Retirement Planning Products and Services

EQUI-VEST® series 201 for 403(b) TSA plans

Strategies for Retirement Planning

Investment Options

Features and Benefits

Innovative Communication Tools

For more complete details, please download the current EQUI-VEST® variable deferred annuity prospectus, any applicable prospectus supplements and the product fact card, above.

  • Highlights


Retirement Savings and 403(b) Plans

Section 403(b) of the Internal Revenue Code allows public schools, colleges, universities, hospitals, and 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations to establish retirement savings plans for employees, called “403(b)” or “403(b) tax-sheltered annuity (TSA)” plans.

Employers who sponsor a plan can offer annuities and/or custodial accounts as investment products for contributions made to the plan.

EQUI-VEST® and 403(b) Plans

The EQUI-VEST® variable deferred annuity can be used as a funding option for 403(b) plans.

EQUI-VEST® offers a convenient way to contribute to and invest for retirement.


EQUI-VEST® accepts pre-tax and Roth after-tax contributions (if your plan permits).

  • Pre-tax contributions and any earnings are not subject to federal income tax until they are withdrawn or distributed.
  • Distributions of Roth 403(b) contributions are tax-free; distributions of earnings on Roth 403(b) contributions are also exempt from federal (and possibly state) income taxes if certain conditions are met.

Annual Contribution Limits for 403(b) Plans1

  • Maximum:  $17,500 or 100% of compensation, whichever is less.
  • Catch-Up:2  $5,500 if you are at least age 50; this is in addition to the maximum amount shown above.

Investment Options

EQUI-VEST® offers a wide range of investment options. Based on your retirement planning needs and risk tolerance, you can select from a variety of options:

Key Features

EQUI-VEST® has several valuable features to help you meet your retirement savings goals, including:

  • Free Transfers Among Investment Options (transfers may be subject to restrictions) 
  • Investment Simplifier
  • Asset Rebalancing
  • Special Dollar Cost Averaging
  • Loans (subject to plan availability)
  • Systematic Withdrawal Option
  • Guaranteed Death Benefit
  • Beneficiary Continuation Option
Accessing Your Account Value7

Distributions and withdrawals under 403(b) plans are generally available when you reach age 59½, terminate employment, have a financial hardship, are disabled, or in the event of your death. Loans, if permitted under your employer’s plan, offer an alternate way to access your 403(b) savings before retirement.

You have several options for accessing your account value when a distribution is permitted:

  • Unlimited partial withdrawals
  • Lump sum
  • Installments (fixed period or fixed amount)
  • Life income options

Federal law requires that minimum distributions begin by April 1 of the year after you either attain age 70½ or your employment ends with the sponsoring employer, whichever comes later.

If you are eligible for a withdrawal, you can access up to 10% of your EQUI-VEST® account value each year without incurring a withdrawal charge (free withdrawal amount). This amount is reduced by any prior withdrawals taken during the year. For withdrawals above the free withdrawal amount, a withdrawal charge may apply.

The withdrawal charge is based on how long each contribution has been in the contract. For withdrawals that exceed the free withdrawal amount, the amount of the withdrawal charge we deduct is equal to 5% of any contribution withdrawn attributable to contributions made during the current and five prior contract years measured from the date of the withdrawal. Withdrawal charges will not apply after the completion of 12 contract years.

Withdrawal charges may be waived under certain circumstances, such as disability, financial hardship, required minimum distributions and nursing home confinement. (Waivers are subject to state availability.) See the prospectus for more information, including variations in Texas.

Innovative Account Management Tools

 EQUI-VEST® provides a full complement of communications that can help you monitor your account progress and help you make decisions that may result in a more secure future. You will receive:
  • A “Welcome Guide,” which is a handy reference guide
  • Confirmation notices that summarize account activity
  • Quarterly account statements.

Account notices and statements as well as prospectus updates, reports, and related notices are generally available online, by email (eDelivery), or through regular mail. Delivery options can be changed at any time. All available documents are stored online whenever you need them.

You can also check your EQUI-VEST® account:

  • Online, and
  • By phone
    • 24-hour automated voice information line: (800) 755-7777
    • Customer service representatives: (800) 628-6673
    • TDD: (800) 855-2880

Important Considerations

Variable annuities are long-term financial products designed for retirement purposes. In essence, an annuity is a contractual agreement in which payments are made to an insurance company, which agrees to pay out an income or a lump sum amount at a later date. There are fees and charges associated with variable annuities, which include, but are not limited to, mortality and expense risk charges, sales and surrender charges, administrative fees, and charges for optional benefits. For costs and complete details of coverage, speak to your financial professional. The variable investment options offered in this contract will fluctuate in value and are subject to market risk, including loss of principal. All guarantees described herein are subject to the claims-paying ability of AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company. Guarantees do not apply to variable investment options. Because this EQUI-VEST® annuity contract would be used to fund a 403(b) TSA plan, you should be aware that such annuities do not provide tax deferral benefits beyond those already provided by the Internal Revenue Code. Before purchasing, you should consider whether its features and benefits beyond tax deferral meet your needs and goals. You may also want to consider the relative features, benefits and costs of this annuity with any other investment that you may use in connection with your retirement plan or arrangement.Certain types of contracts, features and benefits may not be available in all jurisdictions or in all 403(b) plans. EQUI-VEST® series 201 is not available in Puerto Rico.

