Changing Your Annuity—The Section 1035 Exchange

Choosing an annuity isn’t easy. You’ll have to weigh up the benefits and costs of fixed and variable rate annuities, and qualified and non-qualified annuities. You’ll then have to choose a contract that you hope will deliver the highest returns.

Of course, you might get it wrong. You could choose a variable rate annuity from a reputable insurance company that you expect will grow at a rate of 5 percent a year. In fact, during the years following your purchase you see its value drop by 3 percent a year. The performance of funds can change. Past performance isn’t a guarantee of future success.

But annuities and other retirement funds are meant to be long-term. There are penalties for early withdrawals. Does that mean that having chosen a badly-performing fund you’re stuck with it for the rest of your life?

The answer, fortunately, is no. It is possible to move funds from one account to another using a Section 1035 Exchange. This is a special provision in the tax code. It allows you to withdraw funds from one retirement account and place them in another retirement account without triggering a tax event or a withdrawal penalty.

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