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I have a "variable annuity" with Lincoln. They have a "historic unit values" page that says fund X increased 40% since the end of last year, to yesterday. And that fund Y increased 23%.

But they also have a "fund performance" PDF dated 30 SEP 2015 that says fund X has ALWAYS lost money (32% over one year) and fund Y has an average annual gain since inception of 5% but a 19% loss over one year.

Every time I have called Lincoln with questions, I have found that the people answering the phone know less about it than I do. And either I don't know much or one of those two sources is completely wrong.

What is the explanation?

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    Do the "historic unit values" capture splits properly? If not then what looks like a gain may actually be a loss as a reverse split could happen, e.g. taking 2 nickels to return a dime that is later only worth 8 cents make look like a gain compared to 5 cents but was 10 cents initially. Do the fund performance files state specific dates? Sometimes specific time periods may be used for referencing performance. – JB King Dec 18 '15 at 19:29
  • I considered splits, but it didn't seem likely that a split would make a +40% vs. -32% difference. It also seemed odd that Lincoln would maintain a fund since 2004 that ALWAYS lost money according to the PDF. The PDF for each fund has one day, one month, three months, one year, three years, five years, and ten years. All negative for X and mostly negative for Y. – WGroleau Dec 18 '15 at 19:53
  • What exactly prompted you to buy in to this remarkable investment? – JoeTaxpayer Apr 14 '17 at 14:03
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    What's the name of the funds? – xiaomy Apr 14 '17 at 14:58
  • Lincoln was my employer's offering. Before I retired, the employer match outweighed the volatility. But now that nothing is going in, I pay more attention to the HUGE ups and downs and the long term average gain/loss. I don't recall the name. I don't think I selected the fund I asked about, but I have slept since I asked the question. – WGroleau Apr 14 '17 at 17:57
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I think what you are looking at are absolute gain/loss over one year and annualized (CAGR) values. My take would be that fund X having lost 32% over one year has clocked a -ve CAGR over its entire lifetime (it is possible to lose 32% over 1 year especially if it is somehow equity linked) or over its lifetime (may be 2008) it lost a goodly chunck of its value and shows a -ve CAGR. Fund Y also would have undergone similar situation, so that over 5 years it has shown a -ve CAGR.

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