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>> For those who want to retire (or otherwise need a steady source of income), are uncomfortable with risk, a fixed annuity can be an appropriate investment. Rather than deal with the ups and downs of the markets, you pay the insurance company to take the risks and keep your checks coming. <<

I agree with this in the general case in terms of an SPIA -- for a *part* of your income stream (I'm not comfortable putting all of my retirement savings into one) and as long as someone understands how it works.

But today is a terrible time to buy one because interest rates are so low that buying (say) $1000 of monthly lifetime income has never been more expensive.

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