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One thing to consider is that it doesn't have to be "buy an annuity" versus "do something else." You can do both, which is what I did earlier this year.

As a retired professor, I had 40 years of contributions compounding in TIAA. After studying all the plusses and minuses, I decided to use about a third of it to buy a plain vanilla "single premium immediate annuity" (SPIA) with a 15 year payout guarantee to the last survivor (wife or myself), or to my daughter should we both depart before then. Together with our Social Security, this provides an adequate guaranteed annual income for life, even if we both end up incapacitated. (We're both in excellent health, but you never know.)

It's basically longevity insurance, and I bought it for that purpose (like any other kind of insurance). TIAA is as rock solid as anything can be in this world.

As others have noted, every extra bell or whistle on an annuity costs you, so keep it simple. Same goes for the "variable" annuities. I wasn't buying this as an investment vehicle, and so I didn't want or need that "feature."

With the other two-thirds (plus my non-TIAA investments), we can do what we want ... which is exactly what we're doing.
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