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Variable Annuities

A variable annuity is a contract between you and an insurance company, under which you make a lump-sum payment or series of payments.  In return, the insurer agrees to make periodic payments to you beginning immediately or at some future date.  You can choose to invest your purchase payments in a range of investment options, which are typically mutual funds.  The value of your account in a variable annuity will vary, depending on the performance of the investment options you have chosen.

Variable annuities often also offer many features including:

Variable Annuities - Free Look Period

You may cancel your contract within a short period (usually lasting at least 10 days) of receiving it without a surrender charge. Upon cancellation, you will typically receive a refund of your purchase payments. The refund may be adjusted up or down to reflect the performance of your investment options. The length of the free look period may vary depending on the state where you signed your application.

Throughout the "free look" period, you may continue to ask questions to ensure that you understand the variable annuity and to ensure that the investment is right for you.

Variable Annuity Surrender Charges

A "surrender charge" is a type of sales charge you must pay if you sell or withdraw money from a variable annuity during the "surrender period" – a set period of time that typically lasts six to eight years after you purchase the annuity.  Surrender charges will reduce the value and the return of your investment.

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Variable Life Insurance

A variable life insurance policy is a contract between you and an insurance company. It is intended to meet certain insurance needs, investment goals, and tax planning objectives. It is a policy that pays a specified amount to your family or others (your beneficiaries) upon your death. It also has a cash value that varies according to the amount of premiums you pay, the policy’s fees and expenses, and the performance of a menu of investment options—typically mutual funds—offered under the policy.

Variable-rate CDs

These have changeable interest rates. Some variable-rate CDs feature a "multi-step" or "bonus rate" structure in which interest rates increase or decrease over time according to a pre-set schedule. Other variable-rate CDs pay interest rates that track the performance of a specified market index, such as the S&P 500 Index.

Viatical Settlements

A viatical settlement allows you to invest in another person's life insurance policy.  With a viatical settlement, you purchase the policy (or part of it) at a price that is less than the death benefit of the policy.  When the seller dies, you collect the death benefit.