Annuity vs Pension

Updated on April 23, 2024
Article byWallstreetmojo Team
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

Difference Between Annuity and Pension

Annuity refers to the contract for receiving the regular payments after a certain period of time from an insurance company as per the agreement/contract entered whereas Pension is fixed benefit received on monthly basis on retirement where an employee has contributed to pension fund maintained by employer during his term of employment.

An annuity is an option in which periodic withdrawals are made. It is an agreement made between the investor and the third party where the investor pays the entire amount to the company and receives an installment amount once the retirement age has reached. Thus, the annuity provides a steady income once the retirement age is reached. Whereas, a pension is a retirement product that some companies offer their employees. It is the employer’s responsibility to create an account for its employees and maintain the payouts. When the employee retires, he/she is eligible to receive money from this pension fund.

Annuity vs Pension

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  • Annuities are insurance products designed to provide investors with an income stream. There are annuities which also offer death benefits and provides the beneficiaries with the pre-decided amount in case of sudden death before the end of the tenure. Annuities can be brought with the money held in the taxable account. Annuities can be jointly owned.
  • The pension fund is a pool of money contributed by the employer. This money is then invested and paid to the employees whose-ratio retire. This payment from the employers is termed as Pension.
  • The department receives the amount based on the age of service, age, and salary. The option of either getting a lump sum amount or monthly payments is given to employees. Privately held companies do not usually offer pensions but are generally favored for government organizations.

Annuity vs. Pension Infographics

Let’s see the top differences between Annuity vs. Pension along with infographics.

Annuity vs Pension Infographics

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Key Differences

Annuity vs. Pension Comparative Table

PurposeAn annuity is an Insurance Product.A Pension is a Retirement Product
BuyAn annuity can be bought from any financial services company.The Pension cannot be bought. It is usually paid to government employees.
MeaningAn annuity can also be considered as a retirement product, but one may not have to retire to avail of the benefits.The Pension is the benefit received after they have retired from their service or job.
CalculationAn annuity is based on the amount of investment by an individual towards the scheme.The Pension is calculated based on the sum of the amount earned during the service adjusted for years of service.
PaymentUnder an Annuity scheme, a person gets a lump sum amount if he has enrolled for that scheme.Under Pension, a lump sum amount is given every month.
AdvantagesAn advantage of an annuity is that the individual selects the plan and opens it. The individual has all the right to decide the amount needed to invest and which contract you will sign. If the annuity is funded with post-tax money, then the amount received will not be liable to pay taxes.The advantage of a pension comes when the individual is working since the employer is the one who contributes and handles the payout.

No contract is required. If you are working, you will be paid pension post-retirement. No research or plan is needed.
DisadvantageThe procedure to select the right annuity is complicated. There are various types of annuity, and finding one that fits your needs may be difficult. There are additional fees and commissions incurred.Since the employer takes care of the payment, it gives less transparency to the employees. It may be a disadvantage for some.
GuaranteeAnnuities are not guaranteed.Pensions are backed by the government and are guaranteed.
StabilityAnnuities earnings may be fixed or variable. It may be affected by the interest rate or the stock market.The pension amount is fixed and is divided into monthly payments.
TypesThe annuity has two types – Fixed and Variable.Types of Pension schemes – Defined Contribution plan and Defined benefit plan


#1 – Annuity

Following are the main types of an annuity –

#1 – Fixed Annuities

These annuities are not affected by changes in interest rates or market fluctuations and are thus the safest types of annuities. Types of fixed annuities are immediate annuity and deferred annuity. In an immediate annuity, the investor receives payments as soon as he makes the first investment. In a deferred annuity, the money is accumulated for a predetermined period before the prices begin

#2 – Variable AnnuitiesVariable AnnuitiesA variable annuity is a contract between a person and the insurance company and also serves as a tax-saving investment with the insurer, which has multiple benefits with regards to the periodic payments at the time of retirement and also the death benefit to the beneficiary in case the person dies before the expiry of the more

These annuities, as the name suggests, are variable and allow investors to generate a high rate of returns by investing in equity or bonds. Income will depend on the performance of these assets. It is meant for investors who are ready to take risks.

#2 – Pension

Following are the main types of Pension

#1 – Defined Benefit Plan

In a defined benefit plan, the employer is responsible for making all the investment decisions and ensuring that there are sufficient funds available to pay for future pension plans. If there is a shortfall for funds, then the employer must pay the difference

#2 – Defined Contribution Plan 

Financial institutions manage these plans on behalf of the employer. This plan will guarantee contribution but will not guarantee the income you will receive in retirement

Final Thoughts

To opt for a pension or for an annuity is dependent on the individual’s financial position. If you consider taking pension payments, then you may not have to go through the procedure of selecting the right fund. If your employer does not offer a pension, then investing money in an annuity may be the way for you to earn some retirement income.

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