Protective Dimensions Variable Annuity Review

In this article we’re going to review the Protective Dimensions Variable Annuity. Like every other investment variable annuities have strengths and weaknesses, and each company has unique features to offer. So today I’ll walk you through my analysis. And we’ll go over fee information, where I see this annuity excelling in your financial situation. Also what could be the possible cons. It’s very important that you understand how this annuity truly works by looking to the sales pitches that aren’t always what they seem. 

This Protective Dimensions Variable Annuity review will cover:

  • Product Type
  • Fees
  • Investment options
  • Understanding the income rider
  • How it can best help your financial plan
  • How it is most poorly used as part of your financial plan

Protective Dimension Variable Annuity Quick Facts

Product NameProtective Dimensions Variable Annuity
IssuerProtective Life Insurance Company
Type of ProductVariable Annuity
Standard & Poor’s Rating“AA-” (Good)
Phone Number1 (877) 669-6877

How do Agents Typically Pitch This Product?

  • 5-6% Possible Returns
  • Lifetime Income
  • Tax-deferred growth.
  • Lifetime income protection against market downturns
Annuity Classes

Is any of this True?

Weather this annuity gives you 5-6% return on your investment depends on the market conditions and the funds that you choose. However, after you add all the fees that 6% would be more like a 2-3%.  In this review we are going to break down those fees for you and explain how the income riders for this annuity really work since sometimes agents use words to play and manipulate some concepts, that’s why you have to be aware of every charge an annuity has and ask your agent/advisor how much those fees represent per year.

How Protective Dimensions Variable Annuity Work?

The Protective dimensions work similarly to other variable annuities but with some clear disadvantages that we will address in this review. This product offers a variety of funds that you can invest in, however, if you choose one of the SecurePay Riders you’ll have to allocate your money addressing the restrictions that they give you in the contract, we are going to review them later in this review.

This Variable Annuity is a tax-deferred annuity which means that the money growth on it is tax-free for whenever the buyer wants to take income in the future. It also offers an Income Rider with two variations, what this income rider basically gives you, is the potential for a lifetime income.  

As this review of the Protective Dimensions Variable Annuity is an independent review at the request of readers. This review explains my perspective when breaking down the positives and negatives of this model annuity. This is an independent product review, not a recommendation to buy or sell an annuity. Lincoln Financial Group 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.

So consult a properly licensed professional, should you have specific questions as they relate to your circumstances. Furthermore, this is not intended to give specific advice. In any event, your advisor may know more about your circumstances to make the recommendation for you. All names, marks, and materials used for this review are property of their respective owners.

Information about Protective Life Insurance Company

Protective Life Corporation is a financial service holding company in Birmingham, Alabama. The company’s primary subsidiary, Protective Life Insurance Company, was established in 1907 and now markets its products and services in all 50 states. As of December 31, 2019, the corporation had more than 3,000 employees, annual revenues of $6 billion and assets of $121 billion. In addition to Protective Life Insurance Company, Protective Life Corporation’s subsidiaries include West Coast Life Insurance Company, MONY Life Insurance Company, Protective Life And Annuity Insurance Company, ProEquities Inc./Protective Securities, and Protective Property and Casualty Insurance Company. You can learn more about this from https://www.protective.com/     

Protective Dimensions Variable Annuity Fee Breakdown:

Premium-based Charge Fees:

Depends on income bracket but it goes from 0.70% if less than 50k and 0.15% 1+ million.

This annuity has a surrender value for this first 7 years below there’s a table showing the details.

Surrender charges: 5% Free Withdrawal Per Year

As the premium-base charge fee, the surrender charge percentage also depends on investment bracket or amount invested, the higher the amount the lower the penalty.

Contract years1234567
Less than $50,0007.0%6.0%6.0%5.0%4.0%3.0%2.0%
$50,000 – $99,9996.0%5.0%5.0%3.0%2.0%2.0%1.0%
$100,000 – $249,9995.0%4.0%4.0%3.0%2.0%2.0%1.0%
$250,000 – $499,9994.0%3.0%3.0%2.0%2.0%1.0%1.0%
$500,000 – $999,9993.0%2.0%2.0%2.0%1.0%1.0%0.5%
$1 Million +2.0%1.0%1.0%1.0%1.0%0.5%0.5%

Management Fee (included M&E and admin charge): 1% plus $50 (waived if account is over 75k)  per year

Protective Dimensions

SecurePay Riders: Max. 2.40% Current 1.40

Funds fees: From 0.50% – 2.00% depending on what funds you choose.

