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Independent Review of Nationwide Life Destination Architect 2.0 Variable Annuity

What will we be covering in this annuity review?

In this annuity review, we will be covering the following details on the Nationwide Life Destination Architect 2.0 variable annuity:


  • Product Type
  • Fees
  • Current Rates
  • Realistic long-term expectations
  • What you’re really getting (and what you’re not)
  • Where the annuity works best
  • Where the annuity works the worst

Annuities can be complex. That’s where having an Annuity Investigator who loves math comes in. We make the complex, simple.

If you’ve been considering the purchase of a variable annuity, this product could require you to contribute a substantial portion of your retirement savings into it, so it is important that you have a good understanding of how the annuity works, and what you can – and can’t – expect from it. One reason for this is because, without knowing exactly what you are purchasing, you could find down the road that the product isn’t doing what you thought it would, which in many instances can also mean that it will have a negative effect on your future financial situation. Although insurance companies spend millions of dollar every year in marketing costs, there are still many investors who will forgo reading over all of the “fine print” and instead rely solely on the recommendations of their financial advisors. This, however, can be a tremendous mistake – especially as it relates to annuities. Annuities can be complex products – and more and more, insurance carriers are adding additional bells and whistles to these financial vehicles, in turn, making them even more confusing for both consumers and financial pros alike. Therefore, unless your current insurance or financial rep has a key focus on annuities, they may not be providing you with all of the important details that you need. And, if you purchase an annuity and later change your mind, it can be pretty expensive to get out of it. If you’ve been leaning towards the purchase of the Nationwide Life Destination Architect 2.0 variable annuity, then, you may have noticed that just like other annuities, it will perform very well in some instances, but not so well in others. Sorting out which is which is our specialty. We can help you with wading through the many details about the Destination Architect 2.0 annuity from Nationwide, which in turn can allow you to make a better-informed decision as to whether or not it is the right annuity for you.

Annuity and Retirement Income Planning Information You Can TrustIndependent Review of Nationwide Life Destination Architect 2.0 Variable Annuity

If you have never been to our website before, then please allow us to personally welcome you here. We at Annuity Gator make up a team of experienced financial experts who are dedicated to helping you decode the complicated world of annuities. Here, we strive to create unbiased, yet highly comprehensive, annuity reviews – and we have been at this for far longer than most of those “copycat” websites out there. Annuities are a unique product in that they are the only financial vehicle that can make the promise of providing you with a lasting, lifetime income stream. Unfortunately, though, some advisors – albeit unintentionally – will tend to make them sound better than they actually are. One reason for this is because, in order to obtain the nice benefits, there are oftentimes also some tradeoffs that you need to make. For example, variable annuities are essentially designed to do two key things – grow principal, and provide lifetime income. But the reality is that these products are also prone to market risk, which can have an impact on the ability of your nest egg to last as long as you need it to. They are also not really all that good at providing the income you will need down the road. In fact, variable annuities, in general, offer a lower income payout amount than what you can typically get by putting your money into a different – and safer – type of annuity…and without enduring endless sleepless nights worrying about a market downturn. Many annuity sales reps, and even many of the annuity websites that you’ll see online will make some pretty bold claims about the performance of the annuities that they offer, such as:
  • 7 to 8% return
  • Low Fees
  • Guaranteed income for life
  • No market risk
Look familiar? The goal of the annuity reviews that you’ll find here on is to provide you with information on the features and benefits of the annuity, and to help you better understand what the benefits could mean to you and your financial situation – both now and in the future. So, if you’re ready to get started, let’s dive in!

