Safe savings vehicles were a tough sell in 2010. Neither financial planners nor clients were eager to put money into bank CDs or money-market funds paying 2%, 1% or even less. Fixed annuities offered the same low yields, so it's not surprising sales tumbled last year-off more than 30% from 2009.

But two product lines in the fixed annuity category set sales records in 2010. Index annuities (up 6%) and immediate annuities (up 2%) both recorded modest increases over 2009, but they did reach the highest levels on record, according to Beacon Research in Evanston, Ill. As long as we're in a low interest rate environment, with baby boomers reaching retirement age and many clients leery of equities, those trends may continue.

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