As featured in The Wall Street Journal, Money Magazine, and more!

Problems With TIAA-Cref

This article was written by in Investing. 1,431 comments.

Apparently I was not the only person having problems with TIAA-Cref.

When I contacted the company to report my missing contribution, the customer service representative was very helpful and assured me the account would be adjusted. I had complete confidence, and when I checked my account yesterday, the deposit had been made and backdated. My minor situation was resolved to my satisfaction.

Do you have any thoughts about TIAA-Cref? Read the over 400 comments below and leave your own if you have an experience with TIAA-Cref to share.

Updated March 7, 2011 and originally published January 11, 2006. 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.

Email Email Print Print
Points: ♦127,615
Rank: Platinum
About the author

Luke Landes 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 Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 1431 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar ethicwatch March 21, 2014 at 2:27 pm

For those interested in getting a better understanding of the group annuity options sec.gov/Archives/Edgar/data1364783/0001… very informative.

Reply to this comment

avatar Pat March 21, 2014 at 2:37 pm

Can you reprint this link ? Doesn’t seem to work ?

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch March 21, 2014 at 6:31 pm

I tried to go back but I have the search information this was a sample group annuity contract used as an exhibit for an SEC inquiry. I don’t see why TIAA wouldn’t't supply a blank or specific document from a employer plan 800-842-2733 TIAA. http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1364783/00011932509085273/dex994el.htm. This is the insurance policy that governs lifetime income and other options. Group Flexible Premium Deferred Annuity, Fixed and Variable Accumulations non participating.

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch March 22, 2014 at 7:35 am

The TIAA group annuity is tied to a annuity purchase fund. The policyholder is the employer. There is an age attained payout based on a one-life with 10 year guaranteed period beginning at when the employee has completed years and months. The basis used for a single premium immediate annuity is included in section b. The payout sample begins at age 45. The employer policy determines age attained to receive full benefits. How many participants are made aware of the terms outlined in the group annuity which cover annuitization for lifetime income from TIAA. S
o the participant can choose a annuity start date, but the total payout is released at the age attained determined in the policy held by the employer, the participant thus begins with a single premium immediate annuity from investment accounts annuitize until they reach “age attained”. This seems worse than the Vermont professors lawsuit. Participants own there accumulations once vested. The application should serve as a written request to change the annuity date.

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch March 23, 2014 at 7:56 pm

Lifetime income request is a distribution so in 1991 aftertax annuities from frozen accounts are available. It appears a decision was made to use accumulations in the lifetime annuitization process. The annuitants decides the amount of accumulation to annuitize for lifetime income, immediate annuities are purchased, single life annuities, this prolongs/ protects the general account and the employer accounts. In the past annuitization for lifetime income was directly from the general account. This process uses the participants monies to the benefit of TC and the employer at the participants expense. This is probably unethical and illegal.

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard March 23, 2014 at 11:26 pm

Unethical fer shur.
Ethicswatch is 100% right.
Always take your proceeds in straight cash.
Anything else is robbery…

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch March 24, 2014 at 7:42 am

In our contracts and certificates from TIAA and CREF there is a exclusivity benefit clause the benefits are for the exclusive benefit of participant, beneficiaries. In the documents plus the plan document there is language that states “no amount held under the plan will benefit the Plan Sponsor, any employer, the Plan Administrator. It will be impossible at anytime for plan assets to be used for or diverted to purposes other than the exclusive benefit of participants, beneficiaries and alternate payees.” There is also language that states “no third party beneficiaries”. So I raise objection to the single life immediate annuity used in the lifetime income annuity process. One-life and two life payment come from the general account of TIAA. This is the guaranteed insurance product. For any questions about your immediate annuities related to lifetime income or fixed period contact the Insurance Planning Center for TCLife which handles aftertax annuities at 877-825-0411. Note: TCLife doesn’t have its own employees they share employees with TIAA CREF, I personally believe it exists only to prolong monies being taken from the general account for lifetime income payments.

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch March 25, 2014 at 1:32 pm

In your payout directory there is a statement related to the immediate annuity ” rates applicable to Investment Account accumulations transferred to immediately provide an annuity Benefit Purchase amount from the Traditional Annuity. Accumulations are transferred from a separate account to the Traditional Annuity to purchase an annuity involving life contingencies with benefits beginning immediately, the resulting benefit purchase amount from the Traditional Annuity will be determined on whichever of these basis produces the smallest benefit purchase amount.” ” the basis in use for any single premium immediate annuities being offered by TIAA for contracts of the same class as this contract.” Which supports the use of aftertax annuities in the fixed period and lifetime annuitization process.
The impact depends on the group annuity language of the employer plan.

Reply to this comment

avatar Linda March 24, 2014 at 1:39 pm

Are the “Wealth Managers” paid by TIAA-CREF? Do they pay TIAA-CREF for access to the investors? Or, is neither true?

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard March 25, 2014 at 9:35 am

Wealth Management Advisors (WMAs) are full-time TIAA-CREF employees with at least a few years experience at the company, perhaps a decade or more. My WMA “Ed” handled the thousand or so employees at my former employer, though I think they focus mainly on folks with $500,000 or more in T-C. He worked out of a local T-C office in the Boston area.
When it comes time to consider retirement payout options, “Ed” has a team of helpers at the various large offices to facilitate paperwork. Mine was “Brad” in Charlotte…

Reply to this comment

avatar Linda March 25, 2014 at 10:24 am

Thank you. You seem knowledgeable so, I’d like to impose on you for a follow-up question.
In response to my questions to the WMA, about the amount, of the TIAA-CREF credit, for participants, that the plan administrator (a public university) kept in fees, he quoted the TIAA-CREF “Relationship Manager”, as saying the issue of disclosure of fees was left to the university (who have shown an unwillingness to disclose). Since TIAA-CREF’s interests are theoretically aligned with investors and they know or can deduce the fees, can you speculate on why they weren’t forthcoming with the information? The letter I received from TIAA-CREF asked me to confirm the amount of credit I received was correct, and I don’t have any information on which to base a reply, what would you do?
It’s a disappointing practice, for a company, with trust, as a selling point, yes?

Reply to this comment

avatar Sam March 25, 2014 at 5:06 pm

Linda, I couldn’t agree with you more. The issue with WMA’s is that they are told to give the impression that they are salaried and objective when, in fact, a significant portion of their compensation is based on their ability to entice existing TC clients to move more of their money into TC specifically the managed products. Obviously, this is designed to generate higher fees and ergo revenue for the company. The concern that i have is that the objectivity and subsequently the trustworthiness of the Advisors at TC is called into question. It seems that they are indeed “selling” rather than offering a service, as they represent.


Reply to this comment

avatar Linda March 26, 2014 at 8:59 am

Thank you for the clarity.
All of my questions about TIAA began this fall. I asked the WMA why the TIAA Institute paired with the vice-president of the Arnold Foundation, to co-write research that undermines pensions. The WMA wrote back that he would ask someone inside the company.
Employees think of themselves, as inside a company, yes?

avatar The Wizard March 26, 2014 at 12:20 pm

I believe Sam is correct in that WMAs do get additional compensation related to retained assets under management. That tends to make sense from the company’s perspective and isn’t totally evil.
Nowhere has TIAA-CREF ever claimed to be a charitable organization.
They also have some sort of Investment Management service that I could opt into for an additional fee, but I (obviously) said no to that…

avatar Ernie September 22, 2014 at 6:37 pm

Sam, you are absolutely right. I have a sizable chunk of change with TIAA-CREF and my assigned rep will barely give me the time of day except to spend an hour trying to convince me to move my other assets to TIAA. I say you get what you pay for. The low fee funds they have are nice, but the service is terrible. I am now finding that there are errors on the Web site, like the available funds in one place not matching the list of available funds for the same employer in another place. In addition, did I say that there arcane requirement that you manually type BOTH your login and password gives me constant heartburn. I use complex passwords managed by a password manager. This makes for a long and arduous login procedure for me. Finally, the most grievous is I just completed a correlation analysis on the available funds they offer to my institution. I don’t know who decides on this list, but they are all so highly correlated you cannot construct a portfolio that has a diverse list of assets. This means you are running with a higher risk portfolio for the same return when compared to a truly diversified portfolio that would have the same return.

avatar The Wizard March 26, 2014 at 12:15 pm

I’ve never been employed by T-C, I’m just a long-term participant. And at my institution, T-C was and still is the only choice of retirement plan, so it’s not like I could have chosen to put everything in Vanguard (where I have my Roth IRA) instead.
That being said, I’ve never worried about any “fees” my employer may have had to pay T-C to administer the plan there.
My focus has been more on the net total return of my investments with them, that’s all…

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch March 26, 2014 at 3:21 pm

The real question is how much are sponsors paid for administrative services? Do these fees serve as a justification to institute New products that encourage asset retention? Wealth Management could be in direct conflict with IRC rules that govern retirement plans. Then there is the possibility that wealth management could step on the spirit and intent of “exclusive benefit” of participants and beneficiaries. Also some participants with wealth managers might experience diminished mental capacity and not understand the strategies employed. So wealth management as it relates to this company might require a review by the regulators. The recent settlements support such scrutiny.

avatar Sam March 26, 2014 at 1:02 pm

LInnda absolutely the WM Advisors are employed by TC that is why, in my opinion, have a conflict. There is the opportunity for you as a participant to have an advisor from another firm provide you professional advice about the money that you have at TC and leave the money in the plan….and yes you do have the opportunity in some plans to use other funds. Either way I would encourage you to seek objective outside advice. TC claims that their WM advisors are objective but I fail to see that since they are paid both salary and commission based on what products they sell to TC clients…specifically they get more if they move clients to a TC product. Seems a bit incestuous!

Hope this helps.

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard March 26, 2014 at 1:16 pm

Now hold on, Sam. It should be clear to anyone that employees of an investment company are going to work for the interest of the company to some degree, no?

I do believe that they do NOT receive “commissions” from new purchases similar to front-end loads on old-style mutual funds. Rather, they get some sort of “bonus” based on asset retention, so that if I move $500K from T-C to Vanguard, my WMA takes a small hit for that.

The main purpose from MY point of view of having a WMA is to FACILITATE transactions with T-C. So that instead of trying to start some sort of monthly payment, RMD, or annuity payout on my own, I tell my WMA what I want and he/she makes sure I get the proper forms to do what I want in a timely manner.

My WMA has given me “personalized” investment recommendations based on some sort of Ibbotson analysis, but I did not like it and threw it out. Better to have your own independent Financial Analyst, whether yourself or someone else, not an employee of Vanguard, Fidelity, or TIAA-CREF…

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch March 26, 2014 at 3:25 pm

I do believe TIAA is a stock insurance company with CREF as the investment arm. The main purpose of these companies is retirement income.

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard March 27, 2014 at 12:11 am

That was their original purpose starting in 1918, yes, but they’ve broadened out a lot since then, for better or worse…

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch March 27, 2014 at 10:42 am

Our contracts and certificates from public employer plans are simply stated and reflective of the original mission, the payout process is reflective of the expanded mission of asset retention within the employer accounts and the TIAA General fund.

avatar ethicwatch March 26, 2014 at 3:36 pm

They could develop a computer-based system to handle supplying proper forms bypassing the bonus seeking wealth manager/ advisors. Facilitating the needs of participants should be foremost avoiding any artificial class distinctions. Maybe there should be another subsidiary for wealth management eligible participants. Wizard, if you receive extra attention for being an official cheerleader good for you, you provide some inside information most participants would not otherwise be exposed.

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard March 27, 2014 at 12:14 am

Official cheerleader? Well, I’d need extra payment for that.
I just paid into T-C for 41 years, that’s all.
And now I’m in the withdrawal phase.
Alzheimer’s hasn’t set in yet, so I’m still rather lucid and able to deal with written instructions in English…

Reply to this comment

avatar R Parker April 14, 2014 at 6:39 pm

I am so glad I found the site and your comments. It is so basic, but I have been paralyzed from retiring, I have not been able to contact an independent Financial Analyst to compare the spiel I got from TIAA-CREF’s WMA regarding rolling my outside funds into TIAA-CREF. Because I have more than $500K in TIAA, they said I was receiving this investment review as a special benefit.

How do I find a good, unbiased independent FA? Thanks a million.

Reply to this comment

avatar Lester April 14, 2014 at 6:45 pm

R Parker,
Seriously consider whether you want to roll your funds into or out of TIAA-CREF. Don’t trust them. Their employees get paid to stop the outflow of money, including yours. “Special benefit” ? Ha. More like trying to make you feel good about them so you won’t roll out. Don’t buy it.

Reply to this comment

avatar Lazarus March 26, 2014 at 1:26 pm

If T-C employees do get some sort of “bonus” based on asset retention, then it makes perfect sense why my order to move out my funds was ignored, why they delay and delay in responding to any order to move out funds. Sounds like conflict with the interests of the participant big time.

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard March 27, 2014 at 12:09 am

Yes it does.
The more fish they keep in the net, the better it is for them.
You got that part right…

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch March 27, 2014 at 7:27 am

When TC ventured outside of providing retirement income to participants they ended up in the “not admitting any wrongdoing” sphere where multimillion dollar settlements have become their norm. Asset retention is the common thread in recent disputes that resulted in settlements. These settlements fly in the face of the collective exclusive benefit. It’s our retirement monies be very careful. I believe the next big dispute is over the use of after tax monies in the payout process. Lifetime and fixed period payouts begin with immediate annuities from separate accounts, single or Joint life annuity. Lifetime income annuity is one or two life from the TIAA General fund. The bottom line is asset retention at the expense of annuitants and beneficiaries. This undermines the intent of exclusive benefit in the individual and group contracts and certificates “no amount under the plan will benefit the Plan Sponsor, any employer, the Plan Administrator, it will be impossible at anytime for plan assets to be used for or diverted to purposes other than the exclusive benefit of participants, beneficiaries and alternate payees.”

Reply to this comment

avatar Linda March 27, 2014 at 8:53 am

Your comments are perceptive. What is the source of the final sentence quote about diversion? When a plan administrator fee is reasonable, there’s no need for secrecy?

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch March 29, 2014 at 4:07 pm

The language is in your contracts/certificates, group and supplemental policies, state legislation for defined contribution plans.

avatar ethicwatch March 26, 2014 at 8:04 pm

We need the actual group,ra and gsra policies on the employer website with participant access through the TC secure website. Access to the policies will assist in fully understanding the specifics of the benefits the premiums provide.

Reply to this comment

avatar Pat March 26, 2014 at 11:53 pm

I agree 100% with your comment. ERISA already requires that information is to be provided in accurate and comprehensive language. Yet for some reason TIAA fails to comply with Federal regulations. They have been fined, lost their most recent lawsuit yet continue to deny any wrongdoing. What will it take to get them to adhere to the law ?

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch March 27, 2014 at 10:32 am

The company’s “wall street” elite really thinks they are operating a private hedge fund, retirement is the annoying “side” business.

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch April 4, 2014 at 3:24 pm

There is an article September 6, 1989 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Ed “Ruling clears way for major changes in College Pensions, SEC approves settlement of fight between TIAA CREF and Critics by Carolyn J. Mooney. You can Google. The agreement should be in SEC archives. The 10 year TPA was a part of the agreement, they did not include the language as an amendment to the contracts maybe it’s in contracts issued after 1989.

Reply to this comment

avatar Linda March 27, 2014 at 9:11 pm

The “TIAA-CREF Charter defines its purpose or charitable mission as: To forward the cause of education and promote the welfare of the teaching profession and other charitable purposes…” Boards and management who fail to act in a manner, consistent with the company’s mission, should be replaced.
Public universities, act more like “for-profits”, when they stockpile contributions, building billion dollar endowments. The politically and economically driven, privatization of public universities, will (1) open the endowment coffers to hedge fund owners and (2) eliminate the university competition for investment opportunities. Privatization, then, kills two birds with one stone for the money guys. It should be clear to everyone, what will happen to the existing, university endowment managers.
It’s estimated that Bill Gates spent $2 billion in the past two years, for corporate reform of public education. Then, last week Microsoft and Pearson announced a plan to partner to develop the curriculum for the new plan.
Protections in copyright laws, provide corporations with a monopoly business opportunity for (1) product sales to schools and (2) the sale of data, mined from the profiling and testing of students.
My recommendation is, instead of donations to universities, pay it forward, and give money to the Center for Media and Democracy, so that the next generation has a chance. Or, give your money to politicians who are working for the people, like Elizabeth Warren. Your money may offset PAC donations from financial firms.

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch March 30, 2014 at 11:05 am

Reviewing my TIAA contract and Cref certificates item 36. Correspondence and Requests for Benefits. “No notice, application, form, premium payment, or request for benefits will be deemed recieved by us unless it is received at our home office”. All benefits are payable at our home office” TIAA, 730 Third Ave, NY 10017 this is for lifetime payouts, fixed period and interest payments” my contracts are from 1991. Did this language remain in newer contacts? “No other person or institution is a party to this certificate”. You…May have CREF pay the value of some or all your Accumulation Units to TIAA for the purchase of a fixed dollar contract. Where are these payout particulars shared with participants on the information packed TIAA website? This should be a popup. For certain payout options you must contact the TIAA home office in NY in writing. If you want to change your annuity date you must contact TIAA in writing in the NY Office. Does this mean that my payout remains in immediate annuities until I the contract/certificateholder contacts TIAA in writing to support my preferences noted on my lifetime annuity authorization application which starts the process? The authorization application says onelife in a smaller font then Single Life in a larger font then joint life. They really need to coordinate the language on all documents for consistency. What happens if you don’t send a written request for a payment option to TIAA NYC. This is for monies taken from the general fund and tiaa access accounts I guess.

