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Guarantee payouts on your variable annuity

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For investors relying on variable annuities during their retirement years, it's no fun watching the stock market intermittently spike and then plummet. When the market is booming, so is your investment. But your return suffers when the market takes a nose dive.

Now you can buy a variable annuity with a wrapper that protects against a sharp decline in your investment.

Strategy: Look closely at a variable annuity with a "guaranteed minimum withdrawal" benefit.
In other words, the issuer promises that you'll receive a steady stream of income, regardless of the underlying fund's investment performance. It's like creating your own personal pension plan. The new feature is just the latest insurance innovation catering to the baby boomer crowd.

But heads up: There's no such thing as a free ride. When you factor in taxes, you might opt for a more traditional variable-annuity approach. Here's why:

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