I would disagree with you on that Jayhawk. While annuties in general are not wise, if you look to quality companies, MassMutual, New York Life, NorthWestern you can find very good annuities with great rates, features and subaccounts. Annuities have their place and are not the end all. However I have found MANY situations where they are the best best for a given situation. IE a large inheritance where some of the money is to be put away for retirement. Cant put that into an IRA or any other tax deferred vehicle. Too annuties avoid probate, allow investments into many M/F companies(diversification) without having to be in a wrap account which is more expensive than an annuity.
The Fool is a great place for advise, however that being said they are pandering to the masses giving GENERAL advise. One recommendation is not for everyone. Too again they are looking at annuities in GENERAL. Take Allianz, they are the biggest annuity company out there, however IMHO they are also the biggest sleezes too that sell the majority of INDEXED annuities.
Lets look at fixed annuitys for a moment. A retiree has a large sum in CD's that are rolled over every six months and are not being used for income. Why pay INCOME taxes on that when it can be placed in a QUALITY fixed annuity and get better rates and is only taxed on removal. So every year the money is in the fixed account they are COMPOUNDING their gains. And if they need the money, most quality companies have a 5 year surrender and allow 20% withdrawl rates per year without penalty.
TIAA-CREF, have you looked at their shitty returns via Morningstar or Thompson Financial. They have some of the WORST funds out there. They are regularly in the bottom quartile in returns in like catagory. No thank you. I would rather pay a higher fee if the net return is greater.
We could go on and on and on.
Truth be told Prof, go with MPT(Modern Portfolio Theory), put together an asset allocation that fits your risk and stick with it. It will win over these guys who shift their allocation over and over again. Review every six months against benchmarks and make changes as needed. IE if your growth fund hasnt been performing well against the bench, find out why and if necessary go with a different growth fund from another company.
Theres my two cents. Im ready for rebuttals!