Obviously, you should know the interest rate of your annuity—or the interest rate range for a variable rate annuity. You should know the difference between the various kinds of annuity and how to earn from them.
It’s unlikely though that you’ll have to crunch the figures yourself. The Internet has no shortage of annuity calculators that you can use easily.
The American Association of Retired People, for example, has an annuity calculator that lets you plug in all sorts of data to determine how much you’ll need to save and what you can expect to receive from an annuity.
Those calculators make your predictions and your calculations much easier. They do the hard math for you. They’ll help you understand what you can afford to put aside and predict how comfortable your retirement will be. You’ll just need to know the interest rates, the number of years you’ll be saving, and the amount you can afford or want to receive.
But while those annuity calculators will answer the two most important questions you’re likely to have about annuities—how much your annuity will cost you; and how much it will give you—an annuity calculator can’t provide all the information you’ll need.
The most important knowledge you’ll need when you assess an annuity isn’t the details of the mathematical formulas or the annuity tables. It’s to know what questions to ask and how to understand the answers.