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TIAA-CREF lets you buy an annuity inside an IRA (rollover, traditional, or Roth)

Good clarification. I indeed thought is was the other way around.

There's no such law as "once an annuity always an annuity." It's just that the annuity issuer usually has big surrender fees making it impractical to cash in, and outside of an IRA the government imposes excise taxes on annuities used before the appropriate

I should have been clearer; I meant "once an annuity always an annuity before 59.5 unless you are willing to put up with bad things like 10% penalties and the like."

An annuity in an IRA is usually an awful idea because both the annuity and the IRA provide tax deferral. Most insurance companies charge a hefty fee for their annuities because people like the tax deferral. TIAA-CREF is one of the rare exceptions that charges reasonable fees for its annuities -- so reasonable that it makes sense to put them in an IRA.

I agree.

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