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Guaranteed Minimum Withdrawal Benefit (GMWB)


A Guaranteed Minimum Withdrawal Benefit (GMWB) is a type of insurance provision in annuity contracts. It ensures that an annuity owner can withdraw a minimum amount of money annually, regardless of market conditions. The amount, usually a percentage of total investments, is predefined in the contract and can be withdrawn until the initial investment is depleted.


The phonetics of the keyword “Guaranteed Minimum Withdrawal Benefit (GMWB)” would be:Guaranteed – /ɡəˈrɑːn.tid/Minimum – /ˈmɪnɪməm/Withdrawal – /wɪðˈdrɔːəl/Benefit – /ˈbenɪfɪt/GMWB – / dʒiː ɛm dʌbljuː biː/ In everyday speech, GMWB would likely be pronounced “G-M-W-B,” with each letter pronounced individually.

Key Takeaways

  1. Guaranteed Income: GMWB guarantees a certain level of income annually, regardless of how the investment performs. This provides security and peace of mind for investors, especially retirees, as it ensures a fixed income stream.
  2. Investment Control: Despite the guaranteed withdrawal, investors may still exercise control over their investment portfolios. This is a significant benefit for those who wish to stay active in managing their investments.
  3. Benefits Transfer: In many cases, GMWBs have a “death benefit” feature. This means that the remaining balance can be passed on to beneficiaries upon the death of the policyholder, preserving the investment’s worth for future generations.


The Guaranteed Minimum Withdrawal Benefit (GMWB) is an important feature in certain types of annuities and insurance products. This provides the contract holder the assurance of receiving a minimum amount of regular income from their investment, regardless of market performance. It mitigates concerns about outliving one’s savings by offering a steady stream of income, often for a lifetime. This form of guarantee can grant the investor a greater sense of financial security and stability, particularly during uncertain or volatile market conditions. This is especially significant for retired individuals or those nearing retirement, as it reduces their exposure to market risk and ensures a reliable source of income.


The Guaranteed Minimum Withdrawal Benefit (GMWB) is a type of insurance provision in certain annuity products, primarily designed to protect the policyholder’s investment over a long duration. It ensures that the policyholder will receive a steady income stream, even if their investments don’t perform well enough to support the same. Its main purpose is to provide financial security and assurance during the policyholder’s retirement years. This benefit, once activated, permits the withdrawal of a defined percentage of the total amount invested in the annuity at the start of the retirement period, irrespective of the market dynamics.Primarily, GMWB’s are used in the retirement planning process. They offer elderly individuals a safety net and help them navigate market volatility, which becomes increasingly concerning in the retirement phase when alternate income sources may be limited. The availability of a predetermined, regular income, irrespective of how the invested assets actually fare in the marketplace, can not only provide peace of mind but also allows for better financial planning during retirement years. Therefore, understanding the work of GMWB and incorporating it into a retirement plan can be an effective strategy for managing post-retirement finances.


1. Retirement Insurance Policies: These policies are often bundled with GMWB to ensure that policyholders can gain a minimum level of income in their retirement. For instance, John, a 60-year-old man, purchased a retirement insurance policy with GMWB that allows him to withdraw 5% of his initial investment amount per year. After investing $200,000, he can withdraw $10,000 as an annual income during his retirement years regardless of the performance of his investments.2. Variable Annuities: Variable annuities are commonly linked with GMWB features. For instance, Lisa invests her $500,000 retirement savings in a variable annuity with a GMWB feature that promises a 6% yearly withdrawal. Even if her investment account balance falls due to poor investment performance, she is still guaranteed to withdraw a minimum of $30,000 annually.3. Mutual Funds: Some mutual funds offer a GMWB type of protection to their shareholders. Let’s take an example of Sarah who invested in a mutual fund with a GMWB feature. She invested $300,000 and she can withdraw at least 4% annually. Thus, Sarah can be assured of having a steady income of $12,000 per year, regardless of whether the value of her mutual fund goes up or down.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a Guaranteed Minimum Withdrawal Benefit (GMWB)?

A Guaranteed Minimum Withdrawal Benefit (GMWB) is a type of optional rider in an annuity that allows policyholders to have the guarantee of receiving at least a minimum amount of money annually, despite any potential drops in the value of the investment due to market conditions.

How does a GMWB work?

The GMWB works by ensuring the client against losses in their investment. It provides that a certain amount of their investment, typically the initial investment, can be withdrawn annually until it’s fully recouped regardless of market performance.

Who should consider a Guaranteed Minimum Withdrawal Benefit?

Individuals who’re looking for a level of protection for their retirement savings against poor market performance should consider a GMWB. Those who’re worried about outliving their savings, or want to ensure they’ll have a certain level of income in their retirement years, might also find the GMWB useful.

How much does the GMWB guarantee to protect, and for how long?

Most GMWBs offer to protect 100% of your investment. The duration varies depending on the terms of the contract. In many cases, the benefit allows you to withdraw a certain percentage (typically 5 to 7 percent) of your total investment every year for the rest of your life.

Does a Guaranteed Minimum Withdrawal Benefit come with a cost?

Yes, a GMWB is an additional feature that is typically not included in the base cost of your annuity and will therefore come with an additional charge that will be deducted from your account regularly.

Are the withdrawals taxable?

Yes, the withdrawals from a GMWB are typically subject to income tax. Depending on your specific financial situation, there may also be additional tax implications.

Can I increase the amount of Guaranteed Minimum Withdrawal Benefit?

This depends on the terms and conditions of the contract. Some policies offer features whereby the annual withdrawal amounts might increase if specific conditions are met, such as not making any withdrawals for certain periods. However, these features, if available, may come with additional charges.

Can I withdraw more than the guaranteed amount in one year?

Most annuities will allow you to withdraw more than the guaranteed amount, but this will reduce the value of your remaining guaranteed benefit. In some cases, it may also incur fees or penalties.

What happens to my Guaranteed Minimum Withdrawal Benefit if I pass away?

The remaining balance, if any, in your annuity contract may pass to your named beneficiaries under the policy. It’s important to understand the details of your specific policy as terms can vary.

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