Annuities are financial contracts with an insurance company that provide a regular income at retirement. A deferred annuity allows you to contribute money now for use later. You are not allowed to touch this money until you reach the age of 59. When you reach retirement age, the money you have built up in your annuity will provide you regular income payments throughout your retirement.
An immediate annuity skips the step of making regular payments into an annuity fund. If you have a large sum of money, you can invest this in an annuity and receive regular payments throughout retirement.
There are no limits on how much you can contribute to an annuity. Unlike retirement accounts, the money you contribute is not tax-deductible, but the earnings on the funds are tax-deferred until you withdraw them.
Whole life insurance is different from term life insurance in that it's an investment. With every premium you pay, you are creating cash value in the policy. Whole life insurance can be considered a retirement investment because you can withdraw money from this account when you retire. If you cash in the policy, you'll pay tax on the difference between what you receive and the premiums you've paid. If you borrow against the cash value of the policy, you won't be taxed on what you borrow, but you'll have to pay interest at a fixed rate on the loan.