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Independent Review of the Fidelity Personal Retirement Variable Annuity

What Will We Cover in this Annuity Review?

In this annuity review, we will be going over the following information about the Fidelity Personal Retirement Variable Annuity:
  • Product typeIndependent Review of the Fidelity Personal Retirement Variable Annuity
  • Fees
  • Current rates
  • Realistic long-term expectations
  • How it is used
  • How it is most poorly used

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

For those who have been considering the purchase of an annuity because they are seeking tax-advantaged growth of savings and the opportunity for market-linked growth, as well as the guarantee of a future income in retirement, then the Fidelity Personal Retirement Variable Annuity could be a good option for you. However, before going out and making a commitment on this – or any – annuity, it is recommended that you first have a good understanding of just exactly how this product works so that you know what to anticipate. Annuities are complex products, and the more “bells and whistles” they offer, the more confusing they tend to be. Because of that, many consumers aren’t really sure what they are purchasing – only to find out after they’ve purchased that the product really isn’t all that it was cracked up to be. Unfortunately, at that point, it is too late to get out of the annuity without having to pay a substantial withdrawal fee. This is definitely not the way to grow and/or protect your hard-earned savings. That’s where we come in!

Annuity and Retirement Income Planning Information You Can Actually Trust

If you have never been to our website before, please allow us first welcome you here to We encompass a team of experienced and knowledgeable financial professionals who focus on providing highly informative and unbiased annuity reviews.Independent Review of the Fidelity Personal Retirement Variable Annuity While you may have noticed other similar websites on your quest for annuity information, we’ve actually been offering annuity product reviews for many years – far longer than most of the other copycat sites. (Although, it has been said that imitation is the highest form of flattery). It is possible that your present insurance or financial advisor has offered you the Fidelity Personal Retirement Annuity (FPRA). Or, you could have recently gone to an annuity seminar where, in return for a free dinner or lunch, a presenter provided you with details about this, or some other similar annuity. But, even though you may feel like the presenter left you “well informed,” it is still extremely important that you know more about the entire picture – which includes the good, the bad and the ugly – before you commit what will likely be a large chunk of your retirement savings. In researching annuities online, you may have come across other annuity websites – many of which tout some pretty bold claims about their annuities, such as:
  • Highest income payouts
  • Low Fees
  • Top-rated annuity carriers
But unfortunately, rather than present you with all of the pertinent details about the annuities that they’re marketing, these websites would rather just highlight the good features, in order to get you to provide your contact information. As enticing as some of these claims may be, you absolutely, positively need to know both sides of the story when it comes to annuities. This means understanding that, while the Fidelity Personal Retirement Annuity definitely has some positive features, there are also some areas where this annuity will have some big disadvantages. Unfortunately, while most insurance and financial services representatives will work to do what is right for their clients, they may only place a key focus on the positive features of a product, while leaving out the possible drawbacks Our annuity reviews, however, will offer you the good and the bad, which in turn can allow you to make a much more well-informed decision as to whether or not The Standard Focused Growth annuity will be right for you. So, if you are ready to proceed, let’s get started!

Fidelity Personal Retirement Annuity at a Glance

Product NameFidelity Personal Retirement Annuity
Type of ProductVariable Annuity
S&P Rating
Phone Number(800) 544-3274

Opening Thoughts on the Fidelity Personal Retirement Annuity

Fidelity is a fairly well-known name in the financial arena. Based in Boston, this large financial services company holds (as of September 30, 2017) roughly $6.5 trillion in total customer assets, and services approximately 26 million individual customers for which it transacts more than 1/2 million commissionable trades per day! On the personal investing side, Fidelity provides financial planning and retirement options such as IRAs, managed accounts, brokerage and cash management products, college savings accounts, and retirement annuities – including deferred fixed annuities, immediate fixed income annuities, deferred income annuities, and variable annuities. While variable annuities have taken somewhat of a back seat to other, safer, alternatives like fixed and fixed indexed annuities over the past decade, there is a definite niche for these products – particularly with those who are seeking the opportunity for a higher rate of return, as well as the tax-deferred growth of assets.

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. Fidelity Investments 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.