Reply to this comment

avatar Pat March 30, 2014 at 11:28 am

This is a perfect example of how TIAA makes it difficult to understand your distribution options. My TIAA contract makes no mention of a cash withdrawal option, and the University’s plan refers back to the non-informative TIAA contract. Thus you are forced to contact TIAA and are at the mercy of verbal information from their questionable customer reps. I agree that TIAA should clearly provide written information as to a particular annuitant’s distribution options and ERISA requires it. Perhaps if enough people complained to FINRA or the SEC things will change.

Reply to this comment

avatar zkeith March 30, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Pat, this is exactly why I’ve mentioned several times on this board that using TIAA-CREF’s messaging feature is much better than using the phone. First, one seems to get responses from knowledgeable representatives, you have a written record of the response, and you have a person to whom you can attribute the response. I’ve been very pleased with the message service. The downside is that you may not get a response for 48 hours according to the message instructions, but I generally get a response in 24 hours or so. And if you need additional information, you can contact that person again unlike when one uses the phone. Try it; I think you will like it.

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch March 30, 2014 at 3:44 pm

The individual contracts/ certificate state the options covered by the group and supplemental policies between TIAA and CREF with your employer. The Transfer Payout Annuity, minimum distribution are not included. On the SEC website Edgar Search Results there is a copy of each policy for each retirement plan, maybe the withdrawal language is simply started in the employer/policyholder documents. “the policyholder and TIAA can amend the agreement without consent of any other person provided such change does not reduce the benefit”. Maybe the policy governing your plan has withdrawal language or age attainment for others which is not in an individual’s contract/ certificate. I want the employer policy on the website with the Plan Summary. Participants purchase retirement benefits therefore these are consumer financial instruments/ benefits.

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard March 30, 2014 at 8:13 pm

Cryin out loud, EW, are you trying to make things difficult?
I coulda shredded my fricking T-C contract paperwork and it wouldn’t matter a whit.
We’re in the Interactive Age now, OK? Logon to your account, get your daily balance.
Email your WMA and arrange a payout scheme.
There are no handcuffs involved anymore…

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch March 30, 2014 at 8:45 pm

We are a nation of laws and contracts, we should read and understand. Wizard most participants are under employer plans, the employer is the policyholder. Most participants choose fixed period payouts. Lifetime income participants is lower, these are insurance products issued by TIAA, the contract/certificate language is simple. These payout should be easy and totally supported by technology, no need for a WMA. We are members of the higher ed community, reading is second nature I hope my comments bring clarity. Annuitization is irreversible.

Reply to this comment

avatar Pat March 30, 2014 at 11:35 pm

Why would you shred your contract when that is the determinate document as to how you receive your distributions ? Why would you rely on on a WMA who may or may not have your best interests or who may or may not provide you with accurate verbal information ? I agree this is the interactive age so I should be able to access my account, look at my particular distribution options and choose. Instead I am referred to the employer plan that refers to the TIAA contract that in turn does not contain all available distribution options ? And why are there asterisks on the website referring to allegedly more information, yet no matching additional info is provided? Benefits are federally mandated to be clear and comprehensive. Instead we get a circular catch-22 game that for reasons known only to TIAA fail to clearly spell out the actual benefits.

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard April 2, 2014 at 11:33 am

I’m not actually going to shred all my T-C contracts going back to the mid-1970s, but they are largely obsolete with the passage of time and were never intended to be a User’s Guide to income in retirement.
For instance, after 9/11/2001, T-C decided it was a good idea to have multiple full-up corporate locations; all my paperwork comes from Charlotte, not the New York mentioned in the contracts.
And as you mention yourself, their web interface continues to become more functional as time goes on…

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch April 2, 2014 at 9:17 am

This week for the first time in months you can access the forms to receive lifetime retirement income. There is a 6/13 date in the lowest left side of the contract. Which means anyone seeking lifetime income used the old totally messy form. The new form covers gra, ra, stable value. Unlike the old forms, the new form clearly starts with Single Life, I believe all lifetime payouts begin with immediate annuities. There is a explanation about the impact of vintages on the final payout. The employer confirmation information is clearer, you still can’t access and complete from the website.

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch April 2, 2014 at 9:36 am

You can complete the form from the web. The new form does not include fixed period information, this caused a lot of confusion for participants. There is probably a specific form for fixed period. I bet there is no reference to vintages on the fixed period application.

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard April 2, 2014 at 11:27 am

Can you post a link to where this is?
I’m logged onto my account and the best that I can find is this: https://www.tiaa-cref.org/public/support/forms/taking_from_account.html
But there’s no lifetime annuity option there.
I’m thinking perhaps T-C is nervous about putting those forms online since that’s largely an irreversible option…

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch April 2, 2014 at 2:55 pm

“Choosing Lifetime Retirement Income” in Google. But they advocate lifetime income from annuities in every government testimony and sponsor marketing materials, that’s what they do, retirement income. For years the local offices pushed fixed period payouts. I ran into the craziness when I applied for lifetime income for all my accumulations. They had moved away from the original payout scheme, I love old school schemes so I stuck to my original plan, the modern thing is your accounts remain open so you xcann send money back getting the same rate.

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard April 2, 2014 at 3:10 pm

Thanks, EW. Google finds this 18-page pdf file on their website, apparently hidden from casual view: http://www1.tiaa-cref.org/ucm/groups/content/@ap_ucm_p_frm_pub/documents/formdocument/tiaa01011758.pdf

I also annuitized a bit over half of my T-C accumulation just one year ago. But only a modest fraction in TIAA Traditional, another modest fraction in CREF Stock and the bulk in TREA.
And I agree that they don’t seem to be “pushing” annuitization as much as I expected they might. The report they generated for me 24 months ago just shows periodic withdrawals with my balance actually growing over time. But I think I gave them too low of a required annual income number…

avatar ethicwatch April 3, 2014 at 4:24 pm

If you have questions about your initial payouts single or Joint life contact TC Life Atlanta, Georgia 877-694-0305, variable annuity contracts VA 1.

avatar ethicwatch April 2, 2014 at 3:15 pm

Fixed period annuitants can get a discounted cash payout according to the contract an option is the Investment Horizon Annuity TIAA started offering May, 2013. The fixed period application was revised 6/13, it doesn’t reference vintages, so my understanding that vintages only apply to lifetime income payouts is validated.

Reply to this comment

avatar Pat April 2, 2014 at 5:40 pm

I just spoke with TIAA and they said a fixed period annuity is not the same as a TPA. Is that correct ? And if so would you know where I could find a definition of the various forms of annuities because I am getting very confused. Thanks. I appreciate all the info provided by the contributors to this forum.

avatar ethicwatch April 2, 2014 at 5:52 pm

Yes it’s true, but some use it to get their money out in less years. Just put the different payout options in Google, ie fixed period tiaa, lifetime tiaa, lifetime tiaa/cref variables, interest only tiaa, minimum distribution. You choose the option (s) and how much of your money and what accounts to use. You develop your income strategy. Pay no attention to brochure payout amounts employer plans are different.

avatar ethicwatch March 31, 2014 at 5:59 am

When TC decided to embrace wealth management all of its public information was careful designed to encourage wealth building. The problem was and remains the monies in the coffers are to provide retirement income. Not reading the options in original contracts and certificates leave participants to rely on the incomplete web information, which frustrates participants into seeking relief from advisors or like Wizard WMA. Asset retention became the focus, the problem is wealth accumulation was not the intent of the pension/retirement savings laws. Wealth Management activities have in fact trigger new regulation to insure retirement monies are for retirement not wealth building and estate planning. Trust that many retires under various withdrawal plans are in ordinary income tax shock. Taxes are deferred until distribution, when combined with other taxable income many are looking for new ways to shelter wealth finding very few hiding places, they eventually annuitize for lifetime income, where the tax might be on gains. Wizard you should heed your own advice everyone Isn’t a retail customer, employer plans payouts are different thus the need for employer confirmation signatures from each employer for certain distributions. Let’s hope the advisors/WMA have access to the individual contracts and the group contract when providing advice. Lifetime income can send part of their monthly payments back and receive the same interest rate if within the right timeframe.

Reply to this comment

avatar Pat April 2, 2014 at 1:08 pm

Admittedly I am new to this whole retirement thing, so please bear with me if this is a silly question. When TIAA added the ten year distribution option along with the lifetime annuity, why have they not made this change more well known ? Why disguise it by making one transfer your funds first into a variable (CREF) annuity ?

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard April 2, 2014 at 2:52 pm

That 10-year Transfer Payout Annuity (TPA) was not recently added; it’s been around for quite a while. And it’s ONLY applicable to TIAA Traditional and only within a RA/GRA, where new contributions are currently earning 3.75%, which is a decent rate right now.

But I have no idea what you mean by “disguising” it. I had a TPA a while back which moved money from Trad to the TIAA Real Estate Account (TREA) over the nine years and a day period…

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch April 2, 2014 at 2:33 pm

Asset retention employer accounts and the general account. I believe TIAA is moving towards payouts from fixed separate accounts rather than payouts from the General Fund, the GF would serve as backup, any legal claims would be addressed by the separate account. The 10 year payout is not in the original contracts, it is not in the group and supplemental policies. It is a known business practice that is accepted. Who does this practice benefit, if not the participant and/or beneficiaries it seems to step on the “exclusive benefit” clause in the contract/certificates and policies. Think class action for correction and relief. The immediate annuity step is also a business decision that could/should be challenge, who really benefits?

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch April 3, 2014 at 8:46 am

If you have any questions regarding payouts and timelines please contact Nikeisha Eaton, TIAA-CREF Compliance Associate directly at (704)988-1227 she is in the Denver office they handle distribution of investment products 403b. Good Luck!

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch April 4, 2014 at 8:58 am

If you are recieving unit annuity income “TIAA Separate Account One Life Unit Annuity Contract” non-participating. If you have questions contact TIAA at 800-842-2776. Ask if the intent is to use separate accounts for lifetime payments rather than the general account. Ask why payouts take months, is there a computer transition taking place, the SEC edgar has a copy of this contract in there archives. This contract supports the annuity unit payout from the Investment Account which is the Real Estate Account. The Access Account the unit investment trust separate account is also covered.

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch April 4, 2014 at 1:12 pm

I really believe that TIAA and some/all sponsors agreed to change the source of payouts for lifetime, interest only and fixed period from the TIAA General Account to separate accounts and unaccounted. This is the reason all payouts for lifetime begin with a single life annuity which comes from aftertax monies, 9 accounts immediate fixed and variable annuities. I believe the investigation and multimillion dollar settlement hindered the rollout of the new payout process. The changes in the application for “lifetime retirement income” is different from the application for “lifetime annuity income”since 6/13 serve as evidence that something different is happening. Participant wait for payouts while there are announcements of multimillion dollar settlements and huge half billion dollar real estate acquisitions in different countries with the interest gained from participants and retirees accumulations. This flies in the face of”exclusive benefit”. If they can buy real estate and pay court settlements, they can get rid of the immediate annuity step and honor the group and group supplemental contracts employer based plan support. The insurance investigators would be fooled by all these layers.

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch April 4, 2014 at 9:14 pm

On the TIAA CREF sponsors website I found two employer payout documents. “TIAA-CREF Non-Participating Group Annuity Request to Start Annuity Income”, 2 pages form. This document requires the employer signature. “TIAA-CREF Direct Payment Group Annuity Request to Start Annuity Income. Doc. type ACNTGAF and ACNTGAF these documents are sent to the Charlotte, NC office for the lifetime employer plan group benefits these are the onelife or two life contracts the insurance products.

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch April 5, 2014 at 9:02 am

In a April 1,2014 press release TIAA announces the completion of its acquisition of Henderson Global Investors. TIAA owns 60% and 40% is owned by Henderson. The company is headquarter in London with offices in Asia, Europe and North America. TIAA Henderson Real Estate (TH Real Estate) is a global commercial real estate company. 70.8 billion dollars of the TIAA General fund is invested in real estate. Tom Barbary, is the head of TIAA Global Real Estate and Chairma of TIAS Henderson Real Estate, located in Hartford Conn. and Chicago. The phone numbers are 1866-852-2051 Hartford, Conn. an1800-842-2005 Chicago. We should organize a road trip/ big pond crossing/ global trek to see what are accumulations have purchased. Can they post pictures on the website of the property holdings. How many participants face eviction and foreclosure waiting for their consumables funds to be freed to support lifetime income payouts. Who works in these worldwide offices? How does TIAA manage the properties and the revenue? These activities are the reason for the Single Life Annuity, TIAA sees itself as a global real estate company and the assets of the general fund serve as it capital pool. In the meantime annuitants are bewildered, what happen to my retirement benefits I paid premiums for lifetime income from TIAA the stock insurance company. The actual policyholder is the employer sponsor who may or may not know the ends and outs of the business practices of subsidiaries. Why can’t you annuitize from the TIAA General Account? What is a Single Life Annuity, what is the business purpose? How do these actions support “exclusive benefit”?

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch April 5, 2014 at 12:14 pm

Larry M.Chadwick, GO Governmental Relations Public Policy, TIAA-Cref 434-964-2611, l chadwick@tiaa-cref.org. Contact to ask the actual benefit employees who contributed decades to by premiums for guaranteed lifetime annuity income experiences through initial single life payouts in the annuitization process. Make sure he includes the application of “exclusive benefit”. After which he can explain how this practice is in the best interest of public sector participants and their beneficiaries. Would an immediate annuity represent a reduced benefit? Is this a contract violation? What is really meant by an annuity at any age? All payouts for lifetime incomes are annuities unless their are direct payments. In the group contract there is reference to a 1000000 per 12 month period for the policyholder/sponsor but TIAA can purchase millions if dollars worth of real estate and multi million dollar settlements from the General Account. There was a retirement fund and an investment fund. The old application was filled with tricks and deceptions that had long-term impact on innocent participants. The new application for retirement income simply begins with the single life immediate annuity without explanation.

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard April 7, 2014 at 9:09 am

Am I the only one sensing an element of SEVERE CONFUSION here?

Reply to this comment

avatar Edward Bergman April 7, 2014 at 12:16 pm

You are not the only one!

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard April 7, 2014 at 12:30 pm

I don’t want to be mean to EW, but if he would have a little less coffee in the morning and then narrow his focus to a single salient point in each post, it would help the discussion…

Reply to this comment

avatar zkeith April 7, 2014 at 1:53 pm

I, too, have no better understanding of this than I did two months ago. That is partially my fault because I’ve not tried to sort out the information in the various posts (although I’ve read each of them). Why? Because I really dislike annuities and am using RMD to remove the required distributions. With adequate planning for my spouse’s and my golden years, i.e., long-term care insurance, ample saving all along, not buying a new car every year so so with RMD, etc. etc., I think an annuity would not serve us very well.

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard April 7, 2014 at 3:43 pm

Annuities aren’t for everyone. Step one is to determine how much income you need and/or WANT in retirement; step two is to total up up all your retirement assets and see how that compares to #1. If your assets are 30 times your annual income number, then just w/d 3% a year or a bit more and you should be fine.

RMDs, of course, start at around 3.8% and go up annually, so if most of your retirement savings are in T-C, you might have excess income, but you can reinvest that somewhere easily if you want.

Another consideration is any Bequest Motive to offspring/charities after both of you pass away. But almost nobody annuitizes 100% of their assets, so work this on an individual basis.

I annuitized a major chunk of my T-C accumulation at age 63 since I knew I wanted to spend more in retirement for travel, etc. And by annuitizing, I was able to get roughly 6.5% payout on my principal as opposed to a safe 3% to 4% if managing your own investments. And note: most of my annuities are on the Variable side (TREA and CREF Stock) as opposed to TIAA Traditional.

You might want to try the Morningstar T-C forum for more advice from other T-C participants…

Reply to this comment

avatar Linda April 7, 2014 at 4:45 pm

3%-4%, and the investor keeps his principal.

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard April 7, 2014 at 10:04 pm

Yes, a fair number of folks on Bogleheads.org and elsewhere are easily able to accomplish this, so three cheers for them, and their heirs.
Sadly, I was not able quite to achieve the savings level I aspired to, so annuitizing 50% has allowed me to live large.

avatar ethicwatch April 5, 2014 at 10:07 pm

As of today you can now access all manners of TIAA CREF forms. In fact through the “plan Sponsor” website you can find the forms not available on the participant website for direct payment from the group annuity (gra and ra), also direct payment forms for non participating annuities were you offered direct payment when you requested your retirement forms? What is the real purpose of the initial single life annuity in the lifetime annuitization process? Doc type KCHKGAF, this is handled from the Charlotte, NC offices. They also handle the “request for benefit calculation” ? These are sponsor documents, the misinformation begins in HR, the moves to Charlotte and is trapped in 9 immediate annuities in Denver it’s a ponzi scheme with the annuitants as the victims. There is no benefit to the annuitants in this strategy.

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch April 5, 2014 at 10:11 pm

http://www.tiaacref.org/plan sponsors/resources/forms/index.html, for all forms related to group annuity direct payments. Shame on the deception of this company.

