Retirees who withdrew a lump sum from their retirement plans would seemingly benefit from an immediate annuity. In theory the sum can be changed into monthly, quarterly or annual payments “that represent a portion of principal plus interest” and will last over a lifetime. But this has risks: a) getting a lifetime of regular payments doesn’t counter inflationary issues; b) you don’t know if you’re going to live long enough to get your money back; c) since the interest rate is fixed when you buy it, you run the risk of getting low rates for good. Those who are more elderly may have less concern about inflation or liquidity but then they really need to ask whether they will benefit at all from such annuities.
Other options therefore include choosing a “period certain” or “term certain” as this guarantees payment to beneficiaries for a certain amount of time if you die earlier than expected. The “joint and survivor” option makes payments to the spouse until s/he dies and the “refund” will return all or at least some of the principal to your beneficiaries.
There are so many different packages out there that you need to analyze what is best for your circumstance. A balanced portfolio of mutual funds will ensure a comfortable retirement income.