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Are anuities accrued or cash contribution? How do I find out? Can I cash it out?

I'm experiencing financial hardship and am in need of this money even if I have to take reduced rate. Say 70/100. How do I accomplish this?

Mar 09, 2014 by JAMES from Tuskahoma, OK in  |  Flag
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Unfortunately you have not provided enough information for us to answer your question specifically. For example, is the Annuity inside a tax deferred account such as a retirement plan or an IRA or is it outside. If it is inside a company retirement plan you may be able to take a distribution but only if the plan has adopted hardship provisions. If it is in an IRA you can likely liquidate the annuity inside the IRA then take a distribution. In both the case of the retirement plan and IRA the distribution will be taxable and if you are under the age of 59-1/2 you will have an additional 10% IRS penalty. If the annuity is not in a tax deferred account some of the proceeds from the annuity may be taxable and you have the 10% issue to consider as well.

You should receive 100% of the annuity unless you purchased one that has a surrender charge. If so and you have not held the annuity long enough you will also suffer a fee on top of the taxes. Unfortunately, depending on your tax situation, it’s possible that after taxes, penalty and surrender charge you may only get 50 cents on the dollar. So if you have other options for obtaining the cash they should be seriously considered.

If the annuity is inside an employer plan call the HR department and discuss your options. If it’s not in a company retirement plan call the broker who sold it to you.

Comment   |  Flag   |  Mar 09, 2014 from Woodbridge, VA

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If you are receiving fixed term or lifetime payments from an annuity, sorry to say there is no easy way to cash out. You would need to get an offer from a third party to buy your future annuity payments (you can find these operators online) - but you will have to take much less than the annuity is worth. The companies are not obligated to accept such third party offers (but sometimes will). If it was a court ordered annuity (i.e. from a judgment) then any contract sale needs to be approved by the court to be in your best interest.

If on the other hand, this is a "deferred" annuity into which you invested money (variable annuity, indexed annuity, or deferred fixed annuity) then you can access your money. You can typically get full cash value out, but as John points out, there may be tax penalties, taxes due, and surrender charges which can take a whopping chunk depending on your age and the terms of your contract. You would need to call the annuity provider and ask them for details.

Comment   |  Flag   |  Mar 09, 2014 from Bridgewater, NJ

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You need to call the insurance company that is making payments to you, or with whom you have the money invested. That's the surest way to get the facts on what your liquidity/cash out options may be on the annuity you have.

Can't tell from your question for sure which form of annuity you have. If you're already receiving monthly payments from this annuity, then you are pretty much stuck with the ongoing payments. There are third party companies that will cash you out for income streams like this but they're going to give you more like 50 cents on the dollar so I'd steer clear of those.

If you are not receiving monthly payments, then I'd have a lot more to say. But I'll hold off unless you post further details about what kind of annuity you actually own. Hope this helps a little though! :)

Comment   |  Flag   |  Mar 12, 2014 from Georgetown, TX

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