The good news for the annuity industry: most Americans would consider the fixed-income products to finance some aspect of their retirement.

The not-so-good news: more than half of those surveyed don't really understand how annuities work.

According to a study by The Phoenix Companies, nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of Americans would consider using annuities to establish predictable income in retirement, as a vehicle to protect inheritances, or as way to protect money for health and chronic care expenses.

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Nick Thornton

Nick Thornton is a financial writer covering retirement and health care issues for BenefitsPRO and ALM Media. He greatly enjoys learning from the vast minds in the legal, academic, advisory and money management communities when covering the retirement space. He's also written on international marketing trends, financial institution risk management, defense and energy issues, the restaurant industry in New York City, surfing, cigars, rum, travel, and fishing. When not writing, he's pushing into some land or water.