Athene Ascent 10 bonus 2.0 Fixed Indexed Annuity Review
Today’s review is on the Athene Ascent 10 Bonus 2.0 Fixed Indexed Annuity. The Purpose of this review is to show you where Athene Ascent 10 Bonus 2.0 Fixed Indexed Annuity is strong and where it has weaknesses. That way you can make an informed decision, considering all available facts.
- Product type
- Investment options that are available and their Realistic long term investment return expectations
- Understanding the income rider
- How it can best help you as part of your financial plan
- How it’s most poorly used as part of your financial plan
Athene Ascent 10 Bonus 2.0 Fixed Indexed Annuity Quick Facts
|Product Name||Athene Ascent 10 Bonus 2.0 Annuity|
|Issuer||Athene Life Insurance Company|
|Type of Product||Fixed Indexed Annuity|
|Standard & Poor’s Rating||“A-” (Excellent)|
Is any of this true?
Some of it is, but we must understand the details of how it works, things aren’t always what they seem.
First of all, we’ll understand the base annuity and the investment options that are available. This will help us put the pitch of market similar growth with zero downside to the test. Then, we’ll walk through the income rider and guaranteed 10% increase in the income base, so that we see exactly how it works and you can compare with what you’ve been told.
Athene Ascent 10 Bonus 2.0 Fixed Indexed Annuity is a long term commitment with high penalties if you take your money out early. Also, the bonus isn’t fully vested until the last year.
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If it happens that you’re on this website for the first time. We’re dedicated to helping you with a second opinion viewpoint so to help you see through some of sales pitches that aren’t what they seem. We hope with the information we provide you’ll be better educated to make an informed decision before you buy.
Before we go into detail, here is an important legal disclosure.
This review of Athene Ascent 10 Bonus 2.0 Fixed Indexed Annuity is meant to be an independent review at the request of readers, in addition, so they could see my perspective when breaking down the positives and negatives of this particular model annuity. This is an independent product review, not a recommendation to buy or sell an annuity. Athene has not endorsed this review in any way, nor do I receive any compensation for this review. Before purchasing any investment product be sure to do your own due diligence and consult a properly licensed professional, should you have specific questions, as they relate to your individual circumstances. This is not meant to be specific advice and your advisor may know more about your circumstances to make an appropriate recommendation. All names, marks, and materials used for this review are property of their respective owners.
Information on Athene
Athene Ascent Annuity has 22,300 independent Agents with 1.1 million active policies. In 2013, they acquired Aviva Life insurance company. Although their name is relatively new, the companies they’ve acquired has a proven track record of serving customers for more than 100 years.
This annuity can be broken down into 2 parts. The base annuity and the base annuity with the Guaranteed lifetime income rider. As a result, you may be recommended either with or without the income rider.
The Athene Ascent Annuity Income Rider has an annual cost additional of 1%.
There are a few ways that Agents might pitch this product.
- As a way to get guaranteed Lifetime income
- As a way to get uncapped market growth to but with zero downside risk with a 10% upfront bonus
- To create an inflation adjusted lifetime income
- To receive a 10% guaranteed Growth
|Premium Bonus Vesting Charges||0%||0%||0%||0%||0%||0%||20%||40%||60%||80%|
There may be similar versions of this annuity product with annuity surrender schedules lower or higher than this exact model.
The Investment options and potential growth for the Athene Ascent Annuity
Does the Athene Ascent Annuity really earn 10% Guaranteed Growth with the Income Rider?
The Income Base of the Annuity is guaranteed to increase by 10% every year you delay taking income for the 1st 10 years. After the first 10 years, it increases by 5% from then on. Wait…did you say 10% guaranteed!? Sign me up. Hold on! it’s not really earning 10% guaranteed. While this guaranteed amount of increase can seem tempting, understand how it fits into your financial plan and what is the return it adds. Also, if that return is sufficient to have your money last through your retirement.
What I mean is, even though it increases 10% every year, it’s only after you lose 100% of annual income first. Every year, we all get 1 year closer to passing away, so the insurance companies are using mortality tables to determine that their promise to pay us is getting less every year, so they’ll guarantee 10% more for every year we don’t take income.
