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It sounds like you have an annuity, which is very common in 403(b)'s, and almost certain if it is through an insurance company. Different companies will have different rules for paying during the distribution phase, but I doubt that they will let you just call and ask for money whenever you want it. Without knowing what company you are with we can't give you too much more information. I believe there may also be restrictions set by your employer.

To find out more about annuities in general you can go to Quicken's website on them at:
http://www.quicken.com/annuities/intro/
and Smartmoney at:
http://www.smartmoney.com/ac/retirement/investing/index.cfm?story=wrongannuities
and from Annuitynet.com at (duh!):
http://www.annuitynet.com

Also, don't forget to contact the company to get your questions answered on your plan's specifics.

If you don't want to be in an annuity, you can check to see if your plan has other companies that will let you invest in a 403(b)7 that invests directly into mutual funds without the annuity wrapper. When I took my job they did nothing to let you know that there were many companies to go with for the 403(b), so you will have to ask your human resources people about it.

Hope this helps,

Taylor
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