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Variable Annuity Fees

Since variable annuities offer insurance features, they have charges and fees not found with other investment products. Charges and fees also differ by variable annuity; be sure you read the prospectus carefully and understand all the charges and fees of the variable annuity you are considering before you invest.

The most common charges and fees for variable annuities are:

  • Surrender charge. Most variable annuities do not have an initial sales charge. However, insurance companies usually assess a surrender charge — often called a contingent deferred sales charge (CDSC) — to an annuity owner who liquidates a contract or makes a withdrawal in excess of the free withdrawal provision (typically 10%) during the surrender charge period specified in the prospectus. Please read the prospectus carefully with regard to the applicable surrender charges.
  • Mortality & Expense Risk charge (M&E). The insurance company charges you this fee for the insurance risks it assumes by providing you guaranteed future payments and basic death benefits. In addition, this fee helps offset the cost of commissions paid.
  • Administrative fees. These fees cover administrative costs associated with servicing the annuity, including the cost of transferring funds, tracking purchase payments, issuing confirmations and statements, recordkeeping, and customer service.
  • Contract maintenance fee. This is an annual flat fee — approximately $25 or $30 a year — to keep the contract active. This fee may be waived on variable annuity contracts with account values over a certain dollar amount (for example, $50,000). See the prospectus for details.
  • Underlying fund expenses on subaccounts. These fees cover the cost of managing the investments within the subaccounts.
  • Rider costs. Additional riders that provide protection for death and/or provide income may cost extra.

All guarantees are backed by the continued claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company.

We are here to help you decide which annuity is right for you. To get started, contact a Wells Fargo retirement professional today.

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Contingent deferred sales charge (CDSC)

If you withdraw money from an annuity contract or surrender the contract within a certain period of time after investing, the insurance company may assess a contingent deferred sales charge (CDSC). Usually, the CDSC is a percentage of the purchase payment withdrawn, and it declines gradually over the CDSC period.

For example, a seven year CDSC may decline over the first seven years of your contract: 7%, 6%, 5%, 4%, 3%, 2%, 1%, 0%.

Subaccounts

The underlying funds in a variable annuity are invested in subaccounts, which are professionally managed investment options that invest in stock and/or bond markets.

The investment options may provide you with potentially more income than immediate fixed annuities, but your income payments will be subject to market fluctuation.