Total Approx. fees: 3.40% per year

SecurePay and SecurePay FXi Income Rider

As we can see above the fees for this annuity are really high, but for some reason agents always tell you about the management fee only while omitting other fees that come when buying an expensive annuity, and in many times you think you are paying just 1% in fees but in reality you are paying 3 or 4 percent in fees which ends up wasting all your returns.

When talking about fees in a variable annuity, one of most important things to pay attention to, are the Income Rider Fees. In the following text I am going to write down what they say these Riders offer you, and then we are going to see if this is true or misleading.

SecurePay – Income now

  • Steady, predictable benefit withdrawals
  • Captures market gains with downside protection
  • Poor market performance has no effect on benefit withdrawals
  • 5% withdrawals each year

SecurePay FX – Income later

  • Guaranteed growth now – steady, predictable benefit withdrawals later
  • Potential for the benefit base to grow by a minimum of 5% or 6% per year (dependent on age) for up to 20 years or until you decide to begin your benefit withdrawals (if earlier), regardless of market performance
  • Captures market gains with downside protection
  • Poor market performance has no effect on benefit withdrawals

With the SecurePay Income Rider, they offer you steady withdrawal and tell you that you will capture market gains with dowsinde protection. Well, that’s not completely true, your principal is going to be depleting anyways, what is going to remain steady is your income payments, those are the ones that are not going to be affected by any market downturns.

protective dimensions

On the other side we have the SecurePay FX that offers you income later. They say that it has the potential to grow by a minimum of 5 or 6 percent per year, however, is this true?

Well, in order to understand it better I’m going to give you an example:

If you are withdrawing 5% per year and your fees are 3% per year, your account base is depleting by 8% each year, so the only way to really increase your income base is to beat that 8% per annum over the period of your annuity. So do you really think an annuity with all the fees, and everything can do that?

Yes, it is possible to do it one, two years o may be more, but to net more than 8% per annum is very difficult. So, in conclusion, we can say that the purpose of an income rider is only to deplete your money and then have the guarantee of lifetime withdrawals. But think about it, do you really need to deplete all your money to live the desire retirement you want? What if you want to leave legacy to your relatives? Well, if you are planning to buy this income rider, it will not be possible.


Always remember, that by purchasing an Income Rider you are telling the Insurance Company to literally deplete your money so then you can receive lifetime income for the rest of your life. You have to see if that is what you want, but before buying an expensive annuity with an income rider please make sure to do your research and possibly contact a Certified Financial Planner (more info here). Because in many cases, with well-designed income plan you can have the potential to live from your principal, and still have money to leave to your relatives in the future.

Investment Options

In case you choose to buy this rider, you will have a restriction to invest your money into only 3 investment options.

3 Options

Option 1 – Protective Life Model Portfolios: 1) Conservative and Moderate Growth. 2)Growth and Income.

Option 2 – Allocate funds to one of the two Eduard Jones Portfolios: 1) Balance: Growth and Income. 2) Balance Toward Growth

Option 3 – Customized Portfolio

This Annuity works Best:

  • For those who do not care to deplete their money to get lifetime income.
  • Those who want many investment options available.
  • Tax-deferred growth.

This Annuity Works Worst:

  • When explaining the real fees
  • Those who need liquidity
  • For those who want to preserve their money

To Summarize

The Protective Dimensions Variable Annuity wins a place between the worst annuities I have reviewed on this website. After you take a look at the real fees this annuity comes with, you can tell by yourself it might not be a good decision to buy it or if you already bought it, you might start thinking about how to get out of it.

Never believe agents that promise you 5-7% guarantee returns, remember that those returns decrease significantly after you subtract the fees from it and at the end, the real expected returns look more like a 2-3% in the best case scenarios.

As annuities are complex products, there are very bad annuities. But also there are annuities that can perform well if you a allocate a part of your portfolio to it. However, it is important that you run your numbers first to see if an annuity is the best for your situation, because in many cases you might be better off without buying one.

Feel free to contact an expert Certified Financial Planner that can run your numbers for free and give you an objective opinion on how you retirement can look like in the next 5 to 15 years.

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