Author Topic: Does anybody have any experience with TIAA-Cref  (Read 6919 times)

Miaow1

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 14
Does anybody have any experience with TIAA-Cref
« on: July 07, 2014, 10:50:35 PM »
Hi
Tiaa-Cref holds my 403b and with everyone lauding Vanguard I am a little concerned. So far I have been happy with them so am just checking other people's experience.Is it not mentioned because it is a niche company or is there some other reason.

Rural

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4880
Re: Does anybody have any experience with TIAA-Cref
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2014, 06:08:17 AM »
Hi
Tiaa-Cref holds my 403b and with everyone lauding Vanguard I am a little concerned. So far I have been happy with them so am just checking other people's experience.Is it not mentioned because it is a niche company or is there some other reason.


There are several of us here with TIAA-CREF for our retirement funds, I think. Me, for one. Try to avoid the annuities and get the lowest expense ratio index fund you can. At least that's been my strategy, but the annuity bit is hard to figure out. Some of the funds are supposed to be outside annuities, and I'm hoping that I've interpreted correctly that I have the right mix in my 403(b). 


We also have access to a 457 plan where I work (you should see if you do, as well). I've recently discovered that my 457 is all annuity, but I think it's still worth it for saving pretax funds with no early withdrawal penalty once I leave my employer.


I'll be very interested to see the discussion here. I hope some of the people here who are much better at this than I am will put their two cents in.




iampatriciag

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 23
  • Location: Gig Harbor, WA
Re: Does anybody have any experience with TIAA-Cref
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2014, 09:56:48 AM »
I'm also with TIAA-Cref and recently switched a chunk of my Lifecycle/Target Date money into the Vanguard stock market index option there (VTSSX).  It's nice and cheap, I can watch it grow, and I can move things around pretty easily, so I saw that as a bonus.

ambimammular

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 397
  • Age: 42
  • Location: Indiana
Re: Does anybody have any experience with TIAA-Cref
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2014, 04:35:05 PM »
We've got TIAA-Cref, too. Not my favorite (Go Vanguard!!) it's much better than the American Funds that we had previously, with a 5.75 load. Shit you not.


PeteD01

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 415
Re: Does anybody have any experience with TIAA-Cref
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2014, 06:46:36 PM »
There are some unique investment choices with TIAA CREF, particularly the TIAA Traditional Annuity (stable value fund of sorts) and the TIAA Real Estate Account. In addition, turning qualified funds into income streams with TIAA CREF is one of the best options around. You need to check in with the Morningstar crowd:

http://socialize.morningstar.com/NewSocialize/forums/100000044.aspx

You are lucky to have the option to invest either now or with rollovers later into TIAA CREF employer sponsored retirement accounts. It is difficult to to figure out the details - almost like an alternate universe at times - but there are unique solutions for particular aspects of your retirement strategy not available anywhere else and you can't get them via a TIAA CREF IRA (which is open to anyone).

Rural

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4880
Re: Does anybody have any experience with TIAA-Cref
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2014, 08:25:57 PM »
There are some unique investment choices with TIAA CREF, particularly the TIAA Traditional Annuity (stable value fund of sorts) and the TIAA Real Estate Account. In addition, turning qualified funds into income streams with TIAA CREF is one of the best options around. You need to check in with the Morningstar crowd:

http://socialize.morningstar.com/NewSocialize/forums/100000044.aspx

You are lucky to have the option to invest either now or with rollovers later into TIAA CREF employer sponsored retirement accounts. It is difficult to to figure out the details - almost like an alternate universe at times - but there are unique solutions for particular aspects of your retirement strategy not available anywhere else and you can't get them via a TIAA CREF IRA (which is open to anyone).


I'll definitely follow up with that link, Pete, but I wish you'd tell us more if you understand it, because I'm right in the middle of that parallel universe with a 401(k) and a 457 account both, and I feel like I'm just keeping my head above water. My husband's options are all TIAA-CREF, too.