Nationwide Life Destination Architect 2.0 Variable Annuity at a Glance

Product NameDestination Architect 2.0
IssuerNationwide Life Insurance Company
Type of ProductVariable Annuity
Standard & Poor's RatingA+
Phone Number(877) 669-6877

Opening Thoughts on the Nationwide Life Destination Architect 2.0 Variable Annuity

Nationwide has been in the business of offering financial and insurance solutions for more than 90 years. The company is listed on the Fortune 100, and it offers a long list of products, including annuities, life insurance, mutual funds, and retirement plans. With more than $26 billion in operating revenue in 2015, Nationwide has a long history of financial stability – and the company has earned high ratings from the insurer rating agencies, including:
  • A+ from A.M. Best
  • A+ from Standard & Poor’s
  • A+ from Moody’s
Nationwide does a fair amount of television advertising, so the company is familiar to many people. You may have even found yourself humming its now-famous jingle, “Nationwide is on Your Side.” Financial and insurance companies definitely recognize that many of the key events in peoples’ lives involve money. This certainly goes for retirement – which is perhaps the biggie when it comes to your finances. The main reason for this is because the decisions you make today about the allocation of your funds will likely affect tomorrow’s financial security. The demand for annuities, which grow on a tax-deferred basis, and are backed by the financial strength and stability of the insurance carriers that offer them, has been increasing as more and more Baby Boomers reach retirement age. This is especially true as most companies have done away with the traditional pension plan, and an annuity allows you to turn your money into an income stream.

Before we get into the gritty details, there are some required legal disclosures here…

This is an independent annuity product review. It is not a recommendation to purchase or to sell an annuity. Nationwide Life has not endorsed this review in any way, nor do we receive any type of compensation for providing this review. This annuity review is meant solely to be an independent review at the request of our readers so that they may see our perspective when breaking down the positives and the negatives of this particular annuity. Prior to committing to the purchase of any type of insurance and/or investment vehicle, it is critical that you do your own due diligence, and that you also talk with a properly licensed professional if you have any questions that relate to your specific situation. All of the names, materials, and marks that have been used in compiling this annuity review are the property of their respective owners. For additional information on how to compare annuities so that you can decide which may be the best on for you, click here in order to obtain our free annuity report.

How Nationwide Life Describes the Destination Architect 2.0 Variable Annuity

Nationwide Life describes the Destination Architect 2.0 variable annuity a variable annuity that can offer retirement income opportunities to those who are planning for or living in retirement. This annuity offers tax-deferred growth and a pretty diversified lineup of variable subaccounts via some of the world’s leading money managers. There are also some additional bells and whistles, like death benefit options, and living benefit riders such as the Nationwide Lifetime Income Rider, and the Nationwide Lifetime Income Track. With the standard death benefit feature, if the annuitant dies before taking regular income payments through annuitization, a named beneficiary can receive the greater of either the contract value (as of the date that Nationwide receives the completed paperwork), or the total of all purchase payments that were made to the annuity (minus any withdrawals and / or surrender fees). Alternatively, there is an optional death benefit rider that can be chosen whereby the funds can be enhanced, with the benefit paid out to either a surviving spouse – regardless of who passes away first – as well as an enhanced surrender value if the annuitant is diagnosed with a qualifying terminal illness. The choice of a living benefit rider can also help to essentially “customize” the contract so that it fits better with an investor’s anticipated needs. This particular annuity contract offers the following living benefit rider options:
  • Nationwide Lifetime Income Rider – This rider offers a level of certainty to investors who are at or near retirement and who need to know the minimum level of income they will have at retirement.
  • Nationwide Lifetime Income Track – The Nationwide Lifetime Income Track offers a low-cost option for fee-conscious investors who are seeking growth potential through investment performance, as well as guaranteed lifetime income.

How a Financial Advisor Might “Pitch” This Annuity

Because the Nationwide Life Destination Architect 2.0 is a variable annuity, it is likely that a financial advisor would key in on the opportunity for tax-deferred growth, as well as investment diversification due to the long list of subaccount options this product offers. Because of that, this product could be appealing to a variety of investors’ goals, including conservative, balanced, and even aggressive. Certainly, the added feature here, as versus with investing into mutual funds directly, is the tax-deferral that investors get on their gains – which aren’t going to be taxed until the time of withdrawal in the future. This, in turn, can allow the funds inside the annuity to compound pretty nicely over time – provided that the underlying investments perform in the positive…which brings us to one of the key drawbacks with variable annuities. Because the return on the underlying investments is performance dependent, there is the real possibility that some (or all) of these could actually lose value. This isn’t necessarily something that you want to happen, though, especially as you inch closer to retirement time. And then there are the fees…

