Can an annuity provide for a spouse who outlives you?

As you’re learning about options for your retirement, know that New York Life Insurance and Annuity Corporation is here to help.


Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (ET), Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (ET)

For a lot of folks looking to stretch their retirement savings, a fixed deferred income annuity is a good way to lock in a future guaranteed stream of income that continues for as long as they live. But when the annuity holder passes away, the income stops. If you and your spouse want to ensure that the surviving spouse will have a fixed income for life, there are a couple of options to consider.

Option 1: Buy a joint life annuity

A fixed joint life annuity is a one way to ensure that your spouse’s income remains steady even after you pass on. This type of policy pays a fixed income for as long as one of the spouses is alive. Here are some useful facts about joint life annuities:

  • They ensure that when one spouse passes away, income payments will automatically continue for life to the surviving spouse.
  • Most single life annuities offer a joint life option.
  • The monthly income from a joint life annuity will sometimes be lower because it covers income payments guaranteed to continue for two people’s lifetimes.

Option 2: Buy a separate annuity for each of you

Another option is for you and your spouse to each have your own fixed annuity. Buying two separate single life annuities means that two guaranteed fixed income checks will come into the household each month. Here’s what you can expect if you choose this option:

  • Both spouses have the peace of mind that comes from knowing each have a guaranteed income for life.
  • The total monthly income from two annuities may be higher than the amount from a joint life annuity.
  • When one spouse dies, the income from his or her annuity will stop, but the remaining spouse will still receive his or her payment for the rest of his or her life.

Which option is better for you and your spouse?

As with all financial decisions, there are a number of factors to consider. Everyone’s situation is different, and there’s no “one size fits all” answer. Getting a quote for both a joint life and single life annuity is a good place to start. You should also consider the tax and estate planning issues associated with each option.

Learn more about annuities in the New York Life Learning Center, or call 1-800-313-6841 to have your questions answered by a knowledgeable representative.


If you have questions, New York Life is here to help.


Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.