Understanding Risks & Considerations Associated with Purchasing Annuities in Canada Copy

Annuities are a popular retirement income option in Canada, offering individuals the ability to receive a steady, guaranteed stream of income for a specified period or for their entire life. While annuities provide stability and peace of mind, it is essential to understand the associated risks and considerations before purchasing an annuity. In this blog post, we will explore the different potential risks, factors to consider and key decision-making points for those who are interested in purchasing an annuity product in Canada.

Annuities: A Brief Overview

An annuity is a financial product sold by life insurance companies that offers a guaranteed income stream in exchange for a lump-sum payment. The income payments can be fixed or indexed every year, depending on the type of annuity chosen. While annuities provide a sense of security by ensuring a guaranteed, predictable income, it’s crucial to understand the risks involved to make an informed decision.

The Risks of Purchasing Annuities

Longevity Risk:

One significant risk associated with annuities is longevity risk—the risk of outliving the income received from the annuity. A term certain annuity will only provide payments for a period of time whereas a life annuity will provide payments for your entire life. It is crucial to consider factors such as life expectancy, health, and lifestyle when determining the length of the annuity term or whether to choose a term certain annuity or life annuity.

Inflation Risk:

Inflation risk refers to the potential erosion of purchasing power over time. Annuities with a fixed payment, which offers a set payment amount, will not keep pace with inflation. To mitigate this risk, individuals can opt for an indexed annuity or consider other investment strategies alongside their annuity.

Interest Rate Risk:

Annuity payouts are influenced by prevailing interest rates at the time of purchase. When interest rates are low, annuity payments may be comparatively smaller. Conversely, rising interest rates can impact the attractiveness of annuity payments. It is important to assess the interest rate environment before committing to an annuity. The current environment with rising interest rates is making annuities a much more attractive option than they were in the past.

Liquidity Risk:

Once an annuity is purchased, the funds are transferred to the insurance company, limiting liquidity. In case of emergencies or unexpected expenses, you will need to rely on the income that you are receiving from the annuity each month or alternative investments that you may have.

Individuals should evaluate their liquidity needs before investing a significant portion of their assets in an annuity. Our advisors can help you with determining how much of your portfolio should be invested in an annuity.

Credit Risk:

Annuities are backed by the insurance company issuing them. It is important to assess the financial strength and reputation of the annuity provider to minimize credit risk. Regulatory bodies like the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) in Canada can provide information on insurers’ solvency and stability. Assuris also provides protection for annuities in the event of insolvency by the insurance company. Assuris provides 100% of insurance protection on annuity payments up to $5,000 per month or 90% of the monthly payment, whichever is greater. These numbers were increased in 2023.

Considerations Before Purchasing Annuities

Financial Goals and Objectives:

Aligning annuity purchases with specific financial goals is crucial. Determine whether a guaranteed income stream aligns with your retirement objectives, considering factors such as income needs, legacy planning, and risk tolerance.

Retirement Lifestyle and Income Needs:

Evaluate your desired retirement lifestyle and estimated income requirements. Annuities can provide a stable income stream, but it’s important to assess whether the predetermined payments meet your financial needs.

Health and Longevity Factors:

Health and life expectancy play a vital role in determining the type and duration of annuities. If you have a family history of longevity or good health, a life annuity may be suitable. However, if health issues are a concern, alternative options or riders providing for enhanced payments in case of medical conditions may be worth considering. You may also want to consider an impaired annuity which provides a higher annuity payment for those with health conditions that qualify by the insurance provider.

Annuity Types and Options:

Understanding the different types of annuities, such as life annuities and term-certain annuities is essential. Evaluate the pros and cons of each type, considering factors like flexibility, inheritability, and potential for investment growth. There are also a number of options riders which can be added to an annuity which includes guarantee periods, indexing, return of premium and more.

Evaluating Annuity Providers

Financial Strength and Reputation:

Choose annuity providers with a strong financial track record and positive reputation. Research the insurer’s ratings and reviews from reputable sources to ensure their ability to meet their financial obligations.

Product Flexibility and Customization:

Some annuity providers offer customizable features, such as inflation protection, survivor benefits, or variable payment options. Assess whether the annuity’s features align with your specific needs and objectives.

Fees and Expenses:

Understand the fee structure associated with annuities, including sales charges, administrative fees, and annual expenses. Compare the payouts offered from each insurance company and evaluate the impact on your overall returns.

Guarantees and Riders:

Explore any additional guarantees or riders available with the annuity, such as a guaranteed minimum income benefit or a return of premium rider. These can enhance the annuity’s benefits and provide additional protection.

The Role of Professional Advice

Seeking guidance from a knowledgeable financial advisor or insurance professional is highly recommended when considering annuities. At Life Annuities.com, we can assess your individual circumstances, provide personalized recommendations, and help you navigate the complexities associated with annuities.


Purchasing an annuity in Canada can be an effective strategy for securing a guaranteed income stream during retirement. However, it is crucial to understand the risks and considerations involved. By evaluating longevity risk, inflation risk, interest rate risk, liquidity risk, and credit risk, individuals can make informed decisions when choosing an annuity.

Considering personal financial goals, retirement lifestyle, health factors, annuity types, and evaluating annuity providers are essential steps in the decision-making process. Lastly, seeking professional advice from Life Annuities.com can provide valuable insights and ensure that annuity purchases align with your unique needs and objectives.

Contact us today to learn more.