1    The minimum contribution is $20 under EQUI-VEST®. Contribution limits are effective through December 31, 2013, and may be indexed for inflation.

2    If your employer’s plan permits, an additional catch-up option may be available. Check with your financial professional for more information.

3    The Structured Investment Option tracks the S&P 500 Price Return Index so if the index goes up at the end of the Segment’s investment period (which lasts one year), amounts in the Segment earn the same rate of return as the Index up to the Segment’s “Performance Cap Rate.” If the S&P 500 Price Return Index goes down at the end of the Segment’s investment period, a -10% Segment Buffer protects against the first 10% of losses. While you are protected from some downside risk, if the negative return is in excess of the Segment Buffer, there is risk of substantial loss of principal. AXA Equitable may, upon advanced notice, discontinue, suspend, or change Segment offerings. The Structured Investment Option prospectus contains more information on Segment offering limitations and restrictions. The Structured Investment Option does not involve an investment in any underlying portfolio. Instead, it is an obligation of, and subject to, the claims-paying ability of AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company. The S&P Price Return Index comprises 500 of the largest companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy. Larger, more established companies may not be able to attain potentially higher growth rates of smaller companies, especially during extended periods of economic expansion. Standard & Poor’s®, S&P 500® and Standard & Poor’s 500™ are trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services, LLC, (“Standard & Poor’s”) and have been licensed for use by AXA Equitable. The Structured Investment Option is not sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by Standard & Poor’s and Standard & Poor’s does not make any representation regarding the advisability of investing in the Structured Investment Option.

4    You may incur higher costs with these portfolios than if you were to invest directly in the underlying portfolios. However, not all of the underlying portfolios may be available as investment options in your contract. An investor investing directly in the underlying portfolios would not receive the asset allocation and rebalancing services provided by AXA Equitable.

5    The Target Date Allocation Portfolios are not guaranteed at any time including the target date. Your account value may be less than your original account value at the target date. 

6    Guarantees are based on the claims-paying ability of AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company. The GIO is part of AXA Equitable’s general account. No more than 25% of any contribution can be allocated to the GIO. Also, we will not process any transfer requests that would result in more than 25% of your account value in the GIO. These allocation and transfer restrictions are currently waived in all states. We will notify participants 45 days in advance if these restrictions are reimposed. There may also be restrictions on transfers out of the GIO. See the prospectus for more details.

7    Amounts distributed from your contract prior to age 59½ that are not rolled over to another eligible plan will be subject to federal and, where applicable, state income tax. A 10% federal income tax penalty may also apply to the distribution. Special rules apply if money is withdrawn from a Segment in the Structured Investment Option (refer to the Structured Investment Option prospectus for specifics). Consult your tax advisor if you have questions.

This is not a complete description of all material provisions of the EQUI-VEST® contract. Variable annuities such as EQUI-VEST®, are offered by prospectus only. The prospectus, the prospectus for the underlying portfolios, the prospectus for the Structured Investment Option, and any applicable supplements contain detailed information about the EQUI-VEST® contract, including risks, charges, expenses, investment objectives, limitations, and restrictions. See the top of this webpage for the prospectus or contact your financial professional to obtain these documents. You should carefully read the prospectus and any prospectus supplements before purchasing a contract. We offer other variable annuity contracts with different fees, charges and features. For more information on availability, contact us (212-554-1234). Variable annuities are issued by AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company and are co-distributed by affiliates AXA Advisors, LLC, and AXA Distributors, LLC, members SIPC, FINRA.

Please be advised that this page is not intended as legal or tax advice. Accordingly, any tax information provided on this page is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by any taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer. The tax information was written to support the promotion or marketing of the transaction(s) or matter(s) addressed and you should seek advice based on your particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor.

EQUI-VEST® is a registered service mark of AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company, New York, NY 10104. EQUI‑VEST® is issued by AXA Equitable and is co-distributed by affiliates, AXA Advisors, LLC, and AXA Distributors, LLC, New York, NY 10104.

AXA Equitable, AXA Advisors, and AXA Distributors are affiliated companies and do not provide legal or tax advice. Consult with your attorney and/or tax advisor regarding your individual circumstances.

Contract form #s: 2006BASE-I-A/B, 2006BASE-A/B, 2008EQVTSA201, 2008EQV201, 2008EQVBASE201-A, 2010SIO201-I/G, and any state variations.

GE-63112 (08/11)

Variable Annuities: Are Not Deposits of Any Bank · Are Not FDIC Insured · Are Not Insured by Any Federal Government Agency · Are Not Bank Guaranteed · May Go Down in Value

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Retirement planning options with annuity products and life insurance - AXA Equitable