Variable annuities are "insurance-based products that have no reason to live," Scott Burns recently wrote in a syndicated column. Burns is the Dallas Morning News columnist who notoriously dislikes variable annuities.

The best-case scenario for variable annuity policyholders, is when they own extremely volatile funds during a market’s height but die when the market reaches its nadir, he explains. "Dying is a good way to maximize your investment," he quips.

Burns reached this conclusion following a "variable annuity watch" exercise, during which he compared the performance of the best domestic equity sub-accounts against the Vanguard 500 Index fund.

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