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Problems With TIAA-CREF Continue: One Reader’s Issue

This article was written by in Investing. 7 comments.


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.

tiaa-cref-logo.gifThe 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. That’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. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar dimes

Sounds like you should roll your money into another account! I know Vanguard allows that and I suppose pretty much every other broker would as well. Otherwise, you will be dealing with this hassle for the rest of your life. Just hope that they go bankrupt instead of merging with whoever you move to.

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avatar tinyhands

Please write to your state Attorney General. When enough complaints have been filed, the AG will investigate and, if necessary, file suit on your behalf. You are entitled to be treated fairly in your dealings.

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avatar richard magat

WHY HAS TIAA CREF NOT INFORMed SUBSCRIBERS ABOUT THE CONSEQUENCES TO THEM OF THE FINANCIAL CRISIS?

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avatar Retiree

TIAA-Creef website and phone have been effectively unavailable for trading over the past week from 2 pm to 4 pm. They say they are busy, but they failed to notify the clients via email or phone of their “problem”. On Friday Oct 10, I tried over for over hour to make a trade on my retirement account and could not log on or reach them by phone. By the time I got through the phone, it was past 4 pm and they said that they were sorry. Has anyone else had problems with access to their retirement accounts over the past week? I appreciate your comments.

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avatar Margaret Rossomano

I usually receive my monthly amount by automatic deposit to my account. Last deposit made was 12/1/08. As of today 1/5/09,I still have not received anything.
Please help me. Thanks

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avatar Margaret Rossomano

My problem was easily solved. The term of this account ended on 12/1/08. I mistakenly thought it would end on the day I began receiving the 1st check.

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avatar Linda Hunt

I’m 70 1/2, when the IRS requires I start taking money out of my retirement accounts. I spent and hour…AN HOUR…on the phone with TIAA after they first REFUSED to give me the percentage required by the IRS. They wanted me to take it out of another account I have with another company. So they wouldn’t “lose” money they said. A few years ago, I thought if I rolled my money over into an IRA elsewhere I’d have control of it which I don’t have with TIAA. Well, they only allow me to rollover a piddly amount OVER A 10 YEAR PERIOD!

I’ve figured out I’m going to be dead before I can get all or even most of my money out of this sham.

Something is terribly wrong with this company. A retirement account is supposed to help suppliment income, help with emergencies, etc. I can’t do any of that with TIAA.

They need to be investigated. I want my money and I want it NOW>

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