Reply to this comment

avatar Linda April 6, 2014 at 1:11 pm

The Oakland Institute’s analysis, the FINRA fine, the recent million dollar lawsuit, the Arnold research collaboration, the PAC spending, the record at the Center for Political Accountability, etc., don’t reconcile with TIAA’s corporate mission, so lofty PR statements aside, investors need rubrics to compare the company’s record in terms of honoring contracts, clear language, fiduciary obligations, etc. and, its financial performance.
(1) A yearly, 2% compounded, rate of return, advantage, should exist for non-profits, because they don’t have shareholders, requiring dividends. (2) Mutual funds, should grow by an approximate 1%- 2% compounded rate, because the funds retain the corporate dividends from the companies in which they invest. Combining the two, a participant should expect a long- term compounded growth rate that is 3%-4% greater than a stock index.
I didn’t focus on TIAA’s record, when my employer offered the 403b, because at that time TIAA’s reputation was based on the conformance of company objectives and mission. Current and future TIAA CEO’s, board members and employees, have an obligation to refrain from speaking engagements, when it is apparent that the invitation was based on the company’s prior reputation. Participants and the public, particularly those on college campuses, deserve to see the new operational mission that drives the company.

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch April 6, 2014 at 1:47 pm

The TIAA Traditional annuitants are the shareholders either from a money purchase or profitsharing employer plan that why we get proxy vote information as participants and annuitants. This company and state treasurers or governors found a way to retain participants accumulations in employer plans and to retain assets in the TIAA General Fund. The 10 year payout is mentioned in the blue folder information that accompanied your tiaa and cref contracts, it is not in the old contract language, the group contract was signed by state treasurer and approved by the Governor. The language clearly counters the “exclusive benefit” clause in the original contract. Because of provision 55 that limits the policyholder yearly payout to a 1,000,000 you could remain a lifetime annuitants stuck in immediate annuities for several years while the state slowly honors the terms of the group and group supplemental policies they hold with TIAA. All lifetime benefits are paid by and guaranteed by the General Account of TIAA the stock insurance company. TIAA TRADITIONAL is an insurance product, the immediate annuities are investment products. There was a time when lifetime income was a direct payment from the General Account, it appears the move is towards payments from the separate accounts. There is a $10mil. limit on the Real Estate Account, I believe the 403b TIAA Traditional is attached. The annuitants becomes the victim and TIAA uses our monies to purchase millions of dollars worth of real estate worldwide for cash.

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch April 7, 2014 at 12:59 pm

Wizard, WE has always been very female. Public higher ed. employees simply need to be pointed to the truth. Discussion is less important than being equipped to talk to TIAA CREF representatives about one’s retirement monies. I am not trying to tell anyone how to think, knowledge used effectively levels the playing field. I spent decades unearthed necessary information that I used for my better good. I think I provide good information so that participant can protect themselves. TIAA is huge they can handle knowledgeable participants and annuitants. You continue to go off topic and critiquing me and others as we sort through the issues we have with these companies. All voices can be heard.

Reply to this comment

avatar Linda April 7, 2014 at 1:51 pm

Keep informing us at this site.
Wizard is good at hurling insults to commenters but, gives a whitewash to non-disclosure of plan administrator fees and ignores (1) published reports of criminal convictions of employees (2) hefty, very quick legal settlements, and (3) evidence that greater good motivations are in the rear-view mirror.

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard April 7, 2014 at 3:26 pm

OK, let’s take a look at a criminal conviction of an employee; not a good thing, we can agree.
But how does that affect someone age 62 aiming to retire in a year or two, with $700,000 spread over a half dozen investments in a few different GRAs and GSRAs?
Would be better to focus on the central mission of T-C and participant’s problems choosing and setting up their retirement income streams…

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard April 7, 2014 at 3:20 pm

OK, good.
This post is LUCID, which means that almost everyone should be able to understand it.
I’m fully in favor of more relevant information, especially any that may have been concealed by the T-C higher ups.
Would be good to focus on one problem area at a time rather than spraying assertions in several directions.
Carry on…

Reply to this comment

avatar Linda April 7, 2014 at 4:19 pm

Here is the narrow picture on income streams, if that is your comfort zone.
(1) If people invested in TIAA, under assumptions about the company, that are no longer valid, (2) if the company is actively working against participants, who have pensions and/or, (3) if participants feel more secure and/or can get better returns elsewhere, isn’t it wise for them to take their money out of TIAA, as expeditiously, as possible?
Here is the medium picture.
I agree with zkeith about the premise of annuities. Don’t they rely on something like a gaming design? Only they use actuarial tables, for a construct that allows the house to win?
Here is the big picture.
The evidence is ample that too many U.S. resources are devoted to financial firms.
If there are more mutual funds and hedge funds than there are companies, in which to invest, and if the alternative is make profits off of farming labor in 3rd world nations, maybe, U.S. financial firms should work to create entrepreneurial opportunities for small businesses, in this nation.
Commenters at this site, need neither your approval nor, evaluation to carry on.

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard April 7, 2014 at 4:33 pm

Quick answers, gotta get a move on soon.
1) Yes, if TIAA turns out to be a corrupt company, Madoff-like, a Ponzi scheme, or whatever, then yes, we should both stop new contributions and file class-action lawsuits to recover whatever we can.

2) Annuities. Lots of insurance companies offer SPIAs; compare at immediateannuities.com. No gaming involved: your payout is based on three principles with actuarial life expectancy playing a role: a) return of principal invested; b) return of interest/gains obtained by investing your principal; c) Mortality Credits.
What are Mortality Credits? Let’s say we’re the same age and annuitize $500K at age 65. We each get $33,000 a year from that and are happy with that. But then I croak at age 80 but you live on to age 90. Guess where the “leftover money” in my “annuity account” goes to?

3) Financial Firms. Good luck on controlling US financial firms is about all I can say. Would been nice if Congress was on this back before 2008, IMO…

Reply to this comment

avatar Mea April 14, 2014 at 9:36 pm

Try rolling over your ira from Tia into another institution!
I know by what I’ve already gone through requesting a direct
rollover only to have my application returned as I had not filled
out tax documents as if I was requesting an indirect rollover or
payout…I had a devil of a time to get the correct? documents
from them. Anyone know what type of attorney I could talk to?
I am Denver based and just want out of this company.
I feel I am in for the long haul.

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch April 7, 2014 at 3:30 pm

Get your life wizard, this space doesn’t need your leadership. The suits at TIAA and the state and federal regulators totally understand what everyone on this site is talking about, address the issues, drop the personal these comments are serious.

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch April 7, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Hundreds of accounts and participants information was involved in that case.

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard April 7, 2014 at 3:48 pm

Can you post a link or a google phrase that I can use to find the case you’re referring to?
I fully admit to having good results with T-C thus far, so I’ve not been looking for negative info on them, but like I said, perhaps they hide it fairly well…

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch April 8, 2014 at 6:53 am

The question is why after decades of accumulating money for the purpose of providing retirement income, should except the immediate annuity initial payout. We paid premiums for TIAA TRADITIONAL through group and group supplemental employer plans, we have frozen aftertax accounts, frozen retirement annuities and SRA mostly in TIAA. Starting lifetime income from a one life or two life payout from the General Account of TIAA is exactly what our contracts entitle us to at retirement. The Single Life Annuity initial step creates an unjust enrichment for the employer/policyholder and TIAA the stock insurance company’s General Account. The policyholder withdrawal/transfer limitation in the group/supplemental group policies deepen the negative impact of the initial payout from immediate annuities. TIAA nor the employers can offer a viable benefit the single life payout nor the 1m policyholder withdrawal/transfer within 12 mos provides to the annuitants. Annuitization represents paycheck replacement so the process must provide for this replacement quickly. Unjust enrichment interferes with the seamless flow of income from work to retirement. TIAA General Fund supplied finances for huge real estate cash purchases, in the single life immediate annuity payout process/with policyholder limitations lifetime income annuitants wait months/years for final one life or two life TIAA insurance based payments, while the company and sponsors are enriched by asset retention. The Single Life contracts started in 1991. They now dominate the lifetime retirement income process as per the policy the individual contracts are connected. The policy between TIAA and the employer/policyholder dictates annuity start date. The annuitants application date starts the single life immediate annuity, the employer confirmation signature validates the one or two life benefits under the group and group supplemental policies. The lack of understanding and availability of the group policies to the annuitants creates the circumstances that supports unjust enrichment. That allow the companies to use participant monies for other business purposes, that undermine the spirit and intent of “exclusive benefit”. After decades retirees should receive their full payout in one or two weeks. There really is a strong basis for a claw action suit by those who in good faith applied for lifetime benefits and ended up in the single life immediate annuity molasses trip to a one or two life monthly payout. TIAA has other plans for our retirement monies.

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard April 8, 2014 at 9:51 am

A few corrections:
1) Single-life contracts did NOT start in 1991. They were listed as one option on my original TIAA contract in 1973 and were likely available for decades prior to that, I’m not sure.

2) The policy between TIAA and the participant does NOT dictate the annuity start date. They pick a nominal start date (age 65?) purely for illustrative purposes in quarterly statements. You can start your lifetime annuity at any month following separation from employment. I’m not sure what the oldest age you can start a TIAA annuity is, but it’s probably 85 or older.

Please try to get your facts straight, thanks…

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch April 8, 2014 at 11:11 am

That’s when it started for my employer-based state 403b plan, because that’s what my contract says, these are my facts, all plans are different, the 401a is governed by the group annuity policy between TIAA and the state. The provisions are written in clear language, ” the policyholder determines the actual payout date”, the annuitants chooses the annuity start date, I’m saying factually that this date starts the Single Life Immediate Annuity payout, unless you have employer confirmation and the policyholder is within the 1,000,000, 12 month payout/transfer timeline, then the single life immediate annuities is the holding tank for those who have one life contracts from TIAA Traditional. The question is who prepares the direct payment application? So rather than nine payments you get two one from the retirement fund and one from the Real Estate/ investment fund. All guaranteed for life by TIAA the stock insurance company. Are you in fixed period payments, it’s different.

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch April 8, 2014 at 11:25 am

The single life contract used in employer plan payout schemes is attached to aftertax monies, the group policy language supports this process, the reissued individual policies in 1991 support the use of single life annuities in the group and supplemental group policies. These are my facts.

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard April 8, 2014 at 2:00 pm

OK, gotcha. Not too familiar with their after-tax product line (ATRA?). All of my contracts were pre-tax contributions, both GRAs and GSRAs…

Reply to this comment

avatar Pat April 8, 2014 at 12:15 pm

Oldest age to start annuities from TIAA as of 12/2012:
70½ …Must begin withdrawing funds from your retirement plans. Employer plans: by April 1 following the year you turn age 70½ or retire from the sponsoring employer, whichever is later. IRAs (except Roth IRAs): by April 1 following the year you turn
age 70½.
75… Must begin withdrawing funds exempt from age 70½ distribution requirement (funds contributed to a 403(b) plan before January 1, 1987), unless you are still employed and meet certain criteria.
90… Must begin income from after-tax annuities. Latest you can start taking lifetime annuity income from a TIAA-CREF retirement account

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard April 8, 2014 at 10:06 am

I will say that the process of starting an annuity with T-C can take anywhere from a few to several weeks. All paperwork has to be complete and processed by the Charlotte office (in my case anyway) by the 20th of the month for the initial payout to commence on the 1st of the month following.
So if you initiate the process on March 15th, for example, there’s no way it will be complete by March 20th. So it just slips to April 20th, with first payment on May 1st. But that initial payment is somewhat more than the initial payment on April 1st would have been since a) you’re a month older; and b) your TIAA Traditional account accumulated another month’s interest while sitting there.
Hope this helps…

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch April 8, 2014 at 11:16 am

The initial payout is from TIAA and CREF variable accounts, the real estate is the variable account for the TIAA TRADITIONAL Annuity in 403b plans, different payout scheme than employer plans.

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard April 8, 2014 at 1:55 pm

I assume you mean the TIAA Real Estate Account (TREA); yes, that’s a fine account to be annuitized in…

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch April 8, 2014 at 7:18 am

“Class action lawsuit”.

Reply to this comment

avatar Linda April 8, 2014 at 8:45 am

In your post, April 7, at 3:45, you wrote, “Annuities aren’t for everyone.” I thought the phrasing sounded familiar then, I remembered the same phrase was used as a defense, after it was learned that families were devastated, as a result of ownership of whole life policies instead of term policies.
Did you sell insurance in the 80′s?

Reply to this comment

avatar Edward Bergman April 8, 2014 at 11:14 am

Cut the ad hominem, Linda. “not for everyone” is hardly occupation-specific. Wizard was covered by TC since 1973, I in 1972 and we both had options that we selected at that time.

His useful point was a reminder that the broad inaccuracies issued daily do not apply to everyone or perhaps even to the one issuing them. There are many points concerning T/C where help from others would be very much appreciated, but this daily flow of barely informed broadsides appear too much like belated grandstanding and too little like help to others.

Reply to this comment

avatar Pat April 8, 2014 at 12:22 pm

EthicWatch has provided very useful information regarding the 1990 settlement agreement between the SEC and TIAA. Prior to the settlement TIAA would not allow transfers out of CREF. Only after intervention was TIAA forced to provide choices of investment vehicles. I read the SEC order on Lexis, but still trying to find the exact agreement as I believe TIAA has clearly violated some of the terms based upon the Chronicle of Higher Ed analysis. Without Ethicwatch I never would have known about this litigation. Please keep the info coming and thank you.

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard April 8, 2014 at 2:08 pm

I googled this a bit and found a good summary article by a fellow who’s still quite active over at the M* forum.
He lists a couple Lexis-Nexis articles at the bottom, which may include the one you mention.
Others may find this background interesting as well…

Reply to this comment

avatar Pat April 9, 2014 at 12:55 pm

Thanks. I had read this summary and others but can’t seem to find the original settlement agreement on Lexis. Appreciate your help.

avatar Linda April 8, 2014 at 1:01 pm

First, representatives, who sell or sold, term policies, would take no offense, from my question.
Secondly, there would have to be agreement that the sale of whole life policies was wrong.
If those two conditions aren’t met, what is your point?

I await your universal application of sensitivity to barbs, regardless of source.

Morningstar, as referenced previously, was informative. There, were a couple of articles about TIAA-CREF, concerning the denial of democratic voting rights and the transformation of the company culture.

Relative to the annuity reference, individuals who invest their own money, can keep principal, it may not be the 100% that a boglehead achieves but, it can buy that “living large” experience in the future. Deciding not to annuitize may be as helpful information to 403b owners as deciding on a payment plan.

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard April 8, 2014 at 1:52 pm

Please, Linda, no one is trying to impale you here.
I worked as an engineer for 41 years, nothing to do with insurance of any sort.
I’m active over at Bogleheads as well and so am reasonably familiar with the pros and cons of annuitizing.
What makes a T-C annuity somewhat unique is that we have access to TREA, while the general public does not. This is the main reason my monthly annuity payments go up slightly each month, on average. But one needs to keep an eye on TREA and be ready to transfer out in the event of another decline…

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch April 8, 2014 at 12:55 pm

Today I contacted the HR representative from my former employer about TIAA CREF form”Direct Group Annuity Request to Start Annuity Income” this form WPID TH IA, F9797 (06/07) Doc Type: ACNTGAT. When completed is sent by the representative of the premium payment group in my case the state division of pensions. The HE rep. contacted the local TIAA representative who informed the HE rep.to have me call TIAA CREF to send me a direct payment form, the form clearly is one completed by the HR rep. who serves as the institutional rep. for the Div. of Pensions, so I downloaded the form, attached and forwarded to the campus HR rep. to complete and forward to the state pension rep. authorized to release my annuity payment. This is my facts. This is proof regarding the immediate annuity scheme and the employer determining the actual payout date. Unfair enrichment at the expense of the annuitants. Wizard my facts are easily validated by the way I filed an unfair enrichment complaint with my states insurance dept., they will see the class action implications. Personally, I just want my monthly payments. I hope my comment help.

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard April 8, 2014 at 2:28 pm

I don’t see any “unfair enrichment” going on here, certainly not yet.
It looks like you just initiated the request to annuitize one (?) of your contracts with T-C today, 4/8/2014.
Once I retired, my former company sent a “separated from service” notification to TIAA-CREF (which took another week or so) and from then on my former employer was no longer involved. I dealt directly with T-C in setting up my annuity and systematic withdrawal payouts.

It appears that your university? and state have a different level of pension processing added on top of whatever T-C does, so there’s no way that will speed up things.

Maintain a chronology of what happens going forward. I’ll bet 25 cents you get your first annuity payout check on June 1st…

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch April 8, 2014 at 8:37 pm

The very fact that TIAA all inbred subsidiaries is an over $500+billion dollar corporation that purchases $500+million dollar London-based real estate company for cash. The monies come from participants, employers, investments etc. “Exclusive benefit” of the participants and their beneficiaries. The whole single life immediate annuity initial payout scheme really benefits the employer and the TIAA General Account where lifetime income is paid. Wizard public plans are both 401a and 403b. We have TIAA Traditional and TIAA Traditional Annuity the real estate variable annuity. We can annuitize some or all accounts for lifetime income from TIAA General Account. I stand by my unfair enrichment claim because a extended payout process doesn’t benefit me, I need my money. $500+ billion dollars might red flag asset retention. Wizard tell your wealth manager the brewing Class action suit will be settled swiftly to get rid of the immediate annuity payout scheme and provide a fair process that is timely. I fully understand revenue raising to provide income that need created CREF but tricks that hinder payout is not acceptable. Interesting you felt a need to take your concerns to “consumerism”, it’s just a bigger audience, if it leads to payout process reforms the kudos to you, we just want the problems fixed.

