EQUITY INDEX ANNUITIES –
The reason why EIAs are sometimes confusing to understand is because it may be hard to understand how the interest is credited. Index Annuities credit interest based upon an index such as the S&P 500. When the index goes up, the annuity shares in the gains but none of the market losses. There are a number of different crediting methods available and I will go over the most popular.
This is by far the most popular form of indexing method. The reason is very simple. Every year the index credits interest and you get to start over from a new start point. Your gains from previous years are locked in and if the market goes down one year, you will receive a $0 on your statement. Every year you get a “fresh start.”
Point to Point
A point to point crediting method will reset every year and at the beginning of the year the insurance company will declare and index cap. The carrier may declare a cap of 6% on the S&P 500 and it will reset every 12 months on your policy anniversary date.
This form of crediting method takes a point every single month and divides the index by 12 to credit interest. If your policy issued on January 1st, the 1st of every month the company will look at where the S&P index is on that day and at the end of the year the company will add or subtract the interest and divide that number by 12 months to give you monthly average.
Point to Point Monthly Cap
During each policy year this method could give you the most interest. A monthly interest cap may be declared at 2-3%. If the market goes up 5% one month, the most you will receive for that month is 2 or 3 %. You are capped each month. You could receive up to 24 to 36% if the market went up every single month. The downside is this. You are not capped on the monthly downside. If the market goes down 10% in any given month, this could wipe out all previous months gains within that policy year. This method works great when the market is goes up slow and steady month after month. This method is terrible is an up and own market.