National Western Life Ultra Classic 13 Equity Indexed Annuity Review

This review is meant to show you the strengths and weaknesses of the National Western Life Ultra Classic 13 Equity Indexed Annuity. As with all annuities, they work very well doing some aspects and poorly at other aspects. I’ll walk through the details of how National Western Life Ultra Classic 13 Equity Indexed Annuity works, so you can know what to expect. This review will be on the National Western Life Ultra Classic 13 Equity Indexed Annuity without income rider.  We’ll breakdown the investment options and the potential returns.

  • Product Type
  • Fees
  • Investment options that are available and their realistic long-term investment return expectations
  • Understanding the income rider
  • How it can best help you as part of your financial plan
  • How it’s most poorly used as part of your financial plan

National Western Life Ultra Classic 13 Equity Indexed Annuity Quick Facts

Product NameUltra-Classic 13 Equity Indexed Annuity
IssuerNational Western Life
Type of ProductIndexed Annuity
Standard & Poor’s Rating“A” (Strong)
Phone Number1-877-922-9422

There are a few ways that Agents might pitch this product

  • Principal Protected Growth
  • Uncapped market upsid

Does your agent say you can get market like returns with zero risk?

The National Western Life Ultra Classic 13 Equity Indexed Annuity without the income rider is designed for accumulation. This review we’ll be straightforward. When it comes to National Western Life Ultra Classic 13 Equity Indexed Annuity it’s all about the potential for interest. That will decide whether this annuity is good for you or not.

National Western Life doesn’t show any projected returns. It’s for this reason the investment portion of this review will be valuable for you. It seems National western life doesn’t like showing the historical returns. This is strange considering all other companies I know of show some type of historical return history based on current caps and rates.

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If it happens that you’re on this website for the first time, we’re dedicated to helping you with a second opinion viewpoint. So to help you see through some of sales pitches that aren’t what they seem. We hope with the information we provide you’ll be better educated to make an informed decision before you buy.

Before we go into detail, here is an important legal disclosure.

The review of National Western Life Ultra Classic 13 Equity Indexed Annuity is meant to be an independent review at the request of readers. In addition, so they could see my perspective as a Certified Financial Planner CFP®, Designee when breaking down the positives and negatives of this particular model annuity. This is an independent product review, not a recommendation to buy or sell an annuity. National Western has not endorsed this review in any way, nor do I receive any compensation for this review. Before purchasing any investment product, be sure to do your own due diligence. Consult a properly licensed professional, should you have specific questions, as they relate to your individual circumstances.  This isn’t meant to be specific advice. Your advisor may know more about your circumstance to make an appropriate recommendation.  All names, marks, and materials used for this review are property of their respective owners.

Information on National Western Life

National Western Life Insurance Company® is a Colorado corporation with Executive Offices in Austin, Texas. The Company offers a full line of life insurance and annuity products in 49 states and the District of Columbia. Visit our website for all current financial information. Since its start in 1956, National Western has emphasized financial strength for the protection of its policyholders. As a legal reserve insurance company, National Western must set aside a portion of its assets equal to reserves required by law. Annually, a financial statement is filed with each state’s insurance department. 

 National Western Ultra Classic 13 Equity Indexed Annuity




Understanding the Surrender Charge

Contract Year12345678910111213Thereafter
Withdrawal Charge15%14.75%14.00%13.00%12.25%11.25%10.50%10%8.75%8.00%6.00%4.00%2.00%0.00%


National Western Life Ultra Classic 13 Equity Indexed Annuity has a long 13 year surrender. This surrender is very long especially when compared to other annuities in its class. The important aspect of the surrender is whether the Index options cap and rates are worth the long hold time.  I’ll break down the investment options and what you should expect.

Option A-

Annual Reset with Monthly Average.

Option B-

Fixed Interest 1 year 3.35.

Option D-

Annual reset with Monthly Cap   1st year cap is 2.25%.

Option J-

Annual Point to point 7% Cap.

Please check the cap rates before you buy. These are subject to change. NWL doesn’t show the historical performance so I’ve compared the caps and rates relative to other similar companies. They show the historical performance so you can see what the performance has been. You can compare it with what you’ve been told.

Option A-

This option has the best historical performance.  This option in the best base scenario should average around 5%. In the worst case, I’d expect a 10-year period to be around 3%. You’ll be disappointed if you’re expecting more than this range.

Option B-

Fixed Interest—This is 1st year only and remember NWL has a reputation in the industry of changing their rates after the 1st year.

Option D-

Annual Reset with Monthly Cap – Current rate is 2.25 1st year.  Great American Life has this exact index crediting option with a 2% monthly cap. The best 10-year return has been 2.59%. The worst 10-year period has been 2.76%.  The last 10 years has been 2.88%. The NWL life’s index crediting cap is slightly higher for the 1st year. It’s likely the returns could be slightly better but not much. If you’re being touted high returns with this annuity, then you may need to find a new advisor because they’re not being honest.

Option J-

Annual Point to Point with a 7% cap. Great American Life has the exact same indexing credit but with a 6.75% cap.  They show the best 10-year return at 4.30%, the worst 10-year return at 3.31%. The last 10-year return at 4.36%. The 7% cap will give a little more return but not much. It’s also only 7% for the 1st year.

National Western Life Ultra Classic 13 Equity Indexed Annuity








Where it works Best:

  • Conservative growth
  • Cash alternative
  • Looking for principal protection
  • Those who don’t mind locking in money for 13 years

Where it works Worst:

  • Those who need to return to beat inflation
  • Who want the simplicity in understanding their indexing crediting strategies
  • Those who want to maintain flexibility in retirement

Annuity Edu’s Summary on the National Western Life Ultra Classic 13 Equity Indexed Annuity

Overall, National Western Life Ultra Classic 13 Equity Indexed Annuity has a long surrender charge relative to the potential for interest gains.  The longer you’re locking into an annuity the more potential for growth there should be. It’s similar to the concept of risk versus reward. The more risk, the more reward there is. The longer the time of your commitment, the higher the upside should be for you with annuities. National Western Life Ultra Classic 13 Equity Indexed Annuity does not have a favorable risk relative to reward in my opinion. There are plenty of 10 year annuities that have more interest potential. What this tells me is there’s no good reason to lock yourself in for 13 years.

To Conclude

Locking yourself in a low interest annuity for 13 years may be good for your agent but not for you! The fact that National Western Life doesn’t show projected returns concerns me. Makes me think they have something to hide. This could allow agents to misrepresent the potential returns that are likely. 

Do you have any questions?  Comments?  Does everything match up to what you’ve been told?  If you need any clarification or what we’ve just explained, just reach out to us and ask.

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Have Questions on National Western Life Ultra Classic 13 Equity Indexed Annuity? Have any comments?

Do you have any questions that you can’t seem to find the answer here on our website? [You can send us your questions here via our Free Annuity Help contact form].

Finally, purchasing an annuity is often an irreversible decision. You’ll have high surrender fee’s if you change your mind after you buy it.

We hope you found it helpful as you’re conducting your own research on National Western Life Ultra Classic 13 Equity Indexed Annuity. We hope you enjoy a plentiful retirement journey.

For any questions or if you need clarity about the National Western Life Ultra Classic 13 Equity Indexed Annuity, reach out to us by email or by phone. contact form.


All the best,

National Western Life Ultra Classic 13 Equity Indexed Annuity