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Independent Review of the Symetra True Variable Annuity [April 2018 Update]

What Will Be Covered in this Annuity Review

In this annuity review, we will be going over the following details regarding the Symetra True Variable Annuity:
  • Product type
  • Fees
  • Current rates
  • Realistic long-term expectations
  • How the annuity is best used
  • How the annuity 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.

At first glance, you might notice that the Symetra True Variable Annuity can perform very well in some instances, but not so well in others. And oftentimes, the way that an annuity – or for that matter, any financial product – actually “performs” will be based in large part on your needs, as well as on the reason you purchased it. Over the past several years, annuities have become a popular choice for those who are approaching retirement, as these financial vehicles have the ability to provide lifetime income that you can rely on. But unless you know what type of “tradeoff” you may need to make in order to get such guarantees, you might be disappointed. The good news is that you can now gather more in-depth details on annuities before you make a purchase – and if you’re looking for an unbiased review, you are definitely in the right place now.

Annuity and Retirement Income Planning Information You Can Trust

You may have stumbled across our website for the first time right now, and you don’t know very much about us – but you have definitely come to the right place. Here at Annuity Gator, we make up a term of annuity professionals who provide very in-depth annuity review that can help you with wading through all of the technical details about these products. If you have been searching for and Googling “annuities,” then it is likely that you have visited annuity marketing websites that have made some or all of the following bold claims in order to just collect your contact information:
  • High payouts
  • Low Fees
  • Top rated annuity carriers
  • 7 – 8% returns with no market risk!
Look familiar? But even though these benefits sound really enticing, you really need to find out if they are in fact actually true. And even if they are, we’ve found that none of these “benefits” really even matter without you first knowing what your primary reason is behind the purchase of an annuity. Plus, we can tell you with a high degree of certainty that those 7 or 8% annual returns that other websites are touting are not true in most situations. And then there are other websites that “hate” annuities – but don’t really know how these financial vehicles truly work. The site that you are on right now, however, is different. Here you will find all of the key details that you need – which includes the good, the bad, and the ugly. But having all of the facts can provide you with the best way of making a well-informed decision as to whether or not the product is right for you. So, if you’re ready to move forward, let’s go!

Symetra True Value Annuity at a Glance

Product NameTrue Value
IssuerSymetra Life Insurance Company
Type of ProductVariable Annuity
S&P RatingA
Phone Number(855) 878-3827

Opening Thoughts About the Symetra True Value Variable Annuity

With more than 60 years of experience behind it, Symetra is considered to be a premier provider of life insurance and annuity products. Today, the company holds nearly $43 billion in assets, and its parent company, Sumitomo Life, is one of the largest life insurance companies in Japan. A leading provider of fixed indexed annuities, Symetra’s products are offered through a national network of broker-dealers, financial institutions, agents, advisors, and benefits consultants. The company also has more than 20 office locations around the United States. Regardless of a company’s strength, though, it is important that you have a good understanding of how variable annuities really work before you commit to one. That’s because getting out of one of these products can oftentimes be quite costly. In general, variable annuities are designed to perform two primary tasks. These are to grow principal and to produce income. However, the reality is that variable annuities are not really all that good at producing retirement income. One of the key reasons for this is because of the risk that these types of annuities can present both to their investors, and to the underlying insurance companies that offer them. Because the value inside of a variable annuity does tend to fluctuate up and down so much, it is not uncommon that for an insurer to guarantee a lower amount of income from a variable annuity. This can actually be the case – even though the variable annuity can provide the ability to earn more growth than does a more “safe” alternative such as a fixed annuity. Therefore, for every dollar that you put into a variable annuity option, it can essentially offer you a lower amount of income than would a fixed annuity – for the very same amount of deposit. Because of this, if your main goal for the annuity is future retirement income, then a variable annuity may not be the best alternative. Regarding the use of a variable annuity for growing principal, this product can offer the opportunity for a nice, high return. As an example, the Symetra True Variable Annuity offers a broad array of investment options to choose from – which include passive index funds and active funds, that are managed by some of the world’s best money managers. It can also help to offset taxes that beneficiaries pay at the death of the annuitant if there is a gain in the contract and the annuitant has not yet received back all of his or her contributions. Unfortunately, though, variable annuities can also be known for charging various fees – which in turn can lower your overall return on the contract. So, depending on how much you are ultimately charged, it may or may not be worth all of the ups and downs in market fluctuation…and resulting sleepless nights wondering if your money will still be there when you need it!

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

This is an independent product review, not a recommendation to buy or sell an annuity. Symetra Life Insurance Company has not endorsed this review in any way, nor do we receive any type of compensation for providing this review. This review is meant to be an independent review at the request of readers so that they may see our perspective when breaking down the positives and negatives of this particular annuity. Prior to purchasing any type of investment or insurance product, it is important that you do your own due diligence and that you consult a properly licensed professional if you should have any specific questions that relate to your individual circumstances. All names, marks, and materials that were used for this review are the property of their respective owners. For more details on how you can compare annuities so that you can determine which one may be right for you, click here to instantly download our free annuity report.