Before making a long-term decision, understand 10% guaranteed increase is in income base. Which is money you can’t just walk away with and not money your beneficiaries get, or go make another investment with, or spend at once, and not even in a few years. You must take income with the specified withdrawal rate in the contract. What is the real return that 10% gives you? I’ll break down the significant aspects you need to know.
In this example, a male age 61 invests $100,000 in the Athene Ascent 10 Bonus 2.0 Fixed Indexed Annuity and plans to defer it until age 66 when he retires. 10% annual guaranteed roll up will be credited to him. At age 66 his account has an income guarantee of $160,000 and his lifetime withdrawal rate of that value is 5.10%. This guarantees him 5.1% or 8,160 annually for the rest of his life. That’s the way he must access the 160,000. He cannot take a lump sum of that $160,000.
After taking lifetime income for 15 years and owning the annuity for 20 years, he has received $122,400 total from his annuity 25 years, this is under 2% annually compounded return. Still confused? I’m going to break this down further, so you can see just what I mean and make the best decision for you, not your agent!
A common Question I often get is “If I don’t earn 10% per year What return does the 10% guaranteed rider earn me?!”
This is the best way to help you understand. Lets say you just took income right away from this annuity and don’t earn the 10% Guaranteed “return” or increase in income value. At Age 61, you would be guaranteed a 4.6% rate withdrawal rate and an account value of $110,000 with the 10% bonus give you a $5,160 Annually for life. After 15 years, you’ve received $77,000 back therefore after 20 years from your deposit, you’ve received $103,200 income hence you’re age 81 after receiving income 20 years.
In comparison to when the deferring it for 5 years income, increasing by the 10% you received $122,400 back, so the defer for longer scenario yielded approximately 17% total income spread over a 20 year period. This is much lower then the 50% implied growth from the 5 years of a 10% guaranteed increase!
If you were to live male life expectancy, however, and do the first 15 years on the 5 year deferral scenario, then you’ll receive $81,000 in total income, which is around a 6% total additional return against a 50% implied 5 years of return.
Does this match up to what you’ve been told?
It’s extremely important to also compare the opportunity cost of utilizing other assets to satisfy income needs in the years you are deferring. If the wrong return assumptions are utilized, you or your adviser may be selling the wrong assets first in retirement based on the wrong return assumptions. For example, if you truly believe that this annuity is earning 10%, you may defer this annuity for a very long time and sell assets that are truly earnings 5 to 8 % real rate of return. This can be very damaging to your ability to maintain your lifestyle in retirement and you may be forced to downsize. Does your adviser understand this concept? You might want to ask and double check before investing.
Does the Athene Ascent 10 Bonus 2.0 Fixed Indexed Annuity inflation adjusted income really keep up with inflation?
The problem with the inflation adjustment is that you start off lower than if you didn’t choose the inflation adjustment. For example, utilizing the same scenario as above you would start income at age 66 at $5,704 annually and it would take you over 12 years of 3% growth to receive the $8,160 you would’ve received day one without inflation.
Many of the pensions for government employees have COLA.’s. This stands for Cost of Living Adjustment and increases by 2-3% annually. Having a COLA is a huge advantage and increases the total return of the annuity over the full retirement period dramatically, unfortunately this annuity won’t do that because it starts off so low.
Athene Ascent 10 Bonus 2.0 Fixed Indexed Annuity, once you begin taking income, will have a very low probability of ever increasing to keep up with inflation, so if you’ve heard differently you may want to reconsider where you’re getting advice. In order to do that, rate of return in the investment account would have to consistently outperform the withdrawal rate % and that’s never happened.
This isn’t to say if you really understand how Athene Ascent Annuity works and accept that it will perform in this way, but want to make sure you know and can afford to have this low of a return in much of their assets, which most retirees can’t. Can you afford that low of a return and still maintain your lifestyle in retirement? The only way to tell is run the numbers. Test your annuity and how it behaves in your financial plan.
