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4) I have to say NEVER but never buy an annuity inside an IRA, 401K or similar retirement account.

With one exception: TIAA-CREF. In the list of approved 403(b) providers for my employer, TIAA-CREF turns out to be the best, lowest-cost provider, beating even the mutual fund families on the approved 403(b) provider list. The Equity Index Account, for example, has an estimated annual expense of 0.36%, and that is including the 0.5% M&E Fee. While it isn't the 0.20%/yr expense ratio of the Vanguard Total Stock Market Fund, it is still far less than the average expense ratio for domestic stock funds.

Contrast that to another 403(b) provider I was in, which had a 1.05%/yr M&E Fee and a 1.50%/yr "investment advisory fee" for their domestic large caps subaccount, so the total expense was 2.55%/yr. Now that is highway robbery!
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