My Roth IRA and SEP IRA are held at TIAA-CREF. I’ve had some problems with them in the past, which I’ve outlined a number of times. Most recently I noticed that my contributions for 2005 were included on my 2006 tax form. Their explanation was simply that 2005 contributions made during 2006 would appear on the tax form. I am hoping this won’t cause any problems.
The company’s general poor service has been well documented. I selected them originally because of their low barrier to entry; when I first started investing in an IRA, I didn’t have then $2,000 minimum required by Vanguard.
Yesterday, readers were kind enough to email their latest adventure, involving an issue with the annuities side of the TIAA-CREF house. T and R from Dilworth, Minnesota submit:
TIAA-CREF sent us a notice a week prior to our annual annuity payment saying it would be delayed due to a change in the computer system. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s right ONE WEEK notice. So we called, and they said they would put a note to send the check by DHL so we could get it overnight when they wrote the check.
A follow up call says they sent the check by regular mail. We had even offered to pay to get it overnight.
We aren’t permitted to change our plan, not even our payment date, but TIAA-CREF can act like a little dictator and change things, and then not assist us in adjusting to the problems they created.
2006 was a bad year due to medical expenses, and we have no reserves left. We needed our payment on time. Someone needs to investigate why TIAA-CREF can change our annuity payment date when we can not change the date. There’s something very one-sided about this.
Here is my observation. This “change in the computer system” excuse has been TIAA-CREF’s method of operation for over a year. That was their excuse when my SEP IRA was not funded with the money I transferred. Here’s the original CNN article from February 2006 in which TIAA-CREF claimed “computer problems” caused major issues for a large number of customers.
It is appalling that similar problems — and this excuse — continue over a year later.
Updated February 6, 2012 and originally published March 4, 2007.