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Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefit (GLWB)


The Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefit (GLWB) is a type of rider or additional feature in an annuity contract, which ensures that the contract owner can receive a specified income from the annuity throughout their entire lifetime. Regardless of how the investment performs or if they exhaust the principal, the annuity owner will continue receiving a steady payout until death. This type of benefit provides a safeguard against the risk of outliving one’s savings.


The phonetics of the keyword “Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefit (GLWB)” would be: Guh-ran-teed Lyfe-tyem With-drawl Beh-ne-fit (G L W B)

Key Takeaways

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  1. Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefit (GLWB) is a type of insurance that provides a guaranteed income stream for life. This means that an individual can receive a certain amount of yearly income, no matter how long they live or how the market performs.
  2. GLWBs are usually associated with variable annuities. This type of benefit offers the potential for growth of income, as the withdrawal amount can increase based on the performance of the investment portfolios within the annuity.
  3. However, it’s important to note that Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefits often come with higher fees and charges. These costs can potentially offset any gains from the investment aspect of the annuity, so individuals should carefully consider this aspect before opting for a GLWB.



The Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefit (GLWB) is an important aspect in financial planning as it is a feature offered in annuity insurance products that enables policyholders to receive a guaranteed income stream for life. This goes a long way in aiding retirement planning, especially in the face of increased life expectancy. It essentially eliminates the risk of outliving one’s savings by offering a cushion against market downturns and inflation. It ensures longevity of income while preserving the flexibility of controlling one’s investments. Therefore, it provides a significant financial security and peace of mind for individuals during post-retirement years.


The Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefit (GLWB) is a feature predominantly found in annuity products, whose core purpose is to provide long-term financial security for policyholders. The essence of GLWB is that it allows them to receive regular, guaranteed income payments for the rest of their life, irrespective of how their investment component performs over time. In addition to the secure income stream, the GLWB provides the opportunity for the policyholder to benefit from potential market upside while ensuring a level of risk mitigation during investment downswings. In simple terms, GLWB serves as an insurance against outliving your savings, thereby ensuring an uninterrupted income stream during the retirement phase while eliminating the fear of destitution due to market downturns. It aims to address the risks and uncertainties associated with retirement planning, investor sentiment, and market stability. Offering a definitive source of financial income over one’s lifetime, the GLWB is employed as one of the key cornerstone strategies in retirement planning that creates a well-cushioned berth ensuring the individual’s financial security and longevity.


1. Retirement Plans: A person looking to retire decides to invest in a variable annuity offering a Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefit (GLWB). Over time, their investment grows, when they decide to retire, they will receive a steady stream of income to supplement their retirement, regardless of how long they live. Furthermore, if their original investment amount decreases or depletes completely due to poor investment performance, they would still receive their guaranteed income.2. Investment in Insurance Company: Suppose an individual invests a lump sum into a GLWB plan with an insurance company. The insurance company guarantees a certain percentage (maybe 5%) of the total investment amount as yearly payments to the individual for the rest of their life. These payments would continue even if the market goes down or the original investment is withdrawn completely, ensuring financial stability for the individual.3. Estate Planning: For high-net-worth individuals incorporated GLWB in their estate planning. Instead of giving a large sum of money directly to their heirs, they invest in an annuity with a GLWB. This way, their heirs will have a stable, guaranteed income stream for their lifetime, which is especially helpful in volatile markets when their other finances might be uncertain. This is also beneficial because it provides income tax advantages to the heirs.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefit (GLWB)?

A Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefit (GLWB) is an optional rider in an insurance policy that allows the policyholder to receive a certain amount of income each year for the rest of their life, regardless of how the investments in their account perform.

How does a GLWB work?

The policyholder is guaranteed a set amount of income each year, typically a percentage of the value of their account at the time of the agreement. Even if the value of the account drops due to poor investment performance, the policyholder continues to receive the same annual income.

Are there any age restrictions associated with GLWB?

The age at which you can start withdrawing depends on the terms of the specific insurance contract but usually, you can start withdrawals from the ages of 59 ½ to 70 ½.

What is the difference between a GLWB and an annuity?

Both GLWB and Annuities provide guaranteed income. However, in an annuity, your original investment is not accessible after annuitization while in a GLWB, you still have access to your original investment and you retain control over your underlying investments.

Can the annual income from a GLWB go up?

Yes, some insurance companies offer GLWBs where the annual income can go up if the investments in the account perform well. However, the income will not go down even if the investments perform poorly.

How much does a GLWB cost?

The cost of a GLWB typically involves an additional annual fee which is a percentage of the account value, on top of the standard costs of the annuity or insurance policy.

Can I add a GLWB rider to an existing insurance policy?

It depends on the insurance company and the specific terms of your policy. Some insurance companies allow you to add a GLWB rider to an existing policy, while others do not.

If I pass away, What happens to the remaining funds in my GLWB?

It depends on your specific contract. In many cases, the remaining balance in the account may be passed on to the policyholder’s beneficiaries.

Can I cancel the GLWB feature?

It depends on the insurance company and the specific terms of your policy. Some companies may allow you to cancel the GLWB feature, but there may be penalties or fees for doing so.

What are the potential downsides to a GLWB?

While GLWBs can provide guaranteed income, they can also be more expensive than other options due to the fees associated with the guarantee. There may also be penalties if you need to withdraw more than the guaranteed amount in a given year.

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