From the merely annoying to the budget-busters, here's what to watch out for in travel, banking, credit cards, real estate, investments and more.
33. Variable annuity expenses
Investments
33. Variable annuity expenses
What it is Buy one of these tax-deferred investments and you'll pay a fee for the funds (or subaccounts), insurance costs ("mortality and expense risk") and administrative charges. Tack on more for a guaranteed death benefit. Oh, and if you don't like the annuity, you'll face a fee to bail out.

What's so bad These fees can add up to 3% or more a year, effectively wiping out much of the tax benefit. Surrender charges generally start at 7% of your assets and decline by 1% a year thereafter. Some annuities, particularly equity-indexed annuities, have surrender charges that start as high as 20% and stick around for well over a decade.

Ouch! ING's Golden Select annuities nick you for as much as 4.4% a year, according to Morningstar; Security Benefit Life's AdvanceDesigns costs up to 4.1%.

What you can do Grab tax savings other ways: Your 401(k) and IRAs offer the same tax deferral without the steep annual fees. If you still want a variable annuity, Fidelity (800-343-3548), T. Rowe Price (800-638-5660) and Vanguard (800-851-4999) sell lower-cost options.

Air travel

Air travel

Air travel

Air travel

Air travel

Car rental

Car rental

Hotels

Phones

Shopping

Closing costs

Title insurance

Mortgage

ATMs

Checking

Deposit

Credit cards

Credit cards

Mutual funds

Annuities

Brokerage

529s
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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.