Traditional pensions have become increasingly rare, but that doesn’t mean you can’t generate your own stream of income at retirement that is guaranteed to last as long as you live.

Annuities are contracts between you and an insurance company that offer future income in exchange for current assets. Depending on the type of annuity you choose, you can earn a fixed rate every year or opt for variable returns by participating in professionally managed portfolios of stocks, bonds and other securities. Either way, your assets grow tax-deferred until you withdraw them or begin taking income payments.

In addition, many variable annuities offer options at additional cost that enable you to earn a guaranteed level of income at retirement, even if your portfolios don’t perform as you’d hoped.

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