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Why Should the Annuity Buyer Beware?

THE ARGUMENT AGAINST PENSION ANNUITY RATE TABLES AND RATES CALCULATORS

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You may already have visited other annuity sites and used a rates calculator or consulted a rate table. 7 questions you need to ask...

  1. Were you sure the information was in date?

  2. Were they illustrations rather than individual quotes?

  3. Did you know that annuity brokers may have access to a wider range of retirement annuity possibilities?

  4. Did the tables or calculators take into account all products on the market or just a selection?

  5. Did the website promote particular providers over others as they are paid more commissions by some?

  6. Are the annuity providers able to pay to list their products higher up the tables, or to have their annuities shown in a different way?

  7. Did you know that the annuity rates may change before your application goes through to completion? If you received a quote, was it guaranteed by the website?

PLUS, WERE THE TABLES UPDATED BY MACHINES OR HUMANS?

Did those sites use screen scraping technology that retrieves and transfers information from other programmes?

According to Wikipedia, "Screen scraping is generally considered an ad-hoc, inelegant technique, often used only as a "last resort" when no other mechanism is available. Aside from the higher programming and processing overhead, output displays intended for human consumption often change structure frequently. Humans can cope with this easily, but computer programs will often crash or produce incorrect results."

BUT THE SITE STATED IT HAD BEEN RECENTLY UPDATED

Even if the tables or calculators were 100% up to date and correct, were you aware that the stated annuity rates may have no resemblance whatsoever to the income that you will actually achieve? This is because your annuity may increase due to your circumstances, i.e. your state of health, medication that you may be taking and whether you are a smoker or not. Some annuity providers even base your future income on your postcode or previous occupation.

But let's say you do find a site where everything is up to date and works correctly; do you know at this stage whether you want a level, a fixed rate escalating or an rpi (retail price index) linked escalating annuity? Additionally, have you considered your partner's or dependent's percentage on your death? Have you considered income drawdown? The choices are often bewildering.

(Please note that the information on this page does not represent financial advice. "The argument against annuity rate tables and calculators" is an opinion only and you should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions.)

Tags: Annuity Comparison Sites, Annuity Tables

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