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The young man at the bank has suggested that I buy a variable annuity in Corporate Bonds (Hartford Insurance, in fact.)

I'm going to go out on a limb and tell you NOT to do this. The nice young man at the bank will earn a nice commission if you do this, but I don't believe it's a good investment vehicle for you.

You can buy a high-yielding corporate bond fund from Vanguard or Fidelity, and not pay any annuity fees or commissions. (Keep in mind that high yield corporate bonds are riskier than CDs, that's why they pay higher interest rates.) Is your IRA account with the bank? You might want to consider moving it to Vanguard if you want to invest with them.

I am 74 years old so no long term investments for me

My best friend is 92 and he still invests in 5 year CDs. :-)
(Told me he got one the other day yielding 4.3%.)

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