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When it comes to life insurance policies and many others, life insurance companies provide a quality service for a fair price. But when it comes to investments and retirement plans, insurance companies tend to put people into annuities. Some may be useful in some circumstances, but many are sold because of the commissions they pay to salesmen.

They are often expensive. Tricky contract wording often makes them sound more attractive than they are. Performance often disappoints in spite of the high price.

Those who are risk averse, those who require someone else to manage their money, those who want all the risk taken by someone else can do well with a variable annuity. Immediate annuities can provide reliable income for extended periods.

But most investors would be better off investing in mutual funds. Those that underperform are easily replaced. Costs are often much lower.

Everyone has to decide for themselves, but annuity products are usually not your first choice.
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