Now that we understand how the guaranteed income rider works. We’ll talk about how the non-Guaranteed parts of the annuity work and their historical performance. Investment options will determine your account values performance. This is considered the “walk away” portion of your annuity.
What type of Performance can I expect from the options?
Note that rates may change, so the rates we discuss here may be higher or lower then the rates discussed below due to the potential of changing participation rates.
The Investment Indexes are:
The BNP 2 year point to point is the one with the highest historical performance. Since it has no cap your agent may brag about the high performance potential.
The BNP Historical average index return with 75% participation rate is 3.94% for the lowest 10 years
The annually interest rate for the most recent 10 years period was 3.94% annually.
The BNP annual return for the best 10 years was 4.83% Annually.
This is not bad, considering interests rates are low, but if our expecting high stock market returns, you’ll be disappointed. This annuities performance is closer with the performance of bonds then stocks. It also has much less downside risk and volatility then stocks.
Athene Ascent Enhanced Income
Understanding the Athene Ascent Enhanced Income is important before deciding. I feel this aspect is often misunderstood and misrepresented. I’ll help you understand the truth, so you can compare against what you’ve been told! Income Benefit (AK, CA, CT, DC, HI, NJ, PA,UT, WA)
To qualify for the Enhanced Income Benefit, after a one year waiting period, the persons for whom Lifetime Income Withdrawals are based must be confined to Qualified Care Facility for 180 out of the last 250 Days. If qualifications are met, the Lifetime Income Withdrawal amount will be doubled. The Enhanced Benefit Limit Period is 60 months as long as the eligibility requirements are met and the Accumulated Value is greater than zero.
Therefore, this means that’ your income will double for 60 months, but you’ll be drawing down your “walk away” value.
Where it works best:
- Producing a pension like lifetime guaranteed income stream
- Looking for conservative growth and want to have a guarantee on their principal over a 10 year investment.
- To guarantee a lifetime income stream in the future
Where it works Worst:
- Those looking for moderate to high Capital appreciation
- For those who need liquidity.
- If you’re looking to outperform inflation by a large degree to maintain your retirement lifestyle
Annuity Edu’s Summary on the Athene Ascent Annuity Bonus 2.0
Overall, I think this Fixed Indexed annuity has some good features and some bad ones. The annuity has a high 10% rollup rate and bonus that’s strong when compared to it’s peers. The income rider gives a low internal rate of return. Internal rate of return is more important than roll up return in understanding how it benefits you in retirement. It’s important to know these numbers going in.
Buying an Equity Indexed annuity is a long term commitment. It’s important to test this annuity versus various others to see which one fits your goals and objectives the most. Typically these annuities earn nowhere near the return of the guaranteed 10% rollup income rider amount. This is something we do for free here at Annuityedu.com. Test the annuity to know if it is a good fit for you. We’ll use our proprietary calculator to illustrate for you how this annuity will likely perform in your specific situation.
Click here to Test my Annuity. If your agent was honest with you, the numbers will match up – if not, well at least you know before you buy.
Unfortunately, advisers may be underestimating how low the returns are over time, especially if choosing one of the riders. That’s why we can help you test the guarantee in your financial plan; for the internal rate of return it provides and see if your plan can handle it. This isn’t to say that having the riders may not be a good way to meet your financial objectives with a portion of your dollars. It might, but it’s only possible after testing it that you’ll know.
Have Questions on Athene Ascent 10 Bonus 2.0 Fixed Indexed Annuity? Have any comments?
Do you have any questions that you can’t seem to find the answer here on our website? [You can send us your questions here via our Free Annuity Help contact form].
Finally, purchasing an annuity is often an irreversible decision. You’ll have high surrender fee’s if you change your mind after you buy it. Surrender fees cause assets to not be utilized at their fullest potential.
We hope you found it helpful as you’re conducting your own research Athene Ascent 10 Bonus 2.0 Fixed Indexed Annuity. We wish you all the best in your retirement journey!
For any questions or if you need clarity about the Athene Ascent 10 Bonus 2.0 Fixed Indexed Annuity, reach out to us by email or by phone
All the best,