How Fidelity Investments Describes the Personal Retirement Annuity

Recognized by Barron’s as a Top Variable Annuity, the Fidelity Personal Retirement Annuity (FPRA) is a low cost deferred variable annuity that allows you to save more for retirement on a tax-deferred basis. In fact, Fidelity Investments describes the Personal Retirement Annuity as a retirement vehicle that may be appropriate for investors who are wanting to increase their tax-deferred retirement savings beyond the contribution limits of an IRA or 401(k), with the ability to invest in a wide range of investments including equity, bonds, and asset allocation funds. This variable annuity offers more than 55 different fund choices – many of which are rated with either 4 or 5 stars by Morningstar. With this annuity, you can also have a range of diversification options in that you could choose to go with a single-fund strategy, build your own portfolio, or create your own industry sector investing approach. In addition, because the FPRA has an auto re-balancing feature, you are able to keep your investments in line with your objectives, without having to continuously watch over the money in the contract in order to do so. The annuity also offers a standard death benefit whereby you can name a beneficiary to receive the funds in the case of death. You could also opt to transfer the funds to a charity tax-free. More in-depth details are available via the FPRA product brochure – HERE.

How an Advisor Might Go About “Pitching” this Annuity

Given its diverse array of investment options, it is likely that a financial advisor would “pitch” the Fidelity Personal Retirement Annuity as a financial vehicle that offers diversity, along with the ability to obtain market-related returns. These, in turn, could help your money to keep pace with rising inflation over time – which is something that fixed annuity products are not typically able to do. There is also the ability to diversify the holdings to best fit your particular needs and risk tolerance, given its more than 55 investment options. And, with the various investment strategies, you can be as hands-on, or as hands-off, as you want to be. It is also possible that an advisor would tout the lifetime income feature on this annuity. Yet, while this is all well and good, variable annuities are not necessarily known for being the best alternative for generating lifetime income. While you can obtain a stream of income for life, oftentimes, due to the risk to the insurance company involved, these products end up only generating the same amount of income – or less – than safer options such as fixed annuities. That being the case, would you really want to endure sleepless nights wondering what the market is going to do, and worrying that your hard-earned principal could be lost before you retire? Annuities can be confusing products – and because of that, it is important that you know what you’re getting into, and you know what questions you should ask before moving forward. With that in mind, if you would like some additional tips on what you need to know before buying an annuity, just simply click here so that you can immediately access our free report on how to shop for an annuity.

What About the Fees on the Fidelity Personal Retirement Annuity?

Although Fidelity states that it has eliminated the expensive riders and other insurance options found in many annuities – such as a guaranteed death benefit – in order to keep the fees low on this annuity, don’t let that fool you into thinking that you won’t be subject to any fees at all. Variable annuities have been long considered to be riddled with charges and fees, and the Fidelity Personal Retirement Annuity is no exception. In this case, there is a 0.25% fee for contracts that are purchased with an initial investment of less than $1 million (or that have not yet accumulated $1 million). For contracts that are purchased with an initial investment of $1 million (or those that have accumulated $1 million or more), there is a 0.10% fee. Also, as with most other variable annuities, you’ll also be charged any of the applicable fund fees from the investment options that you choose. Independent Review of the Fidelity Personal Retirement Variable Annuity

The Annuity Gator’s End Take on the Fidelity Personal Retirement Annuity (FPRA)

Where this annuity works the best:
  • For those who are looking for the opportunity to attain market-related growth
  • For those who are seeking lifetime income
  • For those who are seeking a way to diversify their assets
  • For those who wish to obtain additional tax-deferred growth and have already maxed out their 401(k) and IRA options
Where this annuity works the worst:
  • For those who have a low-risk tolerance
  • For those who do not intend on using the lifetime income feature

In Summary

If you’ve been going back and forth with the thought of purchasing a variable annuity – or any annuity, for that matter – but you’ve been hesitant to move forward because you just aren’t sure which annuity might be right for you, it is important that you know all of the ins and the outs of a particular product before you sign on the dotted line. This is because an annuity should always be considered as a long-term financial commitment – and if you do end up determining that a particular annuity just isn’t for you after you’ve purchased it, it can be fairly expensive to get out of it. If you are still leaning towards the Personal Retirement Variable Annuity from Fidelity, there are some nice benefits that can be had. However, this particular annuity may also fall somewhat short – particular if you are seeking the safety of your principal. So, if you still have any questions as to whether or not this annuity would fit into your overall financial plans, then please feel free to reach out to us directly via our online contact form here and our annuity team will be happy to assist you.

