Bill,Reallyalldone had a good take on what is involved in getting everything together before making an annuity decision. Your niece may also be eligible for her husband's SocSecurity payments now while holding off on taking her own benefits until she is 66 or 70 depending on which is more. All these decisions should be reviewed with an advisor as discussed above and she should see how much income she would need to live on without counting market-based income (which can change). When I went through the evaluation process, I decided that one or two annuities was right for me, each with a rider that lets me have a Lifetime Income Benefit -- this let the Account Value still go up at times as long as I defer taking turning on the benefit and allowing the guaranteed growth work as well. In any event, with the different types of annuities on the market the purpose would be only if she needs some 'guaranteed' pension-like income (in addition to the SocSec and what other incomes she has) and purchased from a highly rated insurance company. Annuities are designed for either long-term or short-term holds/access -- she should look at a variety of options and think about being diversified a bit. Note that as many said there are fees and the monies used are not really liquid tho' some plans allow withdrawals up to a certain amount with no additional penalities or charges -- the purpose in this case is the "pension" not growth. As someone indicated, if she goes that route she should not put all her funds into annuities anyway -- the writer above suggested a max of 50% of assets in annuities -- and she can use the rest for stock/bond dividend / growth investing. That is my bias as well for balanced peace of mind plus growth (tho' others may have differing opinions and many in the MF community are against annuities due to the fees involved). Much depends on her circumstances and requirements. Hope these opinions helped as well. Best wishes.Regina
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