Americans are concerned about the cost and complexity of annuity products, according to a study by Greenwald & Associates. At the same time, they want many of the benefits those products offer.

The study’s respondents balked at annuities because they have difficulty determining how much a guaranteed lifetime income stream is worth, said the firm’s third annual Guaranteed Lifetime Income Study.

One-in-four respondents complained that annuities come with too many terms and commissions; 23 percent argued that they cost too much; and 22 percent claimed that annuities aren’t always capable of paying back all the money they cost to purchase.

Another 21 percent of respondents complained that annuities are difficult to understand.

Advisors may not be recommending annuities for that very reason. While most respondents (68 percent) said their advisor has discussed retirement income strategies with them, just 28 percent of the respondents said that an annuity was discussed as part of an income strategy.

Potentially tighter regulations, combined with greater consumer awareness, may take a toll on annuity sales as the U.S. Department of Labor considers a more stringent fiducairy standard for investment recommendations within retirement accounts.

Yet Americans seem to desire the advantages an annuity can bring. According to the survey, 61 percent of Americans between the ages of 55 and 75 value having guaranteed lifetime income to supplement their Social Security benefits.

Similarly, 60 percent of the respondents believed that financial advisors had a responsibility to present clients with products that offer lifetime income as a benefit.

Respondents were also interested in creating strategies to protect their investment portfolios from significant losses, according to Greenwald & Associates, a Washington, D.C.-based market research company.

Only one-in-three respondents (34 percent) were familiar with annuities in general, and just 53 percent of the respondents who owned an annuity reported having a high familiarity of the products.

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