Annuities Have an Awareness Problem: Why That Matters

In the 1934 comedy classic It’s a Gift, W.C. Fields’ character encounters an aggressive, slick-talking annuities salesman in an indelible scene that helped shape a negative perception of the product. Despite decades of product innovation and the adoption of industry-wide operating principles benefiting consumers, some would have you believe that selling annuities has changed little in the intervening decades.

The reality is that annuities are manifestly popular with U.S. consumers, at least among those who know enough about them to have an opinion. According to the 2021 Protected Retirement Income and Planning (PRIP) Study, three times as many consumers have a favorable perception of annuities (33%) as those who have a negative perception of them (11%).

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