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An annuity is an insurance contract where you, the purchaser, pay an insurance company to invest your money, allowing it to grow tax-deferred. In some instances, the annuity later provides a stream of income, which could cover a set length of time or be for life. Annuities can be complicated and they’re not for everyone. Before considering an annuity, there are some basics you should know, including what annuities are, what options they provide and how safe your money will be. Start with our beginner's guide: everything you should know about annuities then work your way through our other features and guides.