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard April 8, 2014 at 10:58 pm

Ho hum, EW.
I’m signing off this forum after this post.
You can find me over at the M* T-C forum along with lots of other informed T-C participants if you need real help with any T-C problems.
Until then, keep your imagination active and don’t forget to check over your shoulder every 15 minutes…

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch April 8, 2014 at 8:42 pm

Public higher ed employees are in group and supplemental group plans we use our accumulations to purchase lifetime income within the plan through a group policy between TIAA and the policyholder in my case the state. This will be fixed.

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch April 15, 2014 at 7:25 pm

Update the local TIAA representative did not provide the HR administrator with instructions regarding procedures to process the group and group supplemental direct payment form. My former higher ed employer is a member of the state pension system, the state pays the employer contribution, the actual policyholder is the state, the applications request the premium payment group (PPG) Code. There is a request for form W-4P and W-9. The authorization states, “I hereby authorize TIAA-CREF to initiate annuity benefits based upon the data provided above, and to deduct the payments from the TIAA CREF Group Annuity Account.” The non-participating group annuity request to Start Annuity Income …..and charge the TIAA-CREF Group Annuity Account for the cost to purchase a TIAA guaranteed (non-participating) annuity these documents are dated 06/07. All documents are available online but not under payout/withdrawal forms on the TC website. Just another crazy step in a confusing process.

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch April 11, 2014 at 8:47 am

The 6/13 form “lifetime retirement annuity” application from TIAA CREF, clearly begins at Single Life to understand TC Life, there is a. State of NY Insurance Dept., report “State of NY Insurance Dept. Report on the Financial Conditon examination of The TIAS CREF Life Insurance Company”. January 22, 2010. This subsidiary has never sold a premium, it’s major function is distribution for TIAA and the sale of aftertax annuities, I suspect with the Plan to aid payouts from the general fund for lifetime income. If interested you decide.

Reply to this comment

avatar Linda April 11, 2014 at 9:22 am

Will you help me understand the significance of payouts from the general fund vs. payouts from other sources, within TIAA-CREF? Is the issue, collateral or security or misleading statements or revenues outside of regulatory jurisdictions or ….?
Thank you.

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch April 11, 2014 at 11:02 am

TIAA TRADITIONAL the employer and the employee under regroup retirement annuity paid premiums that buy a guaranteed payment from TIAA, the stock insurance company, these payments are sent to and deposited in the general fund. TT is a guaranteed insurance product not an investment product. Under my state plan we began in a money purchase scheme that by legislative reform is now a profitsharing scheme. TT makes you a shareholder with voting rights. So at retirement the policyholder must complete a form confirming the employees right to payment from the group policy. All monies belong to the participant. The participant chooses the option(s), if lifetime income is chosen then the policyholder rules dictate payout, ie age attainment and the actual annuity date, which can be different from the retirement date chosen by the retiree. The language is in the plan group annuity policy between TIAA and the policyholder in my case the state even though I was employed by a public college in the state pension system. The GSRS 403b also has a fixed guaranteed annuity these funds are governed by a group supplemental policy between the employer and TIAA. The guaranteed account is TIAA TRADITIONAL Annuity tied to the TIAA Real Estate count it is the fixed variable annuity for supplemental 403b. My plan was 401a and 403b, two frozen RA’ s and a SRA. So if you want lifetime income from the traditional annuity the policyholder would complete a form with the employee information confirming that the employee is entitled to the stated monthly payment for the investment fund, a separate account of TIAA which guarantees lifetime income. So for payout there is a retirement fund and an investment fund governed by the policyholder and TIAA. The separate account Single Life Annuity used in the payout process is an outgrowth of the 1990 settlement to expand options, so the first step in the process was the use of cref funds/ aftertax monies to create initial payout immediate annuities. It appears that the policy dictates actual payout date so a retiree can sit in this transition stage until some group/supplemental milestone is reached. Sorry if this is long. The actual payout process is dictated by the policy between TIAA and the policyholder in my case the state. Lifetime income from TIAA makes you a stockholder/proofreader in TIAA. I believe this is the proper answer.

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch April 11, 2014 at 1:29 pm

Sorry Group and Group Supplemental Policies. TIAA is a insurance company. I understand the content of my post might be difficult but retirement is very important, so it is important to understand what impacts payout.

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch April 11, 2014 at 7:21 pm


Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch April 14, 2014 at 7:32 am

TIAA CREF purchased Nuveen Investments for 6.25 billion dollars. I don’t know if this is bad or good. If it means a overhaul of the existing investment /managed accounts systems than kudos Roger. If existing advisors/WMA and their managers get the boot kudos. If this move improves customer service and expands the knowledge base of employees that interact with participants and annuitants then the universe has moved this company towards the greater good.

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch April 28, 2014 at 8:56 am

On another blog someone questioned the relationship between TIAA CREF and JPMorgan Chase, now so do I. The Nuveen deal, JPM serves as TIAA’ s advisor, some Nuveen executives are former employees of JPM, in recent years some top executives hired by TC worked for JPM. TC is the custodian of JPMC employees 403b plan. JPMC serves as guardian of TC mutual funds through an agreement with TC Individual and Institutional Services, I think this began in. 2002 ,initial deposit 4+ billion. The proper title is Global Custodian mutual, institutional and life funds are included. This means that through said agreement JPMC is in physical possession of our assets. This means JPMC is responsible for not allowing our money to get into someone else’s hands. TC our provider made this arrangement, by law mutual funds must have a guardian to protect investors from investment fraud. So why am I nervous about this 30 year corporate relationship. The recent history of JPMC is first and foremost. Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme and JPMC executive looking the other way. The custodian relationship with MF Global, a large percentage of the missing money was found at JPMC. The London Whale. The Ukraine based hacking and multi million dollar atm account heist that included both JPMC and TIAA CREF accounts. The there are the two pending pension fund cases, the Central Laborer’ s Pension Fund vs Simon and the Steamfitters Local 449 Pension Fund that involves the use of “Single Life Annuities” this lawsuit is being handled by NY based securities attorney from Morgan and Morgan, in the summary it states,” the Board of Directors allowed NO Morgan to embark on an unprecedented course of recklessness and unlawful conduct to increase their own personal fortunes”. We are judged by the company we keep. 500+ billion in assets should give us pause and open the discussion about the relationship between TIAA CREF and JPMorgan Chase. It’s our retirement monies, they must be protected. A Fox guarding the henhouse is not an acceptable strategy. A simple Google search will provide all related documents to this post. The regulators will fully understand the connections.

Reply to this comment

avatar Linda April 29, 2014 at 3:19 pm

Thank you for continuing to research and post, Ethicswatch.
The collection of data at this site, centralizes the information.
The new bestseller by Thomas Picketty, establishes the reason for the loss of the American dream. The book should be mandatory reading for the TIAA-CREF Boards.
Since the 80′s, the financial sector doubled its share of GDP. Their share grew faster than either the flow of savings they channel or the assets they manage, wasting 2% of GDP. For each 1% of GDP growth, approx. 1,000,000 jobs are created. Conversely, when GDP is lost, jobs are lost.
Increasingly, there is national focus on the adverse effects the financial sector has on the American people. Today, Huffington Post reported a SEC Commissioner asked for greater sanctions on banks. It is time to dismantle financial firms and their influence.

Reply to this comment

avatar Bewildered April 30, 2014 at 4:35 pm

I have a small retirement account with Tiaa through a former employer. Over the years, I have found that the many “consultants” don’t know what they were talking about. In fact, I didn’t contact Tiaa for years because of the “consultants” made me believe that my account was too small to answer my questions. I thank one reason is that they don’t want you to roll over and lose any cash but they don’t want to deal with you. I SHOULD HAVE ROLLED OVER years ago!. Now, the time has come that I have to deal with Tiaa. Again, I find the same problems and I have to call back at least 3-4 times to get the correct information. Yet, they have no trouble trying to encourage me to transfer my other accounts to Tiaa. I have tried to get info from their website
before calling but the website is useless for some information. I will be rolling over to another institution so that I can out of Tiaa soon. I wish that I started rolling over my “small” account sooner so my dealings with Tiaa would end.

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch May 2, 2014 at 4:31 pm

On other websites the suggestion is to do plan to plan or trustee to trustee transfers. Most of the advisor staff are licensed brokers or insurance producers they can where found guilty of bad service/advice be fined or sanctioned by a state insurance dept or the SEC they have license numbers with the state’s where issued. If you read the May 1, 2014 Real Estate prospectus you will see they spend millions to purchase properties and in a sale of the property lose millions because of lost in value. All of these monies are in the TIAA General Account and the separate account, all participants/employer premiums. If the corporation can lose millions on property sales in a given year and spend billions purchasing corporations domestic and foreign then transfers and lifetime income payments for thousands/millions to participants should present no problem. Unless all the funds in the general account are otherwise encumbered. There is a focus issue with TIAA and funding retirements is minor. Always get the advisor/WMA license number.

Reply to this comment

avatar chmodlf May 5, 2014 at 8:11 pm

Do not put your money in a TIAA CREF annuity for your 403b account. It will take ten (10) years to roll your money over if it is over $2000. This is absolutely ridiculous. At a minimum they should state clearly that it will take 10 years to get your money out. It should be signed off separately not just be part of the fine print. Besides you are better off in stocks as they return more over time. This is going to cost me big dollars to purchase years of service in a state retirement system. DO NOT CONTRIBUTE TO THEIR ANNUITY UNLESS YOU CAN WAIT TEN YEARS TO GET YOUR MONEY OUT!!!

Reply to this comment

avatar Pat May 6, 2014 at 2:15 pm

That is absolutely sound advice. I only recently found out about the 10 year cash distribution option, There is no clear information regarding this option which only became available after a 1989 TIAA-CREF settlement agreement with the SEC. I have been trying to correct TIAA-CREF’s error in failing to provide adequate notice of the 10 year withdrawal option for months. For over 20 years TIAA failed to provide any clear cut information regarding this distribution option. I recently looked at their website and they still do not clearly provide information regarding cash withdrawals.

Reply to this comment

avatar zkeith May 6, 2014 at 3:35 pm

If this is the same as the TPA (transfer payout option), I have an abundance of information about that provided by TIAA-CREF in a variety of brochures received a number of years ago. I have always been aware of the fact that I had three basic ways of getting money out of TIAA: An annuity, RMD, and TPA. I know of no other way to get money out of TIAA.

Reply to this comment

avatar Pat May 6, 2014 at 7:50 pm

Were the brochures sent to you by TIAA or by your employer ? My contract was amended in 1994 to include TPAs, but there was never a mention of a cash withdrawal option. There was a mention of a transfer to a variable annuity (CREF) but no language to indicate that the TPA could be received in cash. I requested that TIAA provide me with evidence that they actually provided notice of a cash withdrawal option, but the only documents that they could provide was the ambiguously worded contract amendment of 1994 and the Quarterly statements starting in 2011 that for the first time included the term cash withdrawal on page 3 of the glossary. Hardly the clear and concise information as required by ERISA ?

Reply to this comment

avatar Judy May 13, 2014 at 10:50 am

Extreme dissatisfaction with TIAA CREF. I requested a transfer of funds which was not. Luckily my telephone conversation had been recorded. So the funds were transferred 5 months later. A form 5498 was received with a an internal transfer/rollover funds which I did not request. I called TIAA Cref and was told this was an error. In early April, I was told by Dionne Davis of TIAA CREF that a corrected form would be mailed to me so I could file my IRS taxes. This never came and Dionne would respond my 4 telephone message. On May 1, I called again to Joe Wm Yeoman requesting the form. He arranged to have it sent to me in “overnight mail.” Again nothing arrived. May 13, I called again to Mr. Yeoman informing him that I did not receive any mail from TIAA CREF. He transferred me to another Dept and spoke with Jaime Gonzales. Mr. Gonzales it would take a lot longer so he would have to call me back.

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch May 16, 2014 at 9:37 am

Sometime in the very near future TIAA the stock insurance company will introduce TCLife, the stock insurance company that will handle all non-lifetime income payouts ie fixed period, for years separate accounts have been established under TIAA and CREF for accumulations it appears now the systems are in place so that annuity payouts can come from the separate accounts under TC LIFE, the stock life insurance company. It appears TC Life will handle investment account payouts which might include the TIAA Traditional Annuity which is attached to the TIAA Real Estate Account which is presently attached to the TIAA INVESTMENT Fund. I believe there is an expansion, TC Life presently handles the aftertax single life annuity and will in the near future handle all separate account payouts. TIAA TRADITIONAL will still come from TIAA THE STOCK Insurance Company for now. I believe starting all payouts from a single life or Joint life buys time and preserves the general fund. So your lifetime retirement tiaa traditional will still come from TIAA GENERAL ACCOUNT retirement fund and any lifetime payouts from investments would come from TC LIFE or when investment funds are transferred to TIAA TRADITIONAL payments come from the General Account/retirement fund of TIAA the parent company of TC LIFE. The 4/14 and 6/13 choosing retirement income applications support the idea that there are many internal changes in the accumulation process. TIAA TRADITIONAL payout was one and two life, now everything is single or Joint life. Application for lifetime income TIAA TRADITIONAL not available on participant website under forms nor on the sponsor website. The choice of what to do with retirement savings requires clear information, access to proper forms, employer plan rules and master policy rules. It’s time for this company to come clean regarding its employer based retirement plans. At this moment this is what I believe has been transitioning since 2011, the lawsuits and investigations slowed the timelines for total transformation. The Nuveen deal might further delay maybe Nuveen can handle retail, while TIAA sticks to public nonprofit. If the deal is allows to close by the regulators.

Reply to this comment

avatar toucanvet May 22, 2014 at 2:09 pm

Hi, SO my question is; I have just inherited a relatively large sum of $$ from my parents Tiaa-Cref. And I am obliged to do something with this money. At the advise of my accountant I plan to move it into an inheritance/stretch IRA. My question is Should I keep it at TIAA-Cref in an IRA or move it to another IRA with another finicial company (nationwide, currently holds 2 of my other IRA’s) ? My wife thinks leave it there cause its faster and easier I think – get it away from them because they have been somewhat of a hassle – mostly because of time change differences – I am in Cali their offices are in NC/NY. thanks for the opinion.

Reply to this comment

avatar Franklin Burroughs May 22, 2014 at 2:40 pm

I would strongly advise against remaining with T/C. I have an IRA with them, and another with a different entity, and have reached the age of the Minimum Distribution Requirement (i.e. annual withdrawal, as mandated by federal law). The process of setting this up was simple with the other IRA; with T/C it has been fraught with delay, forms, more forms, telephone calls (some lasting for hours) etc.
The institution by which I was formerly employed became so frustrated by this kind of thing that they eventually cancelled their relation to T/C.

Reply to this comment

avatar LB429 July 2, 2014 at 2:57 pm

I am very confused at present. I have 2small TIAA-Cref accounts from a previous employer. I was emailed the forms to roll them over to a financial advisor. Of course, T-C contacted me about staying with them. My husband retired and has a substantial 401K that I am planning to roll over to Vanguard–T-C explained that I can have WM services with them–a dedicated advisor, but at Vanguard I qualify for advice from whomever answers the phone that day. Any opinions?

Reply to this comment

avatar Gareth Barnes July 21, 2014 at 10:26 am

I taught in the US 1990-1992 and have since taught in the UK where I have monitored the growth of my TIAA-CREF fund from those two years. As an overseas customer, does anyone know how annuities/lump sums are handled and if there is scope for further investment here?
Thank you!

Reply to this comment

avatar Joel L. Frank July 21, 2014 at 2:54 pm

Let’s zero in on how much it costs the public worker to invest in Defined Contributions plans. A good place to start is at the lower end of the Hudson River where we have a tale-of-two plans. One is the retail priced commission based mutual fund/variable annuity that are sold to New Jersey state and municipal workers. The other is the de minimus cost investment funds that are sold to the public sector workers of the City and State of New York. In New Jersey, where the fiduciary standard is systemically ignored, the employee is charged about $3,000 annually per $100,000 of account value. In New York, where the fiduciary standard is systemically followed, the employee is charged about $400.00 annually per $100,000 of account value.

Reply to this comment

avatar Linda July 27, 2014 at 3:56 pm

Who gets the $3,000 fee?

Reply to this comment

avatar Joel L. Frank July 27, 2014 at 6:31 pm

Prudential Financial.

Reply to this comment

avatar Linda July 27, 2014 at 6:53 pm

I appreciate your information.
So, in N. J., a defined benefit plan could be a better choice, if pensions weren’t Chris Christie’s political football?
Is there a process through which N. J. employees can pay a lesser fee? Or, are they caught between a rock and a hard place?

Reply to this comment

avatar Joel L. Frank July 31, 2014 at 12:27 pm

Hi Linda,
This issue shows just how insignificant the unions are. For the first 25 years of its operation the New Jersey State Employees Deferred Compensation Plan was run, in-house, by the NJ Department of the Treasury. For 25 years the Plan offered four investment funds at a cost of 8 basis points—$80.00 per year per $100,000 of account value. THIS WAS THE NATIONAL MODEL OF ITS TIME.

That said, all changed n 2006 when the operation was handed over to Prudential Retirement. THIS SPRING the Governor had the opportunity to revert back to having the Treasury handle the Plan but he chose, instead, to enter into a six year contract extension with Prudential Retirement. He could have re-negotiated the contract with Prudential to assure that only no-load–de minimus cost funds are sold. He did not, so we remain enslaved by the same retail priced commissioned based funds Prudential Retirement pedals all across the nation.