Fees Associated with the Destination Architect 2.0 Variable Annuity from Nationwide

Variable annuities are typically loaded with fees – and the Destination Architect 2.0 is no exception. Here you will find a plethora of charges, starting with an annual .20% mortality and expense (M&E) fee, and another 0.20% administrative fee. If you choose any of the optional riders, you could also find yourself paying some additional charges – which in turn, can end up having a negative effect on your overall return. For instance, the optional death benefit rider will cost an annual fee of 0.20%. Likewise, the living benefit riders also come at a cost. The Nationwide Lifetime Income Rider will cost between 1.20% up to 1.50%, with the cost of the joint option being between 0.30% and 0.40%. The Nationwide Lifetime Income Track rider will cost 0.80% up to 1.50%, with the cost of the joint option being 0.15% to 0.40%. Surprisingly, there are no surrender charges, so assets can be withdrawn at any time, and for any reason, without a penalty. But, the withdrawals of earnings will be subject to ordinary income tax. And, if you withdraw prior to turning age 59 1/2, you can also be subject to a 10% “early withdrawal” penalty from Uncle Sam.

The Annuity Gator’s End Take on the Nationwide Life Destination Architect 2.0 Variable Annuity

Where the annuity works best: As a variable annuity, the Nationwide Life Destination Architect 2.0 product could be a viable option for those who:
  • Want the opportunity for high, market-related returns
  • Are seeking a lifetime income
  • Want to keep depositing money into a tax-advantaged financial vehicle after they have maxed out their IRA and/or their employer-sponsored retirement plan(s)
Where it works the worst: Conversely, this may not be a good option for those who:
  • Have a lower tolerance for risk
  • Do not plan on using the lifetime income feature

In Summary

When you are weighing the pros and cons of purchasing any financial product, it is important to consider your overall goals – both the short and long term. With some investors, the primary draw of a particular product may be the opportunity for growth – even if it means risking the protection of principal. In the case of the Nationwide Life Destination Architect 2.0 variable annuity, there are numerous benefits, such as the many investment options, the ability to diversify, and of course, the income stream you can obtain in retirement. However, there are also some tradeoffs that you need to consider – which include being exposed to market-related risk, as well as the numerous charges and fees that are involved with variable annuity products such as this one. So, if you are a bit hesitant to move forward – especially with depositing a sizeable chunk of your retirement savings – it is possible that it is because there are other financial product alternatives that could fit your needs a bit better. The only way to truly know if this, or any, annuity is a good fit for you is to have it tested. We can provide this service for you, so if you would like to input your specific information and see the resulting details, just simply Contact Us.

Do You Have Any Additional Questions on the Destination Architect 2 from Nationwide Life? Did You Notice Any Mistakes in this Review?

We realize that this annuity review went a tad bit on the lengthy side, so for that, we thank you for sticking with us thus far. However, we believe that it is important to provide “too much” information, as versus as not enough. If, after reading through this annuity review, you still have any questions or concerns about the Nationwide Life Destination Architect 2.0 variable annuity, we encourage to reach out to us directly via this secure online contact form. Our annuity experts will be happy to walk you through any of the information that you need. Also, if you benefitted from this annuity review, please feel free to share it by forwarding it on to anyone whom you know that may also benefit from it. We are always happy to help others in determining whether or not a particular annuity may be right for them. In addition, we know just how quickly information about annuities can and does change. Therefore, if you happened to notice anything in this review that may be outdated or in need of revision, please let us know that, too and we will make the necessary updates as soon as possible. Are there any other annuities that you would like to have us review? If so, no problem! Just let us know the name of the annuity (or annuities, if there is more than just one), and our team of annuity geeks will get on it! Best, The Annuity Gator Independent Review of Nationwide Life Destination Architect 2.0 Variable Annuity  

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