Registered index-linked annuities.

What is a registered index-linked annuity (RILA)?

If you're looking for an opportunity to grow your retirement assets, and you're comfortable with a certain level of market risk, a RILA may be a good fit for you. RILAs are generally tied to the performance of a market index, offering the opportunity to capture positive index returns up to a limit ("cap rate"), while providing a level of protection ("buffer") if the index return is negative. However, you're not directly invested in either an index or the market.

Some RILAs may have an annual contract and/or administrative fees. The RILAs offered through Schwab does not have these fees. Surrender charges may apply in the event of an early withdrawal.

A RILA may be right for you if:

  • You're in or near retirement.
  • You're looking for equity-like returns if the index performance is positive and a level of protection if index performance is negative.
  • You're looking for tax-deferred growth potential.

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How does a RILA work?

When choosing a RILA, there are three things to consider:

  • Step

    Product and interest credit schedule ("term").

    Select your investment time horizon (i.e., product and surrender charge schedule*). Next, select how often performance is measured (e.g., 1-, 3-, or 6-year "term"). 

  • Step

    "Buffer" and "cap rate"

    Select the level of protection against loss ("buffer") and the corresponding maximum return you can receive ("cap rate").**

  • Step


    You earn interest based on the performance of an index (e.g., S&P 500® Index, MSCI EAFE Index, etc.).

RILA Charts

  • Growth opportunities during up markets

    Chart illustrating how the selected “cap rate” works to cap the amount of growth captured on an index return.

    The "cap rate" in this example is 10%, meaning you capture any growth up to 10%.   

    Scenario 1: Index return = 6% → RILA return = 6%

    Scenario 2: Index return = 12% → RILA return = 10% ("cap rate" 10%)

  • Protection during down markets

    Chart illustrating how the selected “buffer” works to limit the amount of loss realized in a market downturn.

    The "buffer" in this example is –10%, meaning the insurance company will absorb losses up to –10%. Your account value is reduced when the negative index return exceeds the "buffer" percentage.

    Scenario 1: Index return = –6% → RILA return = 0%

    Scenario 2: Index return = –12% → RILA return = –2% ("buffer" –10%)

This is a hypothetical example; it is not intended to predict your index or strategy returns. This hypothetical example assumes the contract was held to full term and no withdrawals were taken. Crediting strategies illustrated use a point-to-point crediting approach; the RILA return, which can be positive or negative, is only applied to account value at the end of each index term. Index-linked variable annuity products are complex insurance and investment vehicles. There is risk of loss of principal if negative index returns exceed the selected protection level. Gains or losses are assessed at the end of each term. Early withdrawals may result in a loss in addition to applicable surrender charges. Please reference the prospectus for information about the levels of protection available and other important product information.

*A surrender charge schedule is the length of time you need to keep your money in the RILA without incurring a fee, and it may be the same or longer than the "term" you select.

**Your account value is reduced when the negative index return exceeds the "buffer" percentage. The "buffer" corresponds with the "cap rate" available to you (a higher level of protection generally means a lower "cap rate"). The "cap rate" percentage is the maximum index return that you may receive in the "term" selected. In addition to "cap rate" crediting type, the RILAs available through Schwab may offer other options for potential growth (i.e. a "step rate"). Please refer to the product information below for more information.

What RILA is offered through Schwab?

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