you buy yourself a lifetime income annuity with a Life Only income option, this will usually be done with a substantial sum of money, such as $100,000, and if you die shortly after the annuity income starts, the company gets to keep all of the remaining balance.

They may be willing to pay you a higher rate for this option, but the payment is only slightly higher than it would be otherwise, such as with a Life with Cash Refund option.

What is the “Life with Period Certain” Option?
What is the “Joint and Survivor” Option?