Variable annuities allow money to be invested in insurance company "separate accounts" (which are sometimes referred to as "subaccounts" and in any case are functionally similar to mutual funds) in a tax-deferred manner. Their primary use is to allow an investor to engage in tax-deferred investing for retirement in amounts greater than permitted by individual retirement or 401(k) plans.
In addition, many variable annuity contracts offer a guaranteed minimum rate of return (either for a future withdrawal and/or in the case of the owner's death), even if the underlying separate account investments perform poorly. This can be attractive to people uncomfortable investing in the equity markets without the guarantees. Of course, an investor will pay for each benefit provided by a variable annuity, since insurance companies must charge a premium to cover the insurance guarantees of such benefits.
Variable annuities are regulated both by the individual states (as insurance products) and by the Securities and Exchange Commission (as securities under the federal securities laws). The SEC requires that all of the charges under variable annuities be described in great detail in the prospectus that is offered to each variable annuity customer. Of course, potential customers should review these charges carefully, just as one would in purchasing mutual fund shares.
People who sell variable annuities are usually regulated by the FINRA, whose rules of conduct require a careful analysis of the suitability of variable annuities (and other securities products) to those to whom they recommend such products.
Insuring: Gurnee, Waukegan, Zion, Mundelein, Libertyville, Grayslake, Antioch, Ingleside, Round Lake, Round Lake Park, Round Lake Beach, Beach Park and Great Lakes, Illinois as well as Kenosha, Racine and Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. Along with other areas in Lake County, IL and we are a short 40 miles north of downtown Chicago.