New Jersey Education Association/Communication Workers of America:




Reply to this comment

avatar Linda August 1, 2014 at 12:44 am

Your question about the NJ education association is a good one for Diane Ravitch’s blog. There are many people at her blog, who want stronger representation from their unions.
The forces against working people are formidable. The Campaign for America’s Future, the Center for Media and Democracy, Mother Jones, Prof. Lessig at Harvard, Paul Krugman, Dean Baker and a lot of other people are heroes, trying to stop the sociopathic behavior of the oligarchs and the influence of the politicians and media they own. In the latest sad twist, miscreants from the financial and tech industries, have made their way into public education profiteering. A year ago, I made a commitment to myself to do one thing everyday to regain democracy for my nation. It will take all of us working together to overcome the concentration of wealth that drags our economy down and denies opportunity.

avatar Linda August 6, 2014 at 12:36 pm

I’ve been reflecting on your info. about N.J., and I realized I may be paying 3% to the plan administrator for my 403b, in addition to fees to TIAA. I can’t get either my employer or TIAA to tell me the amount of the fee and that’s after months of trying.

The financial system in the U.S. is broken for the middle class, until there is transparency.

avatar Linda July 31, 2014 at 9:08 am

Combing through information released by WikiLeaks, an investigative journalist found the multinational corporations’ goal to eliminate pensions. The article, “A Top-Secret Agreement to Carve Up Public Services”, (Odent, July 29, 2014) is at the Truthout website. “The massive scale offensive was launched by Washington, followed by EU member states, in order to make it possible for multi-national companies eventually to monopolize the trade in financial products and also the trade in all services (including education).”
The shadow General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) has a target date for completion in 2015.
Specific wording cited, “State monopolies that provide pensions, ‘would be dismantled’ “.
“The secret text stipulates that foreign companies could in no way be treated discriminatingly.”
This provision would prevent U.S. legislation that could address the adverse effect of Walgreen’s proposed paper move to Switzerland, to avoid taxes, while receiving a substantial portion of their revenue from U.S. taxes, in the form of Medicare and Medicaid payments. Wording in the cited document “prevents a country from buying back water supply companies (and charter schools), even when they are performance failures.”

Reply to this comment

avatar Joel L. Frank August 6, 2014 at 12:51 pm

From the investment fund prospectus you can get the expense ratio for each fund you invest in. As a rule-of-thumb multiply that ratio by two. The result is a good estimate of all the costs you pay to invest in the 403(b).
I hope this helps.


Reply to this comment

avatar Linda August 6, 2014 at 1:24 pm

Thanks Joel,

Reply to this comment

avatar Linda August 6, 2014 at 1:32 pm

Thanks for info., Joel
By doubling do you mean, the plan administer gets, as an approximation, about half of what the investor pays? Or, are you saying there is additional for the financial firm?
Do I recall correctly, that the fees, for the funds listed in the prospectuses, are usually less than 1%?
I appreciate your willingness to answer.

Reply to this comment

avatar Joel L. Frank August 6, 2014 at 2:17 pm


There are two kinds of fees: 1. Plan Administration and 2. Investment Management.
To really get a handle on this stuff I would WRITE to my plan administrator. Use, as an example, your January 2, 2014 balance for xyz fund. Tell him/her you are attempting to calculate your annual costs of investing in this fund and you’re having difficulty in ascertaining the Plan administration fees which include recordkeeping, custodial. legal, accounting, communication, etc.

That said, I am sorry for giving you a short-cut answer. We all deserve a better understanding of what it costs us to invest. That said, the Prospectus give us in a transparent way the “expense ratio” or investment management fee. It is the costs for Plan administration that is difficult to calculate.

Reply to this comment

avatar Linda August 6, 2014 at 2:33 pm

Yes, we all deserve a better understanding of what it costs us to invest.
It would have been easy for TIAA and my employer to tell me the amount of savings (a credit) TIAA found and passed on to participants. It would have been easy for them to tell me the total amount the plan administrator received but, they chose not to. The plan administrator, and university counsel, as their latest gambit, has provided the public information request form to me, after months of stonewalling. It’s clear no one should use intermediaries for investments.

Reply to this comment

avatar Stephen August 20, 2014 at 4:40 pm

I have read through many of these comments and find that they really don’t specifically address my current dilemma with TIAA-CREF. I am not annualized and find that most of my funds are liquid and only a percentage fall under the 10yr PO (i.e.- they can be rolled to another company). So I have spent the last month investigating three specifically different possibilities to TIAA-CREF as well as leaving what I have in place (with TCWM in Charlotte). Many friends tell me they have gotten out of TC. I am thinking I can do better in one of the other possibilities I am researching, even with TC’s low fees. Any comments from your perspective of service with TC?

Reply to this comment

avatar Linda August 21, 2014 at 10:24 am

I took my money out of TIAA this year for 3 reasons. First, the lofty mission statement of the Board, belies a company that operates like other Wall Street firms. Abundant evidence has been provided by commenters, including citations, about a FINRA fine, a settled class action suit, and colleges that no longer include TIAA among their retirement offerings. Second, I found that when I retired and did not move my funds from my employee account, an on-going plan administrator fee was assessed but, neither TIAA nor the public employer, is willing to identify the amount of the fee. The employer stonewalled until their legal counsel finally, and dismissively, provided a link to a “public information request” form. Thirdly, Peter Mallouk, in his recently published book, The 5 Mistakes Every Investor Makes and How to Avoid Them, debunks investment notions and concisely explains what we should all be doing with our investments. On p. 125, he describes a little understood concept about financial advisors and conflicts in “acting in the investor’s best interest.”

Reply to this comment

avatar Stephen August 21, 2014 at 11:25 am

Thanks, Linda, for your comments and reasoning. I will look into this book you mention. If one wants a low fee option I agree that the Vanguard Index Funds are the way to go. But I do believe that there are reputable fee for service financial advisors out there who don’t sell product and whose disclosure statements clearly state the fees up front. In my research mentioned before I have found several locally. Also, I requested and received from TCWM a list of all expense ratios for all my funds with them recently. I have always wondered about the Defined plans of which I have two as to whether there is an additional fee as you mention, but have been told “no”.

Reply to this comment

avatar Lisa August 22, 2014 at 11:17 pm

I have a question. I have only one annuity payment left due in November 2014. I called today because according to my former employer you can now take your money out of the traditional account if it has less than 5,000 dollars. My account has less than that and I called to see if I could get my money early since the contract had changed and they informed me that I could not and I would have to wait until November? I really need the money now and am struggling but they refused to help and I have already had one hardship payment a few years ago. Does anyone here know anything about this?

Reply to this comment

avatar Pat August 24, 2014 at 2:48 am

If TIAA really wants to help they can but it is like pulling teeth. I have a small account and needed the entire balance but they told me they had no discretion to disburse it early even though they never provided me with a cash TPA option for over 20 years. But I was persistent, contacted their CEO Ferguson, contacted their legal department and they finally gave me a one time advance payment that did not qualify for a hardship. When I asked where this specific “benefit” came from, they said and I quote “…our advancing the one TPA payment is provided as an administrative liberalization of the contract payment option.” In other words they can do anything they want, if they want. They apparently pay no attention to ERISA requirements of clear and concise benefit language. BTW it took a year of contacting them before they would distribute the extra distribution. TIAA needs to get a heart. My advice is be persistent, as often the customer service people will give you different answers.

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch September 8, 2014 at 10:58 am

On Sept 5, 2014 TIAA CREF announced change of fund custodian from Chase to Deutsche Bank. Now if they could invest some of the real estate purchasing funds in a super advanced computer system maybe they could automate a lot of customer services and lessen participant stress. Somewhere in some technology startup there is a retirement financial services software system that can become company specific with security features. The existing system, website, phone etc is substandard and needs to be replaced asap. Proceed forward TC, technology is your best partner.

Reply to this comment

avatar Linda September 10, 2014 at 2:14 pm

Leaders of TIAA-CREF and hedge fund owner, Pete Peterson, have praised each other in company news letters. The section of Mallouck’s recent book, on endowment management and hedge funds is thought-provoking.

Everyone is subject to the actions of Wall Street, information provides us with a defense. Reading Jason Stanford’s article, “Muting the Messenger” in the Texas Observer, clarifies the corporatization of education in universities.

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch September 12, 2014 at 3:44 pm

Friday Sept. 12, 2014 : JACK-CIOfiled ethics complaint against the NJ Investment Council President according to politickernj.com, the union complaint alleges pay to play in pension investment decisions by the Christie Administration, Prudential is involved I guess Joel L. Frank and the restored are about to get some answers about the dealings of a potential presidential contender’ s political dealings this might overshadow the bridgegate. I hope since Prudential is a vendor for the NJABP defined contribution program that Joel’s questions concerning SUccess are addressed.

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch September 12, 2014 at 3:46 pm


Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch September 12, 2014 at 3:57 pm

Sorry Kindle acting up. Joel L Frank shared concerns about the NJABP defined contribution program, maybe the complaint might trigger an investigation that includes an examination of management fees paid to Prudential for NJABP and the DROP.

Reply to this comment

avatar Linda September 15, 2014 at 9:14 pm

Thanks Ethicswatch.
Calpers, the largest pension fund in the U.S., just divested of its hedge funds (all 24), while N. J. increased its holdings. Given the evidence of hedge fund failure (Mallouk’s book), campaign donations to politicians, makes good strategy to avoid bankruptcy, for financial firms that contribute less than nothing, to their investors and the U.S.
Ohio is a textbook case. Campaign donations enable failing charter schools and on-line schools, many of which are the promoted by the hedge fund 1% er’s, to siphon off dollars from taxpayers.

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch September 16, 2014 at 6:29 am

NJ DEPT. OF INVESTMENTS paid hedge funds and others 900 million plus to manage the alternate investment funds. The Prudential contract for the supplemental retirement funds will most likely be investigated retail class instead of retirement or institutional class, not exactly in the best interest of employees. I honestly believe cash strapped state pension depts that are the actual policyholders for lifetime benefits control and manipulate the payout process to gain administrative fees from contracted vendors. There is a reason administrative fees paid to states and higher education entities do not disclose. Sometimes the entire process is controlled by a few people, employees as retirees get caught in a system that is unknown. The union’s should do better watchdogging, members need protection. Pension fund aren’t cash cows, pay-to-play vehicles for greedy politician and their political operatives.

Reply to this comment

avatar Linda September 16, 2014 at 9:11 am

Well-stated description of investor abuse. I will send the comment to the Board of Regents.
Retirement providers like TIAA-CREF could disclose plan administrator fees to their participants, which would be evidence that they act in their investors’ best interests. The industry’s financial watchdog, FINRA, could be proactive, in requiring disclosure. Failing their action, implosion of the hedge fund and mutual fund industry sector, is the logical extrapolation. Calpers, the first domino?
Speaking of dominoes, Gates’ Common Core- Mother Jones magazine has an excellent article. The information I found surprising in it, was the claim that the third largest shareholder of Pearson is the government of Libya. Earlier this year, Pearson announced a deal with Microsoft to develop curriculum for Common Core. Jason Stanford, in a Texas Observer article, “Mute the Messenger”, writes about Pearson and a University of Texas professor, who challenged the company..

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch September 16, 2014 at 10:07 am

The evidence is mounting that hedge funds contracted to handle teacher alternate investment funds are the principal backers of charter schools. I believe there are consumer laws that supports fee disclosure for employer based retirement plans. I fault the unions for lack of oversight, the money is there to lobby for pension protection.

Reply to this comment

avatar Linda September 16, 2014 at 12:25 pm

Good news- Today, Truthout has a great article about hedge funds, N.J. and Christie. It relies on the admirable investigative work of David Sirota and Chris Tobe.
Ethicswatch- I agree stronger unions would make a difference. Corporations, hedge funds and apparently, the President, want unions, on the ropes and then, gone. Unions have been the firewall against a single corporate party that promotes greater concentration of wealth. Has the TIAA Institute’s pairing with the Arnold Foundation, for a pension paper, ever been explained by the company, whose mission is purportedly, service to middle class teachers?
Those who think a comparison between corporate campaign spending and union spending, is reasonable, deserve a pox on their houses. The latter work to return the nation to its first 100 years, when the top 1%, controlled only 7-10% of the nation’s total income, unlike today, when .01% leeches from the financial sector, dominate the economy. Unions represent tens of thousands of workers who elect their leaders and pay dues from their salaries. Corporations assert the opinions of a small number of autocratic executives, some or many of whom, are sociopathic and, they use consumer profits to influence politicians. Union members live and pay taxes in our communities and have loyalty to the U.S. The only loyalty of for-profit executives (and, in some cases, nonprofit), is the bottom line ,because they pretend it determines their unwarranted salaries.

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch September 16, 2014 at 6:55 pm

The NJ ethics code clearly has been violated problem Christie handpicked the Director. The more you read about the private equity consortium member Mr. Grady formerly of the Carlyle Group and Chairman of the NJ Investment Council it becomes very clear the State code of ethics has been violated. TIAA CREF will be a part of the pending investigation, regarding investment and management fees. Payout processes based on administrative fees paid to state pension funds at the expense of retirees, elder abuse. So it’s about to get real, the covers are coming off to expose the fastest Jersey scandal..

Reply to this comment

avatar Darrell D. McGinnis September 26, 2014 at 12:12 pm

I have a Teachers Personal Annuity with TIAA-CREF, and have been automatically contributing to it since 1994. I have attempted to withdraw a portion ($1000.00 or larger amount) several times in the past few years, and every time I have had a hassle with the people handling my request in the office in Charlotte, N.C. Every time they delay sending the withdrawal by telling me I haven’t sent all of the required forms, or that I didn’t indicate State Withholding Tax (none is required for Kansas as it states in the required forms), or something else. Always a delay. I sent the latest request to withdraw funds on the 19th of September, and today I’ve been told that they didn’t “process” ii until the 26th. They had to receive it on the 22nd or 23rd, but now are saying they didn’t receive it until the stock market declined sharply on the 25th. I am so frustrated and angry with their service and lies. What can I do? Darrell D.McGinnis

Reply to this comment

avatar Pat September 27, 2014 at 9:43 am

You can complain directly to TIAA’s president, the SEC and to the New York State Department of Financial Services. Both the SEC and NYS have complaint access on line. Perhaps if enough people complain TIAA will stop their nonsense.

Reply to this comment

avatar Linda Bricker October 3, 2014 at 2:16 pm

A while ago, I sent an e-mail to the TIAA-CREF Board via the on-line form provided at the website. I received no reply.

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch September 28, 2014 at 10:23 am

As of Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014 participants can withdraw money from some accounts online. It appears some withdrawals will require employer approval. The site compares loans to withdrawal and tax consequences but the money is available. You can now transfer your funds within TIAA CREF accounts and to other providers within your employer plan online, this is progress and will eliminate much of the ignorant confusion and mistakes by TC employees who are prone to mistakes and ignorant responses. I hope the top brass will invest in a supercomputer and company specific software, the answers are in some financial services startup. Good job Roger and Co., please work on the horror that is the TIAA Lifetime income process, what is with all the secrecy, retirees need a secure website specifically for lifetime income recipients.

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch September 29, 2014 at 8:08 pm

I’ve been leary of SPIA’ s in the TIAA CREF SPIA in the lifetime payout process it appears so is the IRS. The question are these actually withdrawals disguised as annuity payments and just how/why does TIAA TRADITIONAL have 613 billion in assets. Great inquiry questions can’t wait for the official responses. I suspect retirement advisors fucking bad advice regarding Trad. Pushing SPUDs and period certain payouts as opposed to lifetime income payouts which the vintage system is exclusively attached. I foresee a news very expensive payout. The auditors for the beneficiary disaster must have revealed the excessive misuse of SPIA in various payout schemes. The wealth managers have been replaced by teams. The original focus on providing retirement income was covered by existing tax laws, wealth management was not included then and still is not covered by the IRS. One step forward, two steps back. SPIA are links like in the employer based lifetime income process.

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard September 30, 2014 at 7:43 am

TIAA-CREF doesn’t really offer SPIAs, just “participating” annuities based on TIAA Traditional. They are participating in that they adjust payments upward a percent or two some years based on good results.
Wealth Managers and their teams are just there to steal your money; you should know this by now…

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch September 30, 2014 at 8:47 am

Wizard welcome in the lifetime payout process the initial payout is a TIAA CREF single premium immediate annuity. The company also offers SPIA retail. In the employer plan process it appears after tax monies are used to provide the SPIA. In the employer plan schemes SPIA are used to slowdown the payout process since TIAA TRADITIONAL is paid from the general account. SPIA retail can be found under products and services. TC also offers deferred annuities at the retail level. I thought you were an expert on TC products and services. What happened your advisor/wealth manager gave you bad payout information? Did you discover the only way to trigger the vintage payout system is lifetime annuity through TIAA TRADITIONAL? I believe TC advisors and wealth managers are about asset retention.

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard September 30, 2014 at 12:51 pm

I’m an expert on the products that apply to ME mainly. My T-C funds are all tax-sheltered. I do have a modest TIAA Traditional in the payout stage and larger, more exciting Variable Annuities in CREF Stock and TREA, also in the payout stage.
It’s all good…

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch September 30, 2014 at 1:42 pm

Your response for nonexperts who come to this site was obviously incorrect. TIAA CREF has specific products for employer-based and retail clients, the payouts are different. For many the tax deferral disappears with payout and the funds are taxed as ordinary income. Again the vintage system only applies to annuitization of TIAA TRADITIONAL for lifetime income so my response wouldn’t apply to your payout schemes. TIAA real estate is the fixed variable in many 403b plans.

avatar ethicwatch September 30, 2014 at 10:23 am

The SPIA’ s are from TC LIFE a subsidiary of TIAA the stock insurance company.

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch September 30, 2014 at 6:10 am

Bad Kindle no cursing allowed should say “offering” bad advise. Please excuse.

