Income riders are fairly new to many financial salespeople and until recent years the only lifetime income option was "locking in" your funds by annuitizaton. This "locking in" to a stream of income the old way would unfortunately eliminate your liquidity.
Now, with the development of the lifetime income rider one can switch on or off an income stream and still maintain control of their money. This eliminates the liquidity problem of annuitization and the choice of doing this without annuitizing has increased the flexibility of annuities and made them even more attractive than ever.
If you select an income rider, the carrier provides you with a guaranteed income for the rest of your life without loosing your liquidity. An income that you cannot outlive. No other financial instrument can give you an income you can't outlive regardless of how much you put into it.
Income riders often have fees associated with them, usually less than one percent of your contract value annually. Income riders are optional, so if you feel the value you will derive is not as great as the fee associated with the rider, simply choose not to include an income rider on your annuity.
* Due to new regulations carriers are going to be required to increase reserves for these income riders. The carriers are handling this in different ways and this will affect future contracts making professional assistance even more important.