PeteD01

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 415
Re: Does anybody have any experience with TIAA-Cref
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2014, 04:56:46 AM »
There are some unique investment choices with TIAA CREF, particularly the TIAA Traditional Annuity (stable value fund of sorts) and the TIAA Real Estate Account. In addition, turning qualified funds into income streams with TIAA CREF is one of the best options around. You need to check in with the Morningstar crowd:

http://socialize.morningstar.com/NewSocialize/forums/100000044.aspx

You are lucky to have the option to invest either now or with rollovers later into TIAA CREF employer sponsored retirement accounts. It is difficult to to figure out the details - almost like an alternate universe at times - but there are unique solutions for particular aspects of your retirement strategy not available anywhere else and you can't get them via a TIAA CREF IRA (which is open to anyone).


I'll definitely follow up with that link, Pete, but I wish you'd tell us more if you understand it, because I'm right in the middle of that parallel universe with a 401(k) and a 457 account both, and I feel like I'm just keeping my head above water. My husband's options are all TIAA-CREF, too.

Do you have any specific questions?

Here are three things you need to figure out for each of your accounts to start with:

Which TIAA Traditional flavors do you have in your accounts?
TIAA is an attractive fixed income alternative to bond funds in the accumulation stage, depending on your time horizon and liquidity restrictions which vary between the different flavors.

Is TIAA Real Estate Account one of the investment options?
This is a nice real estate (not REIT) diversifier to be used with caution

Which index products, CREF or others, are available?
CREF index funds have higher ER than other index products but are not directly comparable because they are variable annuity products. Although as such they are very low cost you do not need annuities during the accumulation stage. I have access to Vanguard funds in my TIAA CREF account.


Link to the Bogleheads wiki:

http://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/TIAA-CREF
« Last Edit: July 09, 2014, 05:04:26 AM by PeteD01 »

Rural

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4880
Re: Does anybody have any experience with TIAA-Cref
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2014, 06:13:31 AM »
There are some unique investment choices with TIAA CREF, particularly the TIAA Traditional Annuity (stable value fund of sorts) and the TIAA Real Estate Account. In addition, turning qualified funds into income streams with TIAA CREF is one of the best options around. You need to check in with the Morningstar crowd:

http://socialize.morningstar.com/NewSocialize/forums/100000044.aspx

You are lucky to have the option to invest either now or with rollovers later into TIAA CREF employer sponsored retirement accounts. It is difficult to to figure out the details - almost like an alternate universe at times - but there are unique solutions for particular aspects of your retirement strategy not available anywhere else and you can't get them via a TIAA CREF IRA (which is open to anyone).


I'll definitely follow up with that link, Pete, but I wish you'd tell us more if you understand it, because I'm right in the middle of that parallel universe with a 401(k) and a 457 account both, and I feel like I'm just keeping my head above water. My husband's options are all TIAA-CREF, too.

Do you have any specific questions?

Here are three things you need to figure out for each of your accounts to start with:

Which TIAA Traditional flavors do you have in your accounts?
TIAA is an attractive fixed income alternative to bond funds in the accumulation stage, depending on your time horizon and liquidity restrictions which vary between the different flavors.

Is TIAA Real Estate Account one of the investment options?
This is a nice real estate (not REIT) diversifier to be used with caution

Which index products, CREF or others, are available?
CREF index funds have higher ER than other index products but are not directly comparable because they are variable annuity products. Although as such they are very low cost you do not need annuities during the accumulation stage. I have access to Vanguard funds in my TIAA CREF account.


Link to the Bogleheads wiki:

http://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/TIAA-CREF


Thanks, Pete. I guess my top question is whether there's any option within the company that is not an annuity-- I've tried several times to get a straight answer from the company with no luck. I really appreciate the Bogleheads link. Heading there now.

nordlead

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 146
Re: Does anybody have any experience with TIAA-Cref
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2014, 08:30:46 AM »
Thanks, Pete. I guess my top question is whether there's any option within the company that is not an annuity-- I've tried several times to get a straight answer from the company with no luck. I really appreciate the Bogleheads link. Heading there now.

If you have a mutual fund (essentially, if it has a ticker symbol), then it is not an annuity and you have no option to annuitize it. (funny that they were stressing this the other day as you can just dump it in an annuity with TIAA-CREF before retirement and annuitize that).

