There is no one-size-fits-all approach to annuities, but this guide breaks down the needs of consumers and discusses the ways different types of annuities can meet them. For example, consumers who are looking for a steady income stream may benefit most from an immediate annuity, while those who want to receive a guaranteed rate of return and to preserve their principal are probably a good match for a variable deferred annuity, John Olsen and Michael Kitces write. This article also discusses income-tax deferral and guaranteed payments in case of death.

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