Do You Need Any Additional Info? Did You See Any Mistakes in this Annuity Review?

While we do realize that this annuity review was a bit lengthy – and we appreciate you sticking with us through it all – we feel that it is much better to “err” on the side of providing “too much” information than not enough. With that in mind, if you felt that this annuity review was helpful, then please feel free to forward it on to anyone else that you think may benefit from it, too. Also, as humans will often do, we also understand that information about annuities can change quickly. Therefore, if you happened to notice any details in this review that were out of date or that need correction, please let us know that as well, and we will get it fixed quickly. Are there any other annuities that you would like to also see reviewed? If you have checked out our list of annuity reviews and there is another annuity (or more than one other annuity) that is not currently in our annuity review database, but that you would like to see reviewed, please let us know the name of the annuity or annuities and our team of annuity “geeks” will get right on it. So, be sure to check back with us soon to see any updates. Best, The Annuity Gator Independent Review of the Fidelity Personal Retirement Variable Annuity  
  • Colleen Faye Leininger
    11:57 AM, 22 April 2018

    I have a aig polaris preferred annuity..purchased 7 yrs ago
    ….fees 2.65% with riders
    Considering change to fidelity

    LOWERS my

  • Annuity Gator
    9:09 AM, 28 April 2018

    Hi Colleen – Thank you for your message. Not to sound vague, but the answer is that it can depend on a number of things, such as your time frame to retirement, income needs, etc. We’d be happy to talk with you in more details about whether or not this is the right annuity for you. Rather than sending personal details back and forth via email, though, it would be better to chat via phone. Please feel free to contact us at (888) 440-2468, or you can set up a specific time to chat with one of our annuity experts via our secure online contact form at We look forward to hearing from you. Best! The Annuity Gator

  • Annuity Gator
    2:29 PM, 13 May 2018

    Hi Colleen – Thank you for your message. The answer is that it depends. Not to sound vague, but depending on what exactly you want the annuity to do, as well as your time frame, it could make the Fidelity a good option, or alternatively, even more costly than the current Polaris. We can help you to narrow down your best option though by running a calculation based on your specific parameters. In order to do so, we would still need to get a bit more information from you. Rather than sending personal information back and forth via email, though, this would be better done by phone. Please contact us at your convenience, toll-free, at (888) 440-2468. Or, to set up a specific time to chat, please email us at: Best! The Annuity Gator

  • Steve K Wilson
    8:15 AM, 28 May 2021

    eware of being talked into a NY Life Annuity…
    At this point, I recommend knowing and understanding the answer to at least the 6 questions below before locking in an annuity. If I had known the actual growth and penalty I WOULD NOT have opted for an annuity that I would have to pay them to get a portion of my money back.
    What is the bottom line growth rate after expenses?
    Is there a Maturity Date, and When is it?
    How much money do I lose each year, if I withdraw before maturity?
    How many years do I expect to live?
    How many years before I expect to start withdrawing or needing a monthly stipend from my savings?
    What interest rate would I have to earn to exceed the amount Annuity would pay at the beginning of #5?

    In 2016 I was told my Annuity would earn 5% but in reality it ONLY earns 00.35% a year. After holding and using my $250,000 for 5 years the annuity has only grown $4,000 and they are charging me $12,000 to get $243,000 a portion of my original investment back. How it actually works is, they are charging me $7,000 to use my $250,000 for 5 years. IF I INVESTED THE $250,00 in a S&P500 index fund in August of 2016 it would be worth $510,019.93 in May of 2021. IT seems they had the opertunity to make at least $250,000 during the 5 years they had my money and are charging me $7,000 for using my money.
    Best Advice is to get advice from a fiduciary company you pay for advice, not an investment organization that makes their money from investments they recomend.

  • Annuity Gator
    12:20 PM, 28 May 2021

    Hi Steve,
    Thank you for your message.
    We know annuities can be complex and can but can also be a very good financial vehicle to have in your portfolio – but only provided that it fits in well with your other financial needs and goals and that you understand what you are investing in.
    We strive to help as many people as we can and we realize that there will be instances where an annuity is not suitable for everyone. We’d be happy to connect you with one of our licensed agents to see if they can assist to resolve any frustrations or questions you might have. Please feel free to reach out to us directly at (888) 440-2468. Or alternatively, you can contact us by going to and letting us know what time works best for you.
    We look forward to chatting with you.
    Annuity Gator

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