The explosion of products and services that have become available in the financial marketplace today are enough to bewilder even the most educated expert. But there are very few vehicles that have generated as much controversy in both public and professional forums as variable annuities. Variable annuities are a blend of higher risk investment with contractual income guarantees. There are pros and cons. There are good times to own one, and there are bad times. While fixed, fixed index and immediate annuities have zero fee deductions for management and servicing-- and very few moving parts-- the opposite is true with variable annuities. Variable annuities are built with MANY moving parts and can have a remarkably high fee structure. Today, we'll look under the hood and examine what you need to know about variable annuities, plus three key tips on building retirement wealth the SMART way. Don't miss today's show, MASTERING MONEY is on the air!!