Variable annuities

Maximize market growth potential and guarantee future income.*

Variable annuities offer a unique way to plan for retirement. They’re a long-term investment that provide more growth potential than other annuities, based on market performance.

Like other annuities, they offer tax-deferral and a variety of options for guaranteed retirement income. Certain optional features can also protect your future income from market risk.

What is a variable annuity?

A variable annuity is a contract with an insurance company. It lets you choose how your money will be invested, and the returns will vary depending on the performance of the investments you choose. This is the “variable” part of a variable annuity. The insurance provided is guaranteed income in retirement.

Earnings on your investments grow tax-deferred until they are withdrawn. Because you’re invested in the market, there are some risks involved—the value of your funds will fluctuate based on market performance. It’s possible that your investments could lose money.

A variable annuity may be a better fit if retirement is still a few years away. It offers:

  • Guaranteed lifetime income
  • Investment options (called subaccounts) across asset classes
  • Tax-deferred growth until income payments begin
  • Death benefits to create a legacy for your beneficiaries
  • Flexible withdrawal privileges, as well as a free annual surrender amount

There are two common types of variable annuities:

Variable annuities with living benefit riders

Variable annuities with living benefit riders provide growth potential and protection from market risk. The riders are features that ensure you don’t lose money by guaranteeing a future lifetime income level, even if your annuity’s investments perform poorly. They can also provide annual bonuses for each year you don’t take income.

Investment-focused variable annuities

Investment-focused variable annuities are accumulation-focused and investment-oriented. This means they may be a good fit if you want to diversify your assets through a large investment line-up. They feature some liquidity and the ability to make changes when and if life requires it, along with tax-deferral and the opportunity to create guaranteed income when you need it.

Protect your retirement income

Whether you’re looking to grow your nest egg, create a legacy for loved ones, or just have peace of mind that you won’t outlive your savings, we have options that can be tailored to fit most needs.

Already have an annuity with Principal®?

Access your account information online.

Looking for performance information?

We've got you covered. Check out performance of our variable annuities. 

We're here to help

Visit our annuities help section, or call us at 800-852-4450.

* Guarantees are based on the claims paying ability of Principal Life Insurance Company.

Withdrawals prior to age 59½ may be subject to a 10% IRS penalty tax