Reply to this comment

avatar DrPat October 1, 2014 at 1:13 am

I have learned more about accessing retirement funds from TIAA-CREF, WMAs, TPAs, GSRAs, obtaining funds and understanding the role of the institution in the entire process from the comments on this site than anything provided by TIAA-CREF or my HR personnel. I am sharing my insights with others who still believe.
thanks for the information and the explanations


Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard October 1, 2014 at 10:29 am

Check out the T-C discussion forum on Morningstar dot com as well…

Reply to this comment

avatar Linda Bricker October 3, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Most of the comments at the Morningstar forum appear to come from insiders? Certainly not investor novices?

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard October 7, 2014 at 6:46 am

Novices, no, but I won’t say we’re “insiders”. We’re mostly people who have considerable holdings at T-C accumulated over the years and have taken the initiative to stay well informed about our investments…

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch October 8, 2014 at 8:05 am

Wizard I read TIAA CREF Morningstar forum and there are many long-term commentators with good to excellent investment advice but there are business process related problems that participants come to this site to find solutions. TIAA CREF appears to be cleaning up bad business practices, customer service quality, the website deficiencies, forms access/ process, death benefit notification, payout/transfer distribution matter, employee reorganization team approach,communication coordination and technology upgrade but there is more work. There is a huge difference between a term certain payout and lifetime income from TIAA TRADITIONAL it needs to be clearly explained to employer based participants because the decisions are irrevocable. You are a bit snippy and condescending probably a result of retirement based affluence, but remember easy come easy go in investment based wealth.

avatar Linda Bricker October 9, 2014 at 8:35 am

When older people were asked their greatest fear, the answer was not, surprisingly, financial security. It was that their lives had made a difference. After retirement from professions, in which they served the public good (at one time, a requirement for TIAA inclusion), investors could join in mastering a substantially flawed and stacked Wall Street process or, they could follow Peter Mallouk’s advice, “invest in indexed funds” and then, as others prescribe, “withdraw 4% annually”.

I’d like to be a fly on the wall when the TIAA-CREF Board of Overseers reads its mission. The reconciliation between the company’s direction, missed opportunities to serve humanity and the Board members’ personal legacies, would be interesting.

avatar Linda Bricker October 3, 2014 at 4:11 pm

Information at the NBER website lists TIAA-CREF, as a funder. (NBER research covers a vast array of fields including education and pensions.) If I read correctly, there is a total of about $500,000 in revenue, from multi-national corporate contributors like TIAA-CREF and others (in amounts of $25,000 or less). The Bureau’s investment portfolio appears to generate about 10 times that amount, for operations. If the source of the investment pool is listed at the NBER website and I missed it, could someone direct me? Certainly, a funder, like TIAA-CREF would know the group’s source of financing?
A new website, knowyourcharter.com, has education research funded by local Ohio citizens. It clarifies the costs and results of privatization of education. TIAA-CREF, a non-profit, could fund research projects that benefit the many (including the multiplier effect) and, they could reject projects that ultimately, further concentrate the wealth of the .01%. If they did so, their mission would be fulfilled and their heritage, not wasted.

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch October 8, 2014 at 8:01 pm

Linda the 1% has a recorded history of using their wealth for good, evil or a combination of both. The beauty for any of the 99% interested in watchdogging their shenanigans is the internet and the audience it reaches. Exposure undermines even the best laid plans of those who seek power, control or dominance over people. Just tell their stories in plain language and the connected masses will rise to the occasion. “Ain’t nobody scared of the 1%”, they can’t handle scrutiny nor exposure. Just make it plain.

Reply to this comment

avatar Jim Woodhull October 14, 2014 at 9:20 am

I just retired from 43 years of faculty service with SUNY and spent several hours talking to my retirement rep. I told him how I was planning to use my retirement money to make investments myself. He was adamant that I should move some of it into a bond fund offering a low stable rate of return which would be paid out over 10 yearly payments. I have had a small portion of my retirement in such a fund during my career, so I agreed to have 20% moved into that investment. I checked my account for a few days and was horrified at eventually find he had moved 100% of the state contribution into that fund locking most of my retirement money up, which would not allow me to use it for self-managed investing as I had told him I was planning to do. I was furious and called him and everyone else in the company I could find. They all told me it was too bad and it could not be changed.
I have contacted an attorney who specializes in class action suits and He believes there is a good winnable case here. We are looking for any people that this has happened to who would be willing to participate in in this suit. This is worth many thousands of dollars to those of us who have been caught in this situation. Why should we give decades of faithful service only to allow these greedy people to steel our hard earned retirement money for their own benefit??
Jim Woodhull, woodhujr@yahoo.com or 516-658-8381

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard October 16, 2014 at 6:48 am

I think you mean “steal”, not “steel”.
TIAA-CREF *steals* your hard earned retirement money.

Oh, and I move all my T-C funds around MYSELF using their website for the past 15 or 20 years. Odd that somehow your “retirement rep” has authority to move your funds without your permission. I’d have your attorney sue their pants off…

Reply to this comment

avatar Linda October 16, 2014 at 8:52 am

As I understand Peter Mallouk’s recent book on investing, financial advisors who are registered with the SEC have an enforceable fiduciary responsibility to their clients. Through some quirk, advisors registered with FINRA, do not have the same obligations relative to conflicts of interest. A quick read of his book, would clarify if my interpretation
is correct or incorrect.

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch October 16, 2014 at 10:49 pm

It appears he put your funds in TIAA TRADITIONAL which sounds like you might have a 401a employer plan. TIAA TRADITIONAL can be withdrawn over 10 years. If you had a 403b with accumulations in the other investment options, the employee appears to have transferred those funds in total to TIAA TRADITIONAL, the real estate account is the fixed variable annuity under 403b. You need to read the summary plan from your employer to understand any restrictions or limitations are placed on retirement payout. You would have to have proof of your verbal phone request, was it recorded by you, TIAA records so access to your recording could be requested by your lawyer or court order. I believe your employer has restrictions, the representative should have informed you of the payout process per the summary.

Reply to this comment

avatar Pat October 17, 2014 at 1:24 am

A word on TIAA-CREF’s phone recording policy. I made a complaint on the phone to a supervisor. When I later referred to that telephonic complaint, I was told that a recording of that complaint did not exist. I was told that TIAA does not record every call. interesting that a complaint was selectively not recorded. So be careful about relying on alleged recorded calls. If possible (and if legal) record your own important conversations.

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch October 17, 2014 at 8:25 am

We want TC phone contacts recorded in the cloud because the employees give erroneous information and make irrevocable mistakes that benefit the company at the expense of the participants.

Reply to this comment

avatar lilyofsalinas October 14, 2014 at 3:57 pm

OK the time has come. I am retired. My University has provided TIAA/CREF with the documentation stating I am retired as of Aug 31, 2014. Now I am trying to roll all my funds out of TIAA/CRAP. Well first I was told to do it online. Don’t do that as you are limited to taking 50K/year if you start that process. So I called and have spoken to two different people. One said the rollover forms could not be sent to the secure mail site, while the other said they could. I got the forms via the secure site AND snailmail. One version says that both my former employer has to sign as does someone representing where the rollover will go. The other does only required my former employers signature. I have spoken with two people at TIAA/CRAP and they assure me by phone that my former employer does not have to sign since they already have the documentation stating I am retired. I am trying to get someone to actually put in writing that I DO NOT NEED my former employer to sign. I don’t live anywhere near where I used to work. So far no one at TIAA/CRAP is responding!

Reply to this comment

avatar lilyofsalinas October 15, 2014 at 12:00 am

I took part in the last class action against TIAA/CREF and got 2300$ for signing a postcard saying I would participate. I had already filled complaints with federal and state authorities. Now that I can legally be free of this company once and for all, they are up to their old tricks. Once retired I am under no legal obligation to my former employer nor they to me, so this plan administrator fee has nothing to do with me! TIAA/CREF plans are still the major plan on most Universities today. I have 100s of colleagues whose money is trapped with this company and no one seems to give a damn.

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard October 16, 2014 at 6:42 am

Your money is TRAPPED with TIAA-CREF?
Wow, what a terrible situation.
In my case I’ve arranged for monthly systematic withdrawals from my T-C accounts to partially fund my retirement lifestyle and it’s been working perfectly, the 15th of each month.
Good luck getting un-trapped…

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch October 16, 2014 at 11:31 pm

So Wizard are you paid per sarcastic, snobbish, condescending word or for the whole snarky statement. Just address the situation, you obviously knew what was being expressed.

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard October 18, 2014 at 10:30 am

It seems that LILY is in the midst of confusion with something called TIAA-CRAP.
Not much can be done by us outsiders to help.
I just hope that company has not secretly STOLEN all of her money…

avatar ethicwatch October 18, 2014 at 1:56 pm

Wizard she is talking about transferring/rollover of all her TIAA holdings, not your systematic lifestyle withdrawals. Do you have any experience with transfer payout annuities or rollovers?

Reply to this comment

avatar lilyofsalinas October 20, 2014 at 2:51 am

thank you

avatar The Wizard October 20, 2014 at 10:42 am

Yes, I did a Transfer Payout Annuity from Trad in a GRA starting about a decade ago. I was still employed then and did not want to REMOVE the $$ from T-C, only transfer it from Trad to TREA. It worked just fine, every May 1st, like clockwork.

But after about eight years into that TPA, I retired and annuitzed the remaining funds in that Trad account for lifetime income.

As for rollovers, not with T-C yet. My Roth IRA and taxable investments are with Vanguard, so I may very well roll a *portion* of my T-C 403(b) to Vanguard at some point, to my Roth IRA. I expect to encounter zero difficulties doing this…

avatar lilyofsalinas October 20, 2014 at 2:51 am

The Wizard id a troll who knows nothing about anything. So you are a plant for TIAA/CREF. You have too much free time on yours hands and are not a good problem solver obviously. Mean spirit gets what it sows! Bad karma!

Reply to this comment

avatar Linda October 16, 2014 at 8:44 am

Lily, Clueless colleagues like yours are called sheeple. They don’t contact their legislatures when abuses occur. For example, their federal, state and local tax dollars, intended for students, are now in the pockets of hedge fund owners and tech and tech moguls, via charter schools and high stakes testing. How many citizens have done anything about it? How many of the people who feel wronged by TIAA have written letters and snail-mailed them, to the members of the Board of Overseers? When decision-makers assume people will be sheep, they do what they want to them.
If your plan administrator fees, (which were how much?) were reasonable, that’s good.
I hope you are successful in getting the company to respond to you.

Reply to this comment

avatar lilyofsalinas October 20, 2014 at 2:49 am


Why are you name calling and blaming victims ? Stop trolling and being a pawn of your own weak mind!

Reply to this comment

avatar Linda October 20, 2014 at 9:51 am

I believe victims can stand together, demand action, vote (except at TIAA-CREF, where the participants only have a straw vote for Board members) and do what it takes to make a difference. I choose to believe if we, you and I, our co-workers and people across the country, join together, we can redress the wrongs that have unfairly, lessened our lives. Just last week, the Federal Reserve Chair showed a willingness to join the fight for survival of the middle class.
I interpreted your prior e-mail as an expression of both your frustration with the financial firm and your co-workers, who wouldn’t join efforts to correct Wall St. abuses. I share that frustration. In America today, people are so focused on trying to get enough money to just survive, that they don’t have the time to know about and work to stop hedge funds from dismantling Social Security and Medicare and, to stop, all of the other plotting by the financial sector (including the privatization of education). Respectfully, Linda

avatar ethicwatch October 16, 2014 at 11:14 pm

The shenanigans are 10xs worst when you annuitize for lifetime income. No where will you find information regarding the payout process. Your monies disappear for months, in some cases years to purchase deferred annuities. It’s frightening. In the meantime you wait suffering financial distress and hardship after decades of accumulating retirement funds.

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard October 18, 2014 at 10:34 am

Horse-pucky, EW.
They should be IMMEDIATE annuities, not deferred.
That’s what I have, five of them as it turns out.
First of each month, WHAM, the money hits my checking account.
I annutized a portion for lifetime income in April, 2013 and payout started May 1st that year.
Stop spreading dis-information…

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch October 18, 2014 at 1:32 pm

Wizard immediate annuities under some employer plans are from after tax monies in non qualified accounts many participants have these accounts under 403b supplemental. The after tax money is in Cref variable or Tiaa variable annuity which is the real estate account. These provide investment income in payout.
Under many employer plans the mandatory contributions for employer and employees was held in Tiaa Traditional deferred annuities the payout which includes vintages provides retirement income from a group policy. If you leave your 403b money in the accounts beyond 120 days lifetime income is no longer an option, term certain and other options are available. The payout information is available in the employer summary plan for 401a and 403b.

avatar ethicwatch October 18, 2014 at 1:48 pm

Wizard please go spend your fortune, employers can amend and suspend their plans without asking anyone. There are different group contracts and policies.

avatar ethicwatch October 16, 2014 at 11:05 pm

Why can’t you snail mail, fax or email forms to your former employer, have them return a copy to you and send a copy to TC. Just get everyone’s name, phone number and mailing address because you will repeat this process several times. Eventually this too shall pass and your money will have a new home. The documents go to different companies within the corporate structure. You might not need employer signatures for variable monies 403b but 401a because is usually employer only contributions might require certification signature. Make sure the copy doesn’t cut off the signed signature anything can interrupt the process.

Reply to this comment

avatar Linda October 14, 2014 at 7:26 pm

Lily, The prior employer can charge an undisclosed plan administrator fee, if your money remains there (and your experience is like mine). Despite the assumption that TIAA’s relationship is with the investor, TIAA was unwilling to provide answers about the plan administrator fee, to me.
The cause of a FINRA fine, which involved customers, can be found via an internet search, and info. about the settlement of a class action lawsuit can also be found. TIAA-CREF retirement plans are not welcome on all college campuses. Again, you can draw your own conclusions after reading more about the situations.

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch October 16, 2014 at 11:24 pm

Employers and TC love employees that take systematic withdrawals, RDM’ s, period/term certain and transfer payout annuities, because they make money from employees accumulations. I believe this is why there is little to no information about TIAA TRADITIONAL vintages and lifetime payouts. The focus is on asset retention, this from the largest provider of retirement funds for higher education employees.

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard October 18, 2014 at 10:42 am

All investment companies, from Vanguard on down, make money to fund their expenses and profits from their Assets Under Management (AUM), yes. TIAA-CREF is no different.
It’s nice when you get something right for a change…

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch October 18, 2014 at 1:36 pm

The very valid question is how much are the fees under each circumstance. If your money remains in the employer plan, how much are they paid for plan administration. Participants have a right to know, transparency should be a given.

Reply to this comment

avatar Linda October 20, 2014 at 10:06 am

Mercedes Schneider, at her blog, cites grant recipients of the Vanguard Charitable Endowment Program -
“Families for Excellent Schools”, which is a charter school lobbying group, currently running ads in New York. Dr. Schneider also cites oligarch foundations that made grants to the group. They are the frequent funders of education deform.

Reply to this comment

avatar Crefer October 17, 2014 at 6:31 pm

Can anyone shed light on a Midwest Managing Director spending thousands of dollars of Tiaa-Cref money on a going away dinner for a universally disliked Wealth Management Director? Fogo De Chao, open bar and champagne! Great way to spend participant money while telling the public they are conscientious about expenses and controlling participant costs.

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard October 18, 2014 at 10:38 am

They actually steel money from selected participants to fund these parties.
We have iron-clad evidence of these thefts right here in this thread, just search over the past few years…

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch October 18, 2014 at 1:44 pm

I don’t see a problem with a Midwest participant questioning whether corporate funds from a retirement provider was used to fund an expensive going away party. I personally question multimillion dollar real estate losses. The website is to discuss problems Wizard, you should be off enjoying your retirement abundance and affluence instead of insulting commentators on a blog.

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch October 19, 2014 at 10:17 am

There is much talk on the internet about rule changes for 401distributions and rollovers. The cash strapped US Treasury is looking to capture tax dollars trapped in $ 2 trillion dollar 401 accounts and 6.5 trillion IRA. One proposal being touted is at retirement all funds would be rolled into Roth accounts, the pretax accumulations are taxed in the rollover process. Many 401 participants private and public move their accumulations to IRA products at retirement. These proposals will have a huge impact on every aspect of 401 plan sponsors, broker/dealers and participants.

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch October 17, 2014 at 7:24 pm

You need to supple the names of those involved..

Reply to this comment

avatar Jim Woodhull October 18, 2014 at 9:11 pm

TIAA-CREF Has stolen my retirement!!
I just retired from 43 years of faculty service with SUNY and spent several hours talking to my retirement rep. I told him how I was planning to use my retirement money to make investments myself. He was adamant that I should move some of it into a bond fund offering a low stable rate of return which would be paid out over 10 yearly payments. I have had a small portion of my retirement in such a fund during my career, so I agreed to have 20% moved into that investment. I checked my account for a few days and was horrified at eventually find he had moved 100% of the state contribution into that fund locking most of my retirement money up which would not allow me to use it for self-managed investing as I had told him I was planning to do. I was furious and called him and everyone else in the company I could find. They all told me it was too bad and it could not be changed.
I have contacted an attorney who specializes in class action suits and He believes there is a good winnable case here. We are looking for any people that this has happened to who would be willing to participate in in this suit. This is worth many thousands of dollars to those of us who have been caught in this situation. Why should we give decades of faithful service only to allow these greedy people to steel our hard earned retirement money for their own benefit??
Jim Woodhull, woodhujr@yahoo.com or 516-658-8381

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard October 20, 2014 at 10:58 am

Yes, Jim, you told us this on the 14th as well.
TIAA Traditional is a very safe investment, with higher interest rates than you will find elsewhere.
Good luck with it all…

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch October 20, 2014 at 7:30 pm

I strongly suggest that every employer summary plan document be available online. Many participants do not know this document exist and its impact on employer contributions. The summary plan can be available under retirement plan information on the website. It should also be available on the employer website.