How Symetra Describes the True Variable Annuity

Symetra describes the True Variable Annuity as a product that offers low fees, along with flexibility. Purchasers of this annuity are allowed to choose from a wide array of investments, which include passive index funds and active funds as well. This annuity can also provide guaranteed annual lifetime income, and each unit that is purchased equals $1 of annual lifetime income. In March of 2018, Symetra announced that online access to this annuity would not be available for a period of time. If you currently own this particular annuity, you can get more information directly from Symetra by calling (800) 457-9015. You can also access Symetra annuity forms at

How an Advisor Might Pitch This Annuity

There are some particular attributes regarding the True Variable Annuity from Symetra that an insurance or financial advisor might focus on when presenting it to a client or prospect. These might include the opportunity for growth – particularly with professionally managed sub-accounts. It is also probable that another key selling point will be the various additional optional features, such as the death benefit – which can help in leaving a legacy. These additional annuity features will typically come at an additional cost though. It is important to note, however, that if you plan on using this annuity – or using any variable annuity – as a source of guaranteed lifetime income, then you will need to closely examine it. This is because, due in large part to the potential risk to principal in the market, there can often be an effect on the amount of retirement income that you will ultimately end up receiving in the future. And, if income is, in fact, your primary reason for obtaining an annuity, then there can be other annuity products that could be better suited for this task. In addition, even with professionally managed funds and a well-diversified portfolio of funds, the reality is that this annuity will still have market exposure. So, here too, you will really want to determine – based on your risk tolerance and overall financial goals – just how much market risk you will want to take.  If you’re wondering if this annuity is right for you, or if you have questions and need a little help getting pointed in the right direction. Just reach out via our secure online form right here.

What About Fees on the Symetra True Variable Annuity?

Independent Review of the Symetra True Variable Annuity Even though Symetra proclaims that the fees on its True Variable Annuity are low, it is still imperative that you know where these costs may come from – as they could still have an impact on your overall return here. In this case, just as with other variable annuities, there are still costs involved with regard to management fees in each of the underlying investments that you choose. So, even though there are no front- or back-end sales charges here, you need to be mindful of the annual money management charges in the investment options that you select. You also need to be careful that, if you make withdrawals before you turn age 59 ½, you could incur an “early withdrawal” penalty of 10% by the IRS. So, this could affect the amount of money that you ultimately get out of the contract.

The Annuity Gator’s End Take on the Symetra True Variable Annuity

Where it works the best:
  • For investors who are looking for the opportunity for market-related return – which can be much higher (in some cases) than that of a fixed annuity
  • For investors who have already “maxed out” their IRA and/or employer-sponsored retirement plan, and who still want an investment vehicle that offers tax-deferred growth
  • For those who want the ability to have lifetime income via a variable annuity product
Where it works the worst:
  • For investors who are seekingthe safety of principal
  • For those who do not intend on using the guaranteed lifetime income feature

In Summary

When you are considering any financial product, it is essential that you determine just exactly what your overall goals are prior to moving forward. For example, in some cases, a particular financial vehicle may seem to offer both growth and income potential. Yet, after taking a closer look at it, the opportunity might come at a higher price than initially anticipated. In the case of the Symetra True Variable annuity, there are definitely some nice features here – including the opportunity to attain growth via professionally managed funds, as well as the potential to have a guaranteed lifetime income down the road. But even so, this particular annuity may fall a bit short – and honestly, there could be some other alternatives out there that may suit your needs a bit better. The only way to really know for sure, though, is to “test” this annuity, based on your specific parameters. If you would like us to do this testing for you – at no cost or obligation – just simply let us know and we’ll get on it.

Have Any Additional Questions About the True Variable Annuity from Symetra? Did You Happen to Notice Any Mistakes in this Annuity Review?

We realize that this review was a bit long – so for that, we appreciate you sticking with us here through to the end. If you found that this review was beneficial to you, then please feel free to forward it and share it with others who you think might also benefit from it. Likewise, if this annuity review caused you to have even more questions about the Symetra True Variable Annuity, then please let us know that, too. Also, if you did happen to notice any incorrect or outdated information in this review, please contact us and let us know. Just like any other financial product, annuities do tend to change often – and it can be somewhat difficult to keep up with all of the details that are regularly available on them. Therefore, we are always happy to make any updates that are needed in order to make this information clearer and more understandable. Are there any other annuities that you would like us to review? If so, just let us know the name (or names) of the annuities, and we will be sure to have our team of annuity “geeks” get on it! Best, The Annuity Gator P.S If you would like to read more of our Symetra annuity reviews here are some links to check out: Independent Review of the Symetra True Variable Annuity

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