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Why now is a good time to buy an annuity

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Annuities are ‘back on the table’ after two years of rock bottom rates, according to Hargreaves Lansdown.

Rates on annuities – insurance policies that pay a guaranteed annual income for life in exchange for some or all your pension pot – have risen by 19% since bottoming out on 15 September 2016, shortly after the EU referendum.

When rates were at their lowest, a 65 year old with a £100,000 pension could buy a non-increasing annuity income of £4,495 but today the same pension pot would buy an income of £5,431.

Investment in the UK stock market is up 17% in the same period, with the average managed pension fund up 15%.

Nathan Long, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “There’s a lot of nervousness among investors, thanks to economic uncertainties, a 10 year stock market bull run which must come to an end one day and of course Brexit anxiety.

“Pension investors may take the opportunity to de-risk ahead of potentially stormy waters by using a tranche of their pension to buy an annuity.

“The optimum annuity price point for most providers is around £40,000 to £60,000 which may appeal to those currently using income drawdown.”

Annuity sales plummeted after the introduction of pension freedom rules in 2015, which allow anyone 55 and over to withdraw their entire pension pot as a lump sum.

There are now just six annuity providers in the market: Just, Aviva, Legal & General, Hodge Lifetime, Canada Life and Scottish Widows. People considering an annuity are advised to shop around to make sure they get the best deal for their circumstances.

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