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Since I got such a wonderful reply to my previous question which I tagged onto another thread, can I go ahead and ask a broader question about variable annuities? My reading so far hasn't mentioned them at all, and looking through my friend's brochure made it seem like an IRA with a head cold. So my question, which can be answered privately if nobody wants to bore the rest of the board:
What exactly is a variable annuity when compared with the other classic non/401k type retirement vehicles such as Roth and Traditional IRAs? Why on earth would anyone want to choose a VA over any other kind of investment? Are there actual advantages to VAs that no other similar retirement portfolio can touch? Thanks!

The Exchequer
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