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Variable Annuities

A variable annuity can be an excellent addition to your retirement wealth-building strategy when used as designed.

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What Is a Variable Annuity?

A variable annuity is a type of contract you make with an insurance company. First, you add money to the annuity, either as a lump sum or through regular payments. From there, you invest your money into a variety of different subaccounts, designed by the provider of the annuity. These subaccounts contain things like stocks, bonds and cash equivalents. You can pick an allocation that matches your investment style.

When you enter retirement, you can set your annuity to make regular payments back to you. These can be monthly payments over a period, such as 10 years, or even regular payments guaranteed to last your entire life.

Benefits of Variable Annuities

It's important to note that in addition to any applicable fees and taxes owed on the withdrawal, withdrawals prior to age 59 1/2 may be subject to a 10 percent IRS penalty tax.

Delay Taxes

When you invest through a variable annuity, you delay taxes on your gains. As a result, you could earn a higher after-tax return on your subaccounts, although you'll still pay taxes at your ordinary income tax rate when you withdraw funds.


Since you're investing in market assets like stocks and bonds, you could potentially earn a higher return with variable annuities than with the guaranteed return on fixed annuities — but keep in mind this also means there's a potential you could lose more.


Variable annuities can also offer certain guarantees, however, such as that you'll receive a minimum amount at retirement regardless of how your investments perform.

Choose the Variable Annuity That's Right For You

The type of variable annuity you choose depends on your goals. The grid below can help you make the right choice based on how your needs match up with the features of each annuity.
Benefits AnnuiChoice® VAROOM®
Rollover Assets Accepted Consolidate and manage funds from IRAs and retirement plans in one place
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Deferred Income Options Control the timing of your retirement income; qualified funds may require withdrawals
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Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefit Lock in a predictable, sustainable income benefit; added charge applies
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ETF Subaccount Investments Select among subaccount options that invest in exchange traded funds
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Guaranteed Rate Options Enjoy expanded investment flexibility via interest rates guaranteed for various periods
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Five-Year Withdrawal Charge Period Gain access to funds free of withdrawal charges after five premium years; taxes and early withdrawal penalty may apply if under age 59 1/2
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Enhanced Death Benefit Secure a benefit based on the highest of four measures; added charge applies
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  Annuity Details Annuity Details
Guarantees are based on the claims-paying ability of the issuer.
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Common Variable Annuity Questions

When can you use a variable annuity?

Variable annuities are not workplace retirement plans, so you can set one up with a provider whenever you want. You don't need to rely on your employer to provide one! There are also no income restrictions, so you can purchase a variable annuity no matter how much you earn (though the insurer will typically set maximum contribution limits for the annuity and it could also be subject to IRS contribution limits).

How do I invest money in a variable annuity?

With a variable annuity, you have added control over your investment dollars. You allocate your funds among a variety of investment options with objectives ranging from aggressive to conservative. We call these sub-accounts. Your investment returns are tied to the performance of the underlying investments of the sub-accounts. If you are willing to accept a higher rate of risk in return for higher growth potential, variable annuities may be an appealing strategy to reach your retirement goals.

Can I use a variable annuity in addition to other retirement plans?

Retirement plans like 401(k)s and individual retirement accounts (IRAs) may offer tax benefits. However, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has strict limits on how much you can contribute per year through these accounts — and not everyone has access to a favorable workplace retirement plan.

If you're maxing out your other retirement plans and want to save more in an account that may delay taxes, a variable annuity could be a solid choice. They could be a good fit when you're more risk-tolerant and are willing to accept some years with losses in exchange for a potentially higher long-term return.

What are the different rates?

A variable annuity doesn't pay a set interest rate like a fixed annuity does. Instead, your account value changes based on the performance of the investment options (subaccounts) in your annuity, adjusted for charges, fees and expenses. You can divide your account value between a mix of different investment options or subaccounts as well.

When is the right time to buy a variable annuity?

Typically, the further you are from retiring, the more a variable annuity could make sense. These accounts invest in market assets where performance goes up and down. If you have many years before you need your money, you may have more time to wait out such swings.

Can I withdraw money before retirement?

Since variable annuities are designed for retirement purposes, the IRS wants you to keep your money in them until you turn age 59 1/2. If you want to make any withdrawal before then, you'll owe income tax and a 10 percent penalty on the amount taken out.

What if I decide to cancel my variable annuity?

Variable annuities are long-term investments designed for retirement. If you cancel your contract during the first few years (known as the "surrender period"), the provider of the annuity will deduct a surrender charge from your account before paying you the remaining balance.

Learn More About Variable Annuities

Make informed choices about your financial future. Visit BrokerCheck by FINRA.

Why Western & Southern?

When you're planning how to create a financially secure retirement, you may want to consider annuities from a company with a history of stability. With our financial ratings from widely regarded independent agencies, Western & Southern has become one of the strongest life insurance groups. We have knowledgeable financial representatives available to help you with your annuity needs.

Financial Strength

established 1888

Longevity & Stability

96 comdex ranking

Financial Ratings

There is no guarantee of the investment performance or safety of variable annuity investment options. Investment return and principal value of an investment in a variable annuity fluctuate, so units, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost.

Product issuer Integrity Life Insurance Company, Cincinnati, OH, operates in DC and all states except NY where National Integrity Life Insurance Company, Greenwich, NY, operates. Touchstone Securities, Inc., member FINRA / SIPC, serves as the principal underwriter for our variable annuity contracts. Securities offered through W&S Brokerage Services Inc., member FINRA / SIPC. All companies are members of Western & Southern Financial Group.

Investors should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of the contract and the underlying investment options. This and other information is contained in the product and the underlying fund prospectuses and, if available, summary prospectus. Contact your Registered Representative to obtain a prospectus. Please read the prospectus carefully before investing.

Security products are not bank products, are not a deposit, are not insured by the FDIC, NCUA, or any other federal entity, have no bank guarantee and may lose value.

Before making rollover decisions, carefully consider all available retirement plan options. Factors to consider include, but are not limited to, account fees and expenses, service levels and withdrawal penalties, as well as the limitation of one IRA rollover per year. Consult a tax or legal advisor as tax consequences vary depending on state law and your individual situation. VAROOM does not provide the tax advantages typically provided by an annuity contract. The tax advantages of this contract exist solely through its qualification as an IRA.

Variable annuities are tax-deferred insurance products. If you are investing through a tax-advantaged plan (such as an IRA or 401(k) rollover), you will receive no additional tax advantage or deferral from the annuity.

Payment of benefits under the annuity contract is the obligation of, and is guaranteed by, the insurance company issuing the annuity. Guarantees are based on the claims-paying ability of the insurer. There is no guarantee of the investment performance or safety of the variable investment options. Variable annuities are suited for long-term investing. Earnings and pre-tax payments are subject to income tax at withdrawal. Withdrawals prior to age 59½ are generally subject to a 10% IRS penalty tax. Interest rates are declared by the insurance company at annual effective rates, taking into account daily compounding of interest. Product approval, availability and features may vary by state. See your financial professional for availability, details and limitations.


Flexible Premium Deferred Fixed and Variable Annuity contract series INT96 Rev. NIL 06-04, NIL 07-04 NY Cert and ICC10 INT-15 1011, ICC10 NIL-15 1011, NIL-15 1011 NY R issued by Integrity Life, Cincinnati, Ohio, which operates in DC and all states except NY, where National Integrity Life, Greenwich, New York, operates.

Annuity contracts have terms and limitations for keeping them in force.  Please contact a financial representative for complete details.