A Fixed Index Annuity is a key component of a balanced retirement portfolio that offers upside growth potential with no risk of market loss. The annual growth is linked to a stock market index such as the S&P 500, but the money is never actually invested in the stock market. The gains credited to your account are affected by a cap, spread, or participation rate because the insurance company assumes ALL the risk with this type of annuity. You cannot lose ANY of your principal or earnings. When the index grows, your accumulation value grows. When the index declines, your accumulation value remains unchanged! FIAs are a great option for people who want the potential for lifetime income, and want to protect their retirement nest-egg from losses due to stock market declines.