There are many different ways to think about retirement, and your dreams may not appear on anyone’s bucket list but your own. No matter how you envision retirement, having the freedom to live life your way will depend, at least in part, on having a secure source of reliable income. Annuities are one of the few sources of retirement income that can guarantee1 income for life.

How do annuities work?

It really depends on the annuity. Some are designed to help you accumulate savings for long-term goals like retirement. Other annuities focus on providing a guaranteed income stream that begins either immediately or in the future.

Do I need an annuity?

A longer lifespan can translate into a longer retirement, so your savings may have to go further and last longer. A deferred annuity can help you to accumulate assets more tax efficiently and, when the time is right, convert them into income you can’t outlive.

Product Type

Key Considerations


Death Benefit Protection

Lifetime Income Option(s)

Deferred Fixed Annuity

  • Guaranteed fixed interest rate
  • Tax-deferred2 growth
  • Principal protection

Tax-deferred accumulation

Variable Annuity

  • Tax-deferred2 growth potential
  • Range of investment choices
  • Potential for loss in value

Tax-deferred accumulation


Fixed Index Annuity

  • Interest is credited to an index account based in part on the performance of an external index
  • Tax-deferred growth
  • Market loss protection

Tax-deferred growth or, if a guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit is elected, meeting predictable income goals.

Immediate Income Annuity

  • Guaranteed income begins within 13 months of contract issue
  • Single purchase payment
  • Limited liquidity

Immediate income needs

Depends upon annuity option chosen

Deferred Income Annuity (DIA)

  • Flexible purchase payments
  • Guaranteed income generally begins no earlier than 13 months after contract issue
  • No liquidity (limited exceptions on some products)

Future income needs

Most DIA options provide for a return of purchase payment(s) if you die before income payments begin. After annuity income payments begin, any death benefit payable will be based on the annuity option you have chosen.


Social Security and you

When it comes to Social Security, your age,
marital status, health, and financial needs are
all important.

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The Alliance for Lifetime Income

MassMutual has partnered with the Alliance for Lifetime Income to raise awareness about the importance of guaranteed lifetime income when it comes to retirement.

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How annuities work

Learn the differences between deferred fixed, variable, and income annuities and how they can work for you. Contact a MassMutual Financial Professional today.

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Why MassMutual?

About Us

1Guarantees are based on the claims paying ability of the issuing company.

2There is no additional tax-deferral provided when an annuity contract is used to fund a tax-qualified retirement plan. Investors should only buy an annuity contract for the annuity’s additional features, such as lifetime income payments and/or death benefit protection.

Taxable withdrawals are subject to ordinary income tax and, if made prior to age 59 ½, may be subject to an additional 10% federal income tax.

The information provided is not written or intended as specific tax or legal advice. MassMutual, its employees and representatives are not authorized to give tax or legal advice. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel.

Securities offered through registered representatives of MML Investors Services, LLC (MMLIS), Member SIPC®(, or a broker-dealer that has a selling agreement with MML Distributors, LLC (MMLD), Member SIPC®, or MML Strategic Distributors, LLC (MSD). MMLIS, MMLD, and MSD are subsidiaries of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001, Members FINRA (

Insurance products issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) (Springfield, MA 01111-0001) and its subsidiaries, C.M. Life Insurance Company and MML Bay State Life Insurance Company (Enfield, CT 06082).