Reply to this comment

avatar Tom October 21, 2014 at 9:58 am

403B companies like TIAA Cref do not work in the interest of educators. My wife recently retired and her school system had contributed on her behalf a sum that TIAA Cref invested in The TIAA Traditional guaranteed investment contract. When she inquired about rolling over these funds to her IRA, she was given 2 choices… face a 2% surrender fee or get the funds over a 5 year period. After 25 years and only a 1.5% average return on the investment did not TIAA Cref earn enough after pocketing most of the return? In just a few days of receiving her application, TIAA Cref liquidated her shares, so why does she now have to wait over 5 years to receive the money? These type companies are financial crooks who sell school systems on their benefits, take the money and then throw roadblocks on at beneficiaries when they try to obtain their funds.

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard October 21, 2014 at 11:36 am

It’s not 1.5% average return, Tom.
It’s been at 3.5% for a while now, for RAs and GRAs.
And she would likely be better off LEAVING that $$$ with T-C and then annuitizing it for lifetime income when starting retirement.

Seems a bit odd that her institution required ALL contributions to go into Trad, but as EW is fond of saying: the rules vary from one employer’s plan to another…

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch October 21, 2014 at 9:47 pm

Sounds like your wife’s employer had a plan that only the employer contributed, again the distribution matters are spelled out in the summary plan. Many employers offer TPA or annuitization from TIAA TRADITIONAL. There is also a group policy that the plan administrator accesses for certain payout options, this document is not readily available to employees. You can find a sample for retirement and investment income on the SEC website. Is your wife’s employer plan 401a or 403b? Many employers are almost paternalistic about payouts, they don’t want retirees to the out of money and sue the institution for post employment financial struggles. Plus TIAA TRADITIONAL comes from the general fund so the company slows the process for asset retention purposes.

Reply to this comment

avatar Dinamarie October 27, 2014 at 12:08 pm

Yesterday I logged on to my TIAA-Cref account and noticed the picture of a new Wealth Management Advisor on my home page. Apparently this is the way they notified me that my WMA has changed. In the past five years (the length of time I’ve been trying to work with a WMA), I’ve had 5-6 different advisors; I’ve never had the luxury of returning to the same WMA for follow-up discussions on anything. I recently retired and just last month I did an extensive portfolio readjustment with the prior WMA; now I am disillusioned that I was handed off to someone else so bluntly. Those of us who qualify for a WMA have the largest portfolios at TIAA-Cref; I can’t imagine any other financial firm treating its best clients this way. I can only assume there are major internal problems with the WMA program at TIAA-Cref; I don’t blame the individual WMAs.
So my question is this: How mad should I be? Should I stay with a company that has solid investment options and low fees (and the free Morningstar portfolio evaluation tool) even though it is impossible to maintain a working relationship with a WMA? Or should I begin the work of researching other companies (VALIC?) and move my portfolio to a place where there is better customer service? As a retiree, I don’t want or need flashy investment options and I was satisfied with the new allocations and income I’d receive at TIAA-Cref; however, I definitely need guidance as I move into and through retirement. I’ve spoken with several “independent” financial advisors but have trouble justifying their fees when comparable advice is supposed to be available through TIAA-Cref.

Reply to this comment

avatar Ernie October 28, 2014 at 1:42 pm

First, I think you can easily manage your own investments without the an advisor. It requires a minimal of reading and a minimal of attention to your portfolio. If you are a buy-and-hold type, then think diversification and ETFs or mutual funds that have a low charge. Some of the institutional funds offered by TIAA-CREF satisfy this requirement. If you manage more actively there are strategies out there with buy/sell triggers that will protect you from a large market downturn at a cost of a modest return in a bull market.

As for staying with TIAA-CREF, if you are still in a 403 and your institution limits your investment choices, you have three choices: a) stick with it and do the best you can with the assets you are offered, b) transfer your 403 to an IRA in TIAA-CREF brokerage account where you will have a broader set of asset choices, or c) transfer to an IRA with another firm like Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, or TDAmeritrade.

My sense is the brokerage side of TIAA-CREF is not competitive in their fees with the big brokerage houses, but I would like to hear from others about that. My experience with TIAA-CREF advisors is not good. Once they find you are not going to roll your IRA outside TIAA-CREF to them, they won’t give you the time of day. And, I don’t find their advice/portfolio setup to be particularly helpful and better than one can do on their on.

My thoughts …

Reply to this comment

avatar Joan November 6, 2014 at 12:42 pm

I agree entirely with Ernie. My hsb and I were going to have our money managed by TIAA,Cref. First off, they told us that we should be living on $60,000 a year after taxes, then they mentioned that their management fees would be $12,000. We were stunned at the suggestion that we should be paying 20% of our income to them. We moved our money to Vanguard where they will charge $3800 annually for superior services. Meanwhile, TIAA hit us with a bill of $2800 for the time that our money was with them unmanaged.
Avoid this company at all costs.

Reply to this comment

avatar lilyofsalinas November 5, 2014 at 3:12 pm


So TIAA/CRAP transferred MOST but not ALL of my lump sum rollover in a timely manner. But today I got an email telling me that I have not filed the paperwork for this transaction and therefore it cannot be carried out. However all but 2250 of the lump sum is already at Vanguard! So someone at TIAA/CRAP is asleep at the wheel as usual!

Reply to this comment

avatar Linda November 8, 2014 at 10:40 am

First, retirees should read Peter Mallouk’s book for investors. Then, they can consider a local independent financial manager (not a broker), who likely charges 1%, is registered with the SEC (not FINRA), and who has authority to buy and sell from the stock portfolio but, not withdraw. They will get monthly statements from a company like TDAmeritrade.
Or retirees can buy index funds and withdraw 3%-4% a year.
In my experience, as long as the schools keep the retirees’ money, the investors are charged a plan administrator fee, an amount that neither TIAA nor the school will disclose.

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard November 8, 2014 at 10:47 am

This is reasonably excellent advice, getting independent financial advice.
I personally would avoid paying a 1% AUM fee and just do it myself with index funds, but then, I’m an experienced Boglehead.
People who have no interest in becoming investment savvy might be better served hiring someone, yes…

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch November 9, 2014 at 9:06 am

There are many free apps available online to help people with retirement information. CNN Money, MSN Money and the Motley Fool offer access to many free apps plus very informative articles about retirement.

Reply to this comment

avatar Tom November 8, 2014 at 2:48 pm


I am not talking about recent return. I said over 25 years. Keep the money in TIIA Cref! Are you crazy. Also an annuity! You must work for them. TIAA Cref does not work in the interest of investors and annuities are infamous for high fees and low return.

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard November 8, 2014 at 4:30 pm

I don’t work for them, but you’re entitled to your incorrect opinion…

Reply to this comment

avatar Darrell D. McGinnis November 8, 2014 at 8:10 pm


Reply to this comment

avatar Darrell D. McGinnis November 8, 2014 at 8:14 pm

My opinion is based on 6 or more attempts to withdraws funds in the past `10 years. What’s yours based on?

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard November 9, 2014 at 8:05 am

My experience is based on 40 years of accumulating funds in TIAA-CREF, followed by 20 months (so far!) of taking money out. The first of each month, several thousand dollars of annuity payout hits my checking account like clockwork. This amount tends to increase slightly each month due to some judicious choices I made, mostly involving TREA.
Then mid-way though each month, an additional few thousand comes in from a systematic withdrawal I’ve set up with them. I may have to increase that amount a bit before long when RMDs start.
So I’m a happy camper…

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch November 9, 2014 at 9:50 am

Wizard, TIAA is very careful not to disclose actual payouts from employer plan participants. Back in the day your quarterly statement would tell you how much monthly income would be realized if one were to retire. The payout process changed, the initial payouts begin at single life, based on the amount the participant wants to annuities, so the initial payout would mirror annuities.com. The final payout a deferred income annuity an insurance product would result from a 1035 exchange. Deferred income is the guaranteed product attached to the General Account of TIAA the stock life insurance company. The Wizard appears to have deferred lifetime income annuity from TIAA and lifetime annuity income from TIAA-CREF variable annuities which includes TIAA TRADITIONAL ANNUITY which under employer plans is the real estate account. The withdrawals are from variable accounts he own but choose to systematically withdraw not annuities. His payout scheme and others is available. Many people seeking withdrawals first transfer money to the money market account then withdraw. Wizard would you share your payout scheme, thank-you. Did you wait beyond 120 days with your TIAA-CREF money therefore didn’t qualify for a lifetime income annuity from your variable monies?

avatar Martha Meyer January 11, 2015 at 7:14 pm

Good for you — when I called them then had done NOTHING with my first minimum payout request and it sounded like chaos in the background and from the five people I talked with for over an hour. It was to be done tomorrow, January 12, and for some reason two accounts won’t be done until sometime in March, the original date I requested for 2015 for a 2014 required payment of minimum distribution. They told me in August of 2014 I couldn’t have that date because my signature would be over 180 days old and had to pick another date. I did — January 12 — and tonight I see where I am only going to get only a small payments from two small accounts — and the other accounts are not even listed. I am more than angry! I have lost confidence in this company.

avatar ethicwatch November 9, 2014 at 9:25 am

Tom most TIAA CREF participants are in employee plans unless there are other providers available the participants are stuck. The employer in most cases determine the investment mix, because the goal is retirement income the investments tend to be very conservative suchas TIAA TRADITIONAL ,Stable value and TIAA Real Estate which is the variable account under most employer plans. Under employer plans there are options lumpsum or annuitization for lifetime income are the dominate options the choice is up to the employee. TIAA TRADITIONAL when annuities for lifetime income triggers the very enriching vintage system. The annuities under employer plans are insurance products far superior to those avail able on the open public market, they in fact mirror the defined benefit payout. TIAA is shrouded in mystery because the offer employer plan that involve pooled resources and individual/personal products. The advertisements/public websites are generic to save money.

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard November 9, 2014 at 6:16 pm

Hi EW,
Yes, I will clarify some of your misconceptions and explain what I did.
First of all, T-C does have a Retirement Income Planner on their website that you can use to figure how much per $100,000 you’ll be getting per year if you annuitize. It’s a bit tricky to use but if you’re reasonably clever it will give you the answer you want.
Next, I have no “deferred” annuities. They were all in accumulation mode until March, 2013 when I threw the switch and annuitized about half of my holdings for Lifetime income with a 10 year guarantee period and no survivor option. So they are all “Immediate” annuities.
I chose a mix of three products to annuitize: TIAA Traditional, CREF Stock, and TIAA Real Estate Account (TREA). The latter two are Variable Annuties and started with a 6.53% annualized payout at my age 63. Trad is a semi-fixed annuity and had a few different payout rates, due to different “vintages”; one was over 7% payout.
I chose monthly adjustment on the Variable annuities, so my check tends to increase each month due to TREA exceeding a 4% annual growth rate by a good amount.

Additionally, I decided to do monthly Systematic Withdrawals from my two SRA accounts which were not annutized. Those accounts have a mix of T-C investments, including TREA, midcap growth and value, etc. I instructed T-C to send me a fixed dollar amount from those two SRAs around the 16th of each month, withdrawn “pro rata” from the mix of investments.
It has worked out well…

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard November 9, 2014 at 6:26 pm

Also, I have no idea what you mean by the 120-day time limit for lifetime annuities.
If I wanted to, I could annuitize additional funds with them to create more monthly income for my lifetime.
But for now, I’m content to let my remaining accounts keep growing. When I get closer to age 70, I may rethink this a bit…

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch November 9, 2014 at 7:41 pm

The 120 day limit is standard for TIAA-CREF variable annuities in employer plans for lifetime income, after the 120 days payout options are 2-30 years period certain. TIAA TRADITIONAL in employer plans are deferred annuities that provide a lifetime income annuity at retirement, this is an insurance product through TIAA the stock insurance company. The lifetime payouts are retirement income and investment income. In most 403b the TIAA TRADITIONAL ANNUITY is the real estate account variable income based on investments. What type of accounts did you annuities, 401k, 401a, 403b or another account.

Reply to this comment

avatar ethicwatch November 9, 2014 at 8:17 pm

This is truly a learning experience. You can annuitize from variable annuities TIAA-CREF, you can transfer variable money into TIAA TRADITIONAL. The is TIAA TRADITIONAL under employer plans and TIAA TRADITIONAL ANNUITY which is the variable annuity. So in payout under some employer plans they 401a payment would be retirement income and the 403b would be investment income. Tiaa Traditional would be the 401a and Tiaa Traditional annuity would be the 403b. It appears Wizard has variables annuities that adjust up or down monthly, these payments are based on number of units and underlying investment performance for his lifetime guaranteed for 10 years with no survivor. It appears period certain payouts are single premium immediate annuities from variable annuities. Lifetime income in an employer plan from TIAA TRADITIONAL is a deferred income annuity, an insurance product, non unit from the General Account of TIAA the stock insurance company the payment is stable it doesn’t change monthly. I am interested in achieving a clear understanding of payments.

Reply to this comment

avatar zkeith November 11, 2014 at 10:40 pm

Several weeks ago, we retirees at my university were informed that some of our T/C mutual funds would be transferred to other funds, including Vanguard, American Funds, T, Rowe Price, etc. The effective date of the transfer was November 5. Two of my T/C funds (TILVX and TIREX) were transferred to two Vanguard funds (VINIX and VGSLX). Now that both T/C and Vanguard have publicized their 2014 year-end distributions (short- and long-term capital gains), I am able to see the effect of this change being made on November 5. According to my calculations, I would have received around $6,700 in year-end distributions on the two T/C funds had I still owned them when the distributions are made in December. On the other hand, it appears I will be receiving $1,530 in year-end distributions from Vanguard for the two T/C funds that were transferred to Vanguard funds on November 5. I’m wondering whether other institutions changed a number of their T/C funds to other fund companies such as Vanguard. It is too bad the transfer wasn’t delayed until T/C did its year-end distributions toward the middle of December.

Reply to this comment

avatar zkeith November 12, 2014 at 6:53 pm

Several weeks ago, we retirees at my university were informed that some of our T/C mutual funds would be transferred to other funds, including Vanguard, American Funds, T, Rowe Price, etc. The effective date of the transfer was November 5. Two of my T/C funds (TILVX and TIREX) were transferred to two Vanguard funds (VINIX and VGSLX). Now that both T/C and Vanguard have publicized their 2014 year-end distributions (short- and long-term capital gains), I am able to see the effect of this change being made on November 5. According to my calculations, I would have received around $6,700 in year-end distributions on the two T/C funds had I still owned them when the distributions are made in December. On the other hand, it appears I will be receiving $1,530 in year-end distributions from Vanguard for the two T/C funds that were transferred to Vanguard funds on November 5. I’m wondering whether other institutions changed a number of their T/C funds to other fund companies such as Vanguard. It is too bad the transfer wasn’t delayed until T/C did its year-end distributions toward the middle of December.

Reply to this comment

avatar Peter-DG November 13, 2014 at 4:36 pm

I just found this website and it fits nicely in helping address my latest dilemma. I’ve been with TIAA-CREF, and other retirement fund companies like Fidelity, Schwab and Vanguard since 1975. Until the last year or so I was sold on TIAA and had about half of my net worth with them. But when I got more active managing my assets I became disillusioned, and am slowly pulling out. I think the problem is that today TIAA’s goals are related to “social issues” and not financial service to it’s customers. My experience is that customer service is abominable. The same transaction at TIAA takes ten times as long as at Vanguard. When you call in to TIAA you get a clerk; at Vanguard you get a professional. The TIAA website is ridiculous. I once put in a fund transfer, but decided to cancel about 5 minutes before market close. I could not navigate through the website and cancel it in time. At Vanguard 5 seconds would have been enough. I could go on …… .

My specific issue now is related to interest payments on “TIAA Traditional” accounts. Two emails to my TIAA Adviser have gotten no reply. The interest is paid daily and I can compute the amount every day. The interest rate is listed in a link just below the account data line. I would expect the interest to be principle*rate/365. It is not, it’s about 3% short. The daily added amount corresponds exactly to the correct interest if the rate quoted were the APY not the interest. Yet TIAA always calls it interest, not APY. You may say that’s peanuts – yes, enough to feed an elephant. On a million dollar account it’s about $1,000 a year. Has anybody else out there (in here) looked into this?

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard November 15, 2014 at 12:42 pm

I do transactions with both T-C and Vanguard as well. The hard part at TC is sometimes figuring which of my five remaining plans to do a transfer in. Having done that, setting up the transfer is reasonably quick and I can cancel at 3:55 pm ET if I change my mind.
With Vanguard, you cannot cancel a pending transfer. And VG has a much stricter 60-day frequent trading restriction for online transactions. So T-C wins this comparison.
And the Trad interest rate is fine, no whining needed. It’s neither a bank account nor a loan, so APR rules don’t apply. If you don’t like their 3.0% in an SRA then put that cash in Ally bank instead…

Reply to this comment

avatar Peter-D-G November 15, 2014 at 2:03 pm

I’m surprised you can’t cancel a pending transfer at Vanguard. I don’t have any mutual funds at Vanguard – it’s all in ETFs – and those trades can be canceled at any instant. Market close is not a factor because FTEs trade continuously – you don’t have the idiotic mutual fund protocol that you must commit before the price is established. Dealing with ETF especially using limit orders are much easier. I don’t know what the “60-day frequent trading restriction” is. I’ve gone in and out of Vanguard ETF more or less at will with no restrictions.

