I am not a USAA Advisor, nor a USAA Employee. I am just a Member like you.
That said, the subject of Variable Annuities is too complex to give you a simple answer. This forum has Moderators whom are Financial Advisors whom may be better able to answer some your questions.
A key bit of advice that I can give you is that you should not buy any "product" without talking to a financial advisor first.
Also the only real help I have for you are the following LINKS which should answer some of your questions.
2. USAA - Financial Advice Blog (maybe you could post your question there)
3. 5 Variable Annuity Fees To Ask About **(External Link)
I hope I have helped you.
Thanks for your suggestions. I've posted the question for USAA advice as you suggestion.
As refards contacting a financial, I am my own financial adviser. I wonder if you are not your own advisor. The subject has its complexities, but the complexities shouldn't discourage us from trying to understand them.
I have a variable annuity that has performed fairly well and is worth more than I paid for it. However, the expense fee seems high to me. Another variable annuity that has 1.5 percent less fee has performed better, but is worth less than I paid for it. These were purchased at different times.
I would be interested in other member's experience with variable annuities.