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Lanta -

You asked about IRA annuities...

If you're concerned about taxes your heirs will pay -
it doesn't matter where the IRA is held, tax law will treat the funds the same (strategies to minimize taxes are another story, however).

The $30 annual fee might be above average in cost - it depends upon the insurance company.

The rate of return certainly can vary - among "Fixed Interest" Annuities you could see all sorts of rates (but often they beat the bank). If you look into "Variable" Annuities you'll see other investment options (subaccounts) that resemble mutual funds. These may be used to diversify & improve the yiels (if you assume some investment risk).

Hope this helps, PP
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