Types of Investments
The following pages describe various types of investments including annuities, bonds,cds, mutal and money market funds and more.
An annuity is a contract between you and an insurance company that requires the insurer to make payments to you, either immediately or in the future. You buy an annuity by making either a single payment or a series of payments. Similarly, your payout may come either as one lump-sum payment or as a series of payments over time. Annuities can help manage income during retirement by providing
- Periodic payments for a specific amount of time. This may be for the rest of your life, or the life of your spouse or another person.
- Death benefits. If you die before you start receiving payments, the person you name as your beneficiary receives a specific payment.
- Tax-deferred growth. You pay no taxes on the income and investment gains from your annuity until you withdraw the money.
The three basic types of annuities are:
- Fixed annuity. The insurance company promises you a minimum rate of interest and a fixed amount of periodic payments. Fixed annuities are regulated by state insurance commissioners.
- Variable annuity. The insurance company allows you to direct your annuity payments to different investment options, usually mutual funds. Your payout will vary depending on how much you put in, the rate of return on your investments, and expenses.
- Indexed annuity. This annuity combines features of securities and insurance products. The insurance company credits you with a return that is based on a stock market index, such as the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.
A bond is a debt security, similar to an IOU. Borrowers issue bonds to raise money from investors willing to lend them money for a certain amount of time.
When you buy a bond, you are lending to the issuer, which may be a government, municipality, or corporation. In return, the issuer promises to pay you a specified rate of interest during the life of the bond and to repay the principal, also known as face value or par value of the bond, when it “matures,” or comes due after a set period of time. Investors buy bonds because:
- They provide a predictable income stream. Typically, bonds pay interest twice a year.
- If the bonds are held to maturity, bondholders get back the entire principal, so bonds are a way to preserve capital while investing.
- Bonds can help offset exposure to more volatile stock holdings.
Additional information can be found at investor.gov