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Chapter 16. Tax-Sheltered Annuities > The Different Characteristics of an Annui... - Pg. 159

Tax-Sheltered Annuities 159 When you decide to purchase a fixed annuity, it's important to check out the insurance company. Your income stream is tied to the financial stability of that company. If your insurance company fails, your money could be frozen for years, and you could be forced to settle for a lower return. So it's your responsibility, not that of the salesperson selling the policy, to check out the company. Head to your local library reference section and check the ratings of the insurance companies you are considering. Look for an A+ by A.M. Best, an AA from Standard & Poor's, or an Aa1 from Moody's Investors Service. Rating services usually have a tie-in with insurance companies because the companies pay for their ratings. Our Advice Here are two independent sources where you can check out an insurance company: The Insurance Forum , P.O. Box 245, Ellettsville, IN 47429 (tel.: 812-876-6502; Web site is an inde- pendent, monthly newsletter covering the insurance industry. Their September issue (cost $20) rates insurance companies. Weiss Ratings (tel.: 409-627-3300; Web site will give you an online rating for $7.95, a verbal rating for $15, and a written one for $45.