Diversification — not putting all your eggs in one basket — is one of the most cherished principles of investing. That's one reason why mutual funds have become a popular choice for many investors' workplace retirement accounts. They're an easy way to invest in many different securities at once, and to do so at a lower cost than you might be able to achieve on your own. Though diversification alone can't guarantee a profit or prevent the possibility of loss, it can help minimize how much your portfolio is affected by the problems of a single company or borrower.
An annuity is a contract between you, the purchaser or owner, and an insurance company, the annuity issuer. In its simplest form, you pay money to an annuity issuer, and the issuer pays out the principal and earnings back to you or to a named beneficiary. Life insurance companies first developed annuities to provide income to individuals during their retirement years.