An annuity can be used to save for retirement, preserve funds already saved for retirement and to provide a steady stream of income during retirement. Index Annuities have become a very popular choice for retirement planning, especially with the stock market volatility over the last decade. Annuities are financial contracts between an insurance company and contract owners. Payments into an annuity can be made via a lump sum, or a series of monthly payments to the insurance company. These funds will accumulate on a tax-deferred basis, which can be a tremendous advantage over time. Fixed Index Annuities provide an opportunity for growth without the risk involved with most investments. This is especially attractive to pre-retirees and retirees looking to preserve assets they have built over several decades. Many annuities offer the ability to add optional benefits such as a lifetime income rider, which gives clients a guaranteed income no matter how long they live.