What Will We Cover in this Annuity Review?

In this annuity review, we will be going over the following information about the Transamerica Vanguard Variable Annuity:

  • Product TypeIndependent Review of the Transamerica Vanguard 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 Transamerica Vanguard Variable Annuity could be a potential option.

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.

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 AnnuityGator.com. We encompass a team of experienced and knowledgeable financial professionals who focus on providing highly informative and unbiased annuity reviews.

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 Transamerica Vanguard Variable Annuity. Or, you may have recently attended an annuity seminar where, in return for a free lunch or dinner, you listened to a presentation about this or a 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.

Yet, as appealing 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 Transamerica Vanguard Variable 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 Transamerica Vanguard Variable Annuity will be right for you.

So, if you are ready to proceed, let’s get started!

Transamerica I-Share Variable Annuity at a Glance

Cumulative Purchase PaymentWithdrawal Charge Schedule for Back-End Load
First$100,0006%, 6%, 6%, 5%, 4%, 3%, 2%, 1%, 0%
Next$400,0004%, 3%, 2%, 1%, 0%
Over$500,0002%, 1%, 0%

Opening Thoughts on the Transamerica Vanguard Variable Annuity

Transamerica has been in the business of helping its clients to grow and protect wealth since 1904. Founded in San Francisco, the company grew and expanded quickly – even in the early years of financial turmoil in the United States.

“In 1999, Transamerica was acquired by the Aegon Group, one of the world’s leading providers of life insurance, pensions, and asset management. Today, roughly 25,000 employees support more than 29 million customers around the globe.”

“Aegon’s roots actually go back 175 years, and it now does business in 20 countries. In 2012, the company created the Aegon Retirement Readiness Index, which provides a quantitative benchmark of how well-prepared workers are for retirement across a number of countries in Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Australia. It also studies which behaviors are helping to drive retirement readiness.”

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. Transamerica 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 the Transamerica Vanguard Variable Annuity is Described

The Transamerica Vanguard Variable Annuity is described as an annuity that can help you to save more for retirement. With this product, investors can obtain the following advantages:

  • Low Fees
  • Control Over Investments
  • Flexibility to Draw Income

According to Vanguard, the average costs for the Vanguard Variable Annuity are more than 70 percent lower than the industry average for variable annuities. So, for someone who invests $100,000, a savings of roughly $1,700 each year is possible.

Because the Transamerica Vanguard annuity is variable, a prospectus must be given to potential purchasers. This outlines the inner workings of the annuity, as well as important information like fees. You can access the Transamerica Vanguard Variable Annuity prospectus here.

The Vanguard Variable Annuity that is offered by Transamerica Premier Life Insurance Company also offers a diverse lineup of investments, including stocks, bonds, and money market portfolios – many of which are index-based and that are built from Vanguard mutual funds. And, if an investor’s financial goals or strategy changes over time, assets can easily be exchanged among portfolios without incurring a fee or triggering a taxable event.

Also, if you plan on using this annuity as a source of retirement income, there are several different income options that can be chosen from. One way is to add the Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefit rider, which offers the flexibility of starting and stopping income payments, based on your needs – along with the assurance that income is safe, regardless of what happens in the market.

The Vanguard Variable Annuity can also simply be annuitized for income purposes – and there is the option of having the annuity’s income payments last for the remainder of your lifetime (as well as the lifetime of another individual, if that option is chosen).

How a Financial Advisor Might “Pitch” this Annuity

Given its diverse array of investment options, it is likely that a financial advisor would “pitch” the Vanguard Variable 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. 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 so that you can immediately access our free report on how to shop for an annuity.

What About the Fees Associated with the Transamerica Vanguard Variable Annuity?

When considering any type of insurance or financial product, you would be hard-pressed to find one that doesn’t have at least some charges or fees. In fact, variable annuities are oftentimes riddled with fees, which can have a negative impact on your overall return.

Therefore, there are, of course, a variety of fees that are involved with the Vanguard Variable Annuity from Transamerica. The total fund operating expenses can range from a minimum of 0.11% to a maximum of 0.40%. These expenses are deducted from fund assets, including management fees, distribution and/or service 912b-1) fees, and other expenses.

There are also fees added if you opt to add any of the optional riders. For instance, you could add an(n):

  • Return of Premium Death Benefit – 0.20%
  • Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefit – cost is between 1.20% and 2.00%

To review all of the fees for this annuity, you can view the prospectus here.

The Annuity Gator’s End Take on the Transamerica Vanguard Variable Annuity

Where this annuity works the best:

  • For those who are looking for market-related growth
  • For those who are seeking lifetime income
  • For those who are seeking a way to diversify their assets

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 teetering on the brink 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 Transamerica Vanguard Variable Annuity, 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.

Need Additional Info? Did You See Any Mistakes?

We realize that this annuity review was a bit lengthy – and for that, we thank you for sticking with us through to the end. But we would much rather provide too much detail on an annuity than not enough. So, 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.


The Annuity Gator

Independent Review of the Transamerica Vanguard Variable Annuity