Michelle and I just finished reviewing a client's variable annuity. If you own one, it is imperative that you have your financial advisor review all of the costs and benefits. I'm not suggesting that they aren't useful in some scenarios, but they aren't all created equal. Some of them are very, very expensive with poor returns, and so complex that many advisors don't even fully understand them.
You might ask why they're popular. And the answer is: because of the guarantees. However, these guarantees can be costly if they are expensive, the returns are terrible, and you don't understand what you've bought.
In summary, make sure your financial advisor is aware of, and comfortable with, all of the components of your financial plan.