Also, if you purchased into an annuity fund, you can sometimes still get the money out, but you have the option to annuitize them (at least with all of the annuities that I have access to, your contract may be different). TIAA Real Estate, for example, typically allows you to take out cash once per quarter, and gives you the option to annuitize it at retirement.

I just found this out yesterday, but TIAA-CREF has a public page for every retirement group. So, as an example, you can go to www.tiaa-cref.org/SU and it'll take you to the page for Shenandoah University (I really thought it was going to give me Syracuse University though...). So, rather than copying all of the information (if you have questions), you can just post a link to your public page.

Rural

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4880
Re: Does anybody have any experience with TIAA-Cref
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2014, 08:44:16 AM »
Thanks, Pete. I guess my top question is whether there's any option within the company that is not an annuity-- I've tried several times to get a straight answer from the company with no luck. I really appreciate the Bogleheads link. Heading there now.

I just found this out yesterday, but TIAA-CREF has a public page for every retirement group. So, as an example, you can go to www.tiaa-cref.org/SU and it'll take you to the page for Shenandoah University (I really thought it was going to give me Syracuse University though...). So, rather than copying all of the information (if you have questions), you can just post a link to your public page.


Thanks! I didn't know about this, and it's cleared up that I can avoid annuities in my 457 plan but not in my 403(b).


 I apologise for not taking your suggestion to just post the link to my institution; it would be useful here but unfortunately would reveal more about where I live than I'm comfortable putting out online just in general. I know I'm more cautious than most people about that, but 1) I live in an area with a low population, so that makes identifying individual people easier and 2) I plan to live here until I die, so anything I reveal is permanent for me, no do-overs.

Rural

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4880
Re: Does anybody have any experience with TIAA-Cref
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2014, 08:45:18 AM »
OP, I didn't mean to hijack your thread! Are we getting at the answers to your questions?

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4859
Re: Does anybody have any experience with TIAA-Cref
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2014, 08:08:38 PM »
I found that many of the CREF funds I had invested in had "fail" or "watch" status because they were underperforming. So keep an eye on that! When I left my job and no longer had money going into the account, I chose to roll it over to Vanguard. Had I still been funding it, I just would have made more careful fund selections.

Trudie

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1721
Re: Does anybody have any experience with TIAA-Cref
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2014, 12:44:25 PM »
My husband has TIAA-CREF and I rolled over qualified investments from previous employers to TIAA-CREF.

Questions like this are tough to answer, because I am not sure what your goals are, how actively you want to manage your investments, and so forth.

Here's our situation - we used to pay an advisor 1.25% (face punch) to "manage" our investments.  I never saw the value.... after a few years we dumped him.  It's the classic scenario:  Even net of fees our advisor wasn't beating the benchmarks.  That said, we wanted to consolidate things and exercise more discretion over our own funds.  We looked at TIAA-CREF and at Vanguard and decided to stay with TIAA-CREF.  Because we had over 500K in assets, we are able to use a no-fee advisor who sits down with us once a year and works on allocations, applies their econometric research, and generally helps us with paperwork when we are tired of trying to do everything online ourselves (sometimes I like a little extra service.)  I like the fact that we have a "go to" person to grease the skids, and that TIAA CREF has brick and mortar location in the city where we hope to retire.

Not sure if Vanguard would be better, but all I can say is that TIAA-CREF has been very good and I'm not likely to overthink it.  Vanguard and TIAA-CREF both have great reputations and a lot at stake... I don't see them ever taking risky positions or failing to serve the interests of their clients.  I wouldn't worry about the minutiae.  If you're saving at Mustachian levels and following a reasonable allocation/strategy, it will work out either way.

We also hold some non-qualified money in Vanguard, but it is small in comparison to our total portfolio.

Trudie

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1721
Re: Does anybody have any experience with TIAA-Cref
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2014, 12:46:43 PM »
You can open a retirement fund/IRA at TIAA-CREF with a brokerage window.  You can buy most stocks and funds through that window, although I don't think you can buy Vanguard.