Variable Annuities
Variable Annuities

Variable Annuities

What is a variable annuity?

A variable annuity is a long-term investment for retirement that offers tax-deferred growth potential and a variety of investment options. Variable annuities can offer a wide range of features including a guaranteed death benefit and income for life.

Guarantees are subject to the terms and conditions of the contract and are backed by the claims-paying ability and financial strength of the issuing insurance company, not Schwab. Guarantees do not apply to the separate account or the underlying portfolios available within the contract. A GLWB is not a contract value and is not available for withdrawal like a cash value. The actual contract value will deplete with each withdrawal.


Questions about annuities? Contact an annuity specialist at 866-663-5241.

Compare Schwab's variable annuities.

Schwab offers a choice of two competitively priced1 variable annuities, along with personal guidance from an annuity specialist to help you choose the one that meets your retirement income needs.

  • Pacific Life Logo

    Schwab Retirement Income Variable Annuity®

    Schwab's lowest-cost variable annuity,1 streamlined to simplify investing. Offers an optional guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit (GLWB) to provide a base level of retirement income for life plus access to your assets2 and two optional enhanced death benefits.3

    • Optional guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit (GLWB) Tooltip
    • No surrender charges Tooltip
    • Optional death benefits Tooltip
    • Three broadly diversified portfolios to simplify retirement investing
    • $100,000 minimum initial contribution at Schwab
    • Issuer: Pacific Life Insurance Company (in New York, Pacific Life & Annuity Company)
  • Great-West Logo

    Schwab OneSource Choice Variable Annuity™

    Flexible variable annuity offering low costs, with no surrender charges² and base annuity fees that are 26%-48% below the industry average.1 Includes a wide variety of investment choices, optional guaranteed lifetime withdrawal (GLWB) rider and two death benefit options.

    • Optional guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit (GLWB) Tooltip
    • No surrender charges Tooltip
    • Optional death benefits Tooltip
    • Over 95 investment choices representing over 20 OneSource fund families
    • $100,000 minimum initial contribution at Schwab
    • Issuer: Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company (in New York, Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company of New York)

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What other factors should you be aware of when considering a variable annuity?

For variable annuities you will typically see insurance charges (pays for the guarantees that the insurance company provides), surrender charges (charge on an early withdrawal based on a the time period of the policy or cancellation of the policy), investment fees (pays for the management of the underlying investment options), and, if elected, fees for optional living benefits or optional death benefits (fees that pay for the guarantees that the optional benefits provide).

Variable annuities offered by Charles Schwab do not have surrender charges. 

There are two ways to receive guaranteed lifetime income: 1. Converting your assets into a series of periodic payments (annuitization) for life or a specific period of time. There is no cost for this option and you give up control of your assets. 2. For an additional cost, you can choose an optional guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit that provides guaranteed income for life, the ability to control your assets and remain invested in the market.

Withdrawals from an annuity will reduce the value of your annuity, and withdrawals of taxable amounts are subject to ordinary income tax. Withdrawals prior to age 59½ may be subject to a 10% Federal tax penalty. 

The performance of the underlying investment options is subject to market fluctuation and are not guaranteed. The contract value of the annuity may be more or less than the premiums paid and it is possible to lose money.

Withdrawals will reduce the death benefit amount in direct proportion to the percentage by which the contract value was reduced. This can increase or decrease the amount deducted from the death benefit.

Variable annuities are subject to a number of fees, including mortality and risk expense charges, administrative fees, premium taxes, investment management fees, and charges for additional optional features. Although there are no surrender charges on the variable annuities offered by Schwab, such charges do apply in the early years of many contracts.

A Schwab annuity specialist can help you determine which annuity might fit your retirement strategy.

Already own a Schwab annuity?

Before considering an exchange of your current annuity, carefully consider surrender charges on your existing contract, loss of guaranteed benefits, and differences in features, costs, services, and company strength, as well as other factors that could reduce or eliminate the benefit of an exchange.

Questions? We're ready to help.