Eventually I figured out, and documented, exactly how to cancel trades at T-C – that web site is too scattered and un-intuitive – who would look for “change investments” under “more” when you need “trade” or “move funds”? And I still don’t remember how to find “cancel.”

My TIAA Traditional interest rate is closer to 5% APY = 4.88% true interest, which is why I am still at TIAA. Ally is about 2%. The point is why does TIAA misrepresent the rate? Even their agents don’t know that the quoted rate is just the APY not the interest. That detail hiding somewhere in the fine print of the contract, but I’ve never been able to find it – after spending lots of time searching, and emailing. When you’re in your account online, and tunnel your way down to the details, click on “view interest rates” and it gives you “crediting rate” and “guaranteed rate” – those should be the true rates not the APY’s, or they should be clearly labeled APY. Again, even their agents don’t seem to know the difference.

Reply to this comment

avatar Dinamarie November 15, 2014 at 2:57 pm

I’m pretty novice at this but it seems that APY is most relevant when you are paying off loans because you pay off the interest as well as the principle. When referring to savings, especially during the accumulation phase like most money at TIAA, the APR seems more appropriate–at the end of the year, this is what you’ve earned in interest. I suppose during the draw-down phase you could obsess over the timing of interest payments vs the timing of payouts but that doesn’t seem to be your point.

In terms of savings accounts, APR often underrepresents the actual earnings if interest is paid throughout the year; nothing sneaky here because this the investor earns more than the APR if they remain all year. In fact, quoting the APY could be deceptive: “It is in the bank’s best interest to quote you the APY, as opposed to the APR. They want to quote the highest possible rate they can to entice you with to their bank. They are much less likely to quote you the APR because this rate is lower than the APY given that there is some compounding during the year.” [quoted from Investopedia]

Reply to this comment

avatar Linda November 15, 2014 at 7:45 pm

Social issues? Really? Look at the politicians that the TIAA-CREF PAC supports.
Read prior “Linda” posts about the company’s record relative to votes for company disclosures. Read the TIAA Institute’s research, written with the pension-gutting Arnold Foundation’s V-P. And read how, in concert, a TIAA-CREF official suggested, to a writer for The Chronicle of Higher Education, a way to facilitate the dismantling of pensions. Read about the company’s investments, as documented at the Oakland Institute.
I took my investments out because of TIAA’s “social” issues. I concluded, based on chummy relationships referenced in TIAA newsletters, that TIAA management doesn’t seem adverse to billionaire Pete Peterson’s national campaign. Research from the TIAA Institute was posted at State Budget Solutions. A year or so ago, State Budget Solutions identified itself as a partnership with the multinational corporate/Koch-funded organization, ALEC, and the Franklin Center. A member of the TIAA-CREF Board of Overseers is the president of the David Koch Theater.
If I’ve missed what TIAA is doing that is consistent with the greater good, please post that info. at this site, so that I can read it. To me, small donations to worthy causes, don’t qualify.

Reply to this comment

avatar Peter-D-G November 15, 2014 at 8:03 pm

Linda – It sounds like you’ve done much more research than I have on this topic. All I’ve looked at is the bios of the directors when they are up for votes. It struck me that most of them have (emphasize?) a social issues viewpoint rather than a pro business background. Some seemed to be socialists. I want Koch, not Gore, managing my retirement fund. My concern here is how they advertise/compute interest and their customer service. Politics enters only in that I want T-C to focus on serving its customers, not society in general.

Reply to this comment

avatar Linda November 15, 2014 at 10:07 pm

Peter D-G.
Many of the investors in TIAA joined at a time when participation was limited to people employed in fields of service to the public good, as was intended by the company’s founder. The company is non-profit and its current mission (quoted in prior posts and posted at the TIAA website) make the responsibility, of the Board of Overseers, clear.
Read the mission and the company’s history. College press and other published sources, unfamiliar with the changes at TIAA, describe the company as if it is lofty, not, a run-of-the-mill Wall Street business. TIAA promotional materials continue to trade on those perceptions, to recruit investors.
If a company attracts people based a legacy, has a motto of “serving the greater good”, has a mission of charitable service, and recruits based on those points, isn’t your view at odds, with what people have a right to expect of the company?

Reply to this comment

avatar keith November 14, 2014 at 8:10 pm

Several weeks ago, we retirees at my university were informed that some of our T/C mutual funds would be transferred to other funds, including Vanguard, American Funds, T, Rowe Price, etc. The effective date of the transfer was November 5. Two of my T/C funds (TILVX and TIREX) were transferred to two Vanguard funds (VINIX and VGSLX). Now that both T/C and Vanguard have publicized their 2014 year-end distributions (short- and long-term capital gains), I am able to see the effect of this change being made on November 5. According to my calculations, I would have received around $6,700 in year-end distributions on the two T/C funds had I still owned them when the distributions are made in December. On the other hand, it appears I will be receiving $1,530 in year-end distributions from Vanguard for the two T/C funds that were transferred to Vanguard funds on November 5. I’m wondering whether other institutions changed a number of their T/C funds to other fund companies such as Vanguard. It is too bad the transfer wasn’t delayed until T/C did its year-end distributions toward the middle of December.

Reply to this comment

avatar keith November 14, 2014 at 8:31 pm

Several weeks ago, the employees and retirees at my university were notified that a number of the TIAA-CREF mutual funds that had been available to us were being switched on November 5 to Vanguard funds, T Rowe Price funds, American funds, etc. It appears that most of the new funds into which our existing T/C funds were transferred are index funds.

The date of the switch seemed a bit strange to me, but I was not able to calculate the amount of the potential disadvantage to fellow employees and retirees until after both T/C and Vanguard released their tentative year-end short-term and long-term distributions. T/C has now released its tentative distributions, and I’m able to extrapolate the upcoming tentative quarterly Vanguard distribution based on the prior distributions from several previous quarters. Because this switch was made on November 5 before our T/C funds received the year-end distributions, I have calculated that I will lose more than $5,000 in distributions that I would have received had the transfer to Vanguard funds been done after T/C made its year-end distributions.

I’m wondering whether any other colleges/universities that use TIAA-CREF services also had a mandated transfer of T/C mutual funds into other companies’ funds and if so, when the transfer actually took place. Any transfer that takes place prior to the T/C year-end distributions will likely put you into the same position I’m in. Any suggestions?

Reply to this comment

avatar Jim Woodhull November 14, 2014 at 11:27 pm

I believe the TIAA-CREF personnel do what is in the best interest of the company not the best interest if the client. This is wrong and we need more people complaining so we can start a suit to prevent this from continuing and hopefully pay us what they have cost us.
I need names and contact information of any people who could benefit from such a suit and would like to participate.

Reply to this comment

avatar Michael Furman November 16, 2014 at 6:51 pm

T/C has also cheated me on a flat-rate 3% interest account. It seems to me that a class action lawsuit is in order. If enough people are interested in persueing this route it may well I be worth the effort. I would be happy to collect names/ issues that T/C has created and move this nonsense into legal action. V/R. Michael Furman. Ria1305_20005@yahoo.com

Reply to this comment

avatar Dinamarie November 15, 2014 at 4:55 pm

I retired mid-year in 2014 and spent an inordinate amount of time educating myself about my retirement finances. TIAA Cref is not easy to work with but I learned to separate my feelings about their service (poor) from my assessment of their products (solid). Along the way I cleared up my own misunderstandings, some of which seem to be reflected in comments on this page.

First off, it’s important to understand that TIAA Traditional is just one of many funds you can invest in at TIAA Cref (but it is the most confusing). No one should put all of their retirement money into this fund; spread your investments across a wider selection of funds. Likewise, it’s important to understand that when you retire you do not need to convert your savings into lifelong annuity payments unless you want to; receiving monthly cash is an attractive option that leaves any un-used balance for your estate. Cash payouts apply to TIAA Traditional (with some restrictions) as well as any other money you have at TIAA Cref. Overall, your portfolio is much more flexible than some people seem to imply.

Regarding the specific fund TIAA Traditional, this is what I’ve come to understand:

During the accumulation phase, invest in TIAA Traditional with attention to the current interest rates–you lock into that rate until you begin to make withdrawals. This results in different “pools” of money that are earning different interest rates. If you are young and the interest rates are low (as they are now), consider other funds with better returns. But when interest rates rise or when you get closer to retirement, TIAA Traditional might serve a good purpose. Do NOT put all of your money into this fund, especially in your university-sponsored plan.

TIAA Traditional has different rules in your university-sponsored retirement plan [GRA] than it does in your 403(b) [GSRA]. Use this to your advantage. Within the university-sponsored plan, you will earn a higher rate of interest but there are restrictions on accessing the money: before you retire you are limited to a 10-year payout and after you retire that drops down to a 5-year payout (you DO have 120 days after you terminate employment to cash out entirely but there is a penalty for that). This 10-year restriction applies even to moving money out of TIAA Traditional and into the stock funds, or rolling it over to a different company. Because of this, use TIAA Traditional in your employer-sponsored plan only for money that is truly for future retirement that you’re willing to leave with TIAA Cref. Think of it like a really good (i.e. “guaranteed”) savings account that gives some stability to your portfolio. When it comes time to use money in TIAA Traditional in your employer-sponsored plan, you can annuitize it into lifelong payments or you can withdraw it as cash over the required 5- or 10-year time period. (This is called a “payout annuity” but it is different than a lifelong annuity; it simply pays out your money in TIAA Traditional over the course of 5-10 years). If you are young, this 5-10 year payout probably sounds restrictive but after you retire it might not be as bad as you think (see my example below).

The rules are different within your 403(b) where TIAA Traditional acts like a fantastic savings account with interest that currently is higher than you can find elsewhere (but lower than in the GRA). In your 403(b), there are no restrictions on moving money between TIAA Traditional and the Cref mutual funds and no payout limitation if you want to roll this money over to another company. After you retire (or whenever the IRS lets you access this money without penalty) you can withdraw it freely (remember that you pay tax on it at the time of withdrawal, just like for a paycheck). The guaranteed interest, flexibility in moving into/out of Cref mutual funds, and easy access make TIAA Traditional a great spot to hold a chunk of money within your 403(b) after you retire.

Here’s my own strategy now that I’m retired:

Within my 403(b), I moved 2-3 years of living expenses into TIAA Traditional. This is earning 3% and I can access it whenever I want; they currently send me monthly “paychecks” from that money. It is reassuring to know that my immediate living expenses (“short term bucket”) are safe and earning interest; this keeps me from getting nervous when the stock market jumps around with the rest of my money. I can replenish my Traditional fund as needed by moving money over from the Cref funds in my 403(b). The flexibility of this arrangement made me decide to keep all of my 403(b) at TIAA so I can keep refilling my short term bucket.

Within my university-sponsored plan [GRA], TIAA Traditional earns a higher interest rate (4.4% for me, given the different years I invested in this fund). As a retiree, this looks good because it’s likely to stay ahead of inflation and it is guaranteed (unlike bond funds). I moved a bit more money into this fund and will treat it like my personal Long Term Care insurance, not touching it unless I have excessive medical needs. A traditional LTC policy is quite expensive and those premiums are lost once you’ve paid them; also, it is sometimes difficult to qualify for LTC insurance benefits even though you’ve paid your premiums, and they cap their total payout at a set amount paid monthly for 3-5 years. In my case, if I need something comparable to LTC I’ll begin a 5-year payout from this TIAA Traditional account. The balance is comparable to the 3-5 year maximum payout I’d receive from a traditional LTC policy but the money remains in my portfolio rather than being lost through premiums; if I don’t need LTC the money is there for later living expenses or for my estate.

Realize that my comments are just about TIAA Traditional which is one of many investment options at TIAA-Cref. I have other money invested in assorted stock and bond funds at TIAA Cref and I could easily roll that money over into an IRA at another company if I ever wanted to. But now that I’m on the “other side” of retirement, I’ve come to see some unique value in TIAA Traditional both within my 403(b) as well as in the payout-constrained GRA.

Reply to this comment

avatar Peter-D-G November 16, 2014 at 7:48 pm

Dinamarie – I have a 403(b) but it has two parts – an SRA where I can take out the TIAA Traditional accumulation at any time (I have) and a 403(b) RA where I can only take out on a 10 year plan (I’m not aware of a 5 year option – but you may be right on that). As to interest (which is my original gripe here) your quoted 4.4 is really only 4.3 and the 3 is only 2.9. Check this out by looking at your balance every day, computing the difference and then computing the rate. The 4.3 does yield 4.4 if compounded daily for a year (APY), 2.9 yields 3. But my grip is that they tell you they’re paying 4.4 interest; they don’t tell “oh that’s APY not true interest.” 4.3 still sounds pretty good, but 2.9 isn’t all that hot for a non FDIC, long term investment.

BTW: excellent, well written post Dinamarie!

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard November 17, 2014 at 7:08 am

Dinamarie gives an EXCELLENT overview of Trad and the strategies for using it as part of your retirement plan.
It’s refreshing to see the results of someone who’s done her homework on that product compared to so many others who have not…

Reply to this comment

avatar Tom November 15, 2014 at 9:43 pm

To all with trouble with TIAA Cref

I feel for all of you. I have been a successful investor, MBA. This is why I want nothing to do with TIAA Cref. They forced my wife into a fixed period annuity for 5 years or face a 2% surrender charge on a TIAA Traditional account set up by her local school system. They gave her some bull that since this was a guaranteed investment contract that they could not easily pay her off. But in one day of receiving her application for the fixed period annuity they liquidated her shares. How hard was that! But it is not just them. ALL 403B companies like them are infamous for tying people up in low return annuities that indeed provide lifetime income but at rates of return that work in their favor not yours. I have 457 plans where I have worked in local and federal government. You invest in a market basket of stock market funds and have full access to your funds when you retire for transfer to your IRA.

Reply to this comment

avatar Linda December 18, 2014 at 4:12 pm

Joel Franks,
David Sirota, at International Business Times, published an important article about Chris Christie’s wife and the N.J. pension funds, yesterday. Thanks for bringing the issue to the attention of readers, initially.

Reply to this comment

avatar Martha Meyer January 11, 2015 at 7:02 pm

I am currently in a nightmare trying to get my minimum payment from TIAA since I am not 71 and tried to prolong that as long as I could because of the rotten interest rates in private sector. I did all the paperwork required at the TIAA-CREF local office, signed a forest of trees bunch of papers, and had everything set up for my first payment on March 16, 2015. I get a call from the main TIAA-CREF office that my request was rejected because my signature was not “Good” after 180 days. I was instructed to go back to my TIAA-CREF office and redo the signatures in October of 2014 — I love over 100 miles away from it. Then, they said I could adjust the date to January, 2015. Not happy, but accepted that. The date is tomorrow, and I have been on the phone for over three hours and it still is not right. Thank god I was not going out and buy a new car or something with my annual chunk. I am terrified I will not make the deadlines for my first withdrawal per federal requirement — what is wrong with customer service for this company. I can even do the required distribution of my accounts — it is 2,000 plus off less than what it should be, before withholding. I kept getting passed to people and was on the phone just trying to get my money for my first distribution for well over an hour. They told me that two accounts could be paid out in March, and when I looked, those are the two pending for a January distribution, and the ones that were cleared for that January distribution do not appear anywhere. I am turning this over to my local office tomorrow. I have three months to get my money — they are going be be very sick and tired of me before I am done. I have lost confidence in this company.

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard January 12, 2015 at 2:11 pm

You’ve got till the end of 2015 to take your RMD for this year.
Did you sign up for their Minimum Distribution Option?
If not, why not?

Reply to this comment

avatar Meyer January 12, 2015 at 2:46 pm

Yes, that is what is the problem — my first MDO withdrawal. It is for year 2014 I signed up this summer to take my first one as late as I could and scheduled it in late March of 2015. (I took the MDO on an annual basis and wanted it as late as I could take it, based on balance December 31 of 2013.) This is the part that is totally screwed up. I am working with my local TIAA-CREF person right now — the upper food chain was in error about the timing of my signature on all that paperwork, and that has what has caused all the chaos. TIAA said my signature was not valid on about 12 different forms because the payment was scheduled to occur after 180 from date of signing and they rejected my application for disbursement — this is starting to look like not the case at all. Misinterpretation on the upper food chain about that rule has caused this chaos. My rep is working on this as I write this. This seems as it should be a simple process — so far, it is anything but simple. The first mistake, I guess, was misinterpretation of this TIAA rule once the paperwork arrived — about two weeks after I signed it, and not after 160 days. After informing me of the rejection, they asked me to return to my local office and resign everything to an earlier date (office is 100 miles away) OR we could choose another date on the phone, verify, and they would just make the changes to a January date, Surprise! Didn’t happen — they didn’t make the changes on all the accounts. Only some accounts were changed, not all of them that I had previously signed off. I am now scheduled for two payments before April 1st, and I don’t even know which are which — they couldn’t tell me — “It was on a different platform.” I have a superb local office person — but once this got to corporate, it has been nothing but a headache. It may ultimately end up as another 100 mile one way trip to my local office.

Reply to this comment

avatar Audra February 19, 2015 at 6:19 pm

We need help———-tried contacting numerous folks at TIAA to try to release our 2016 payout as the hardship reported—all there-all documents required. Very Sr retiree, medical history detailed, WW2 Vet————-every answer is we must go into foreclosure of our only asset, our home, to obtain the payout of our TIAA CREF funds—–not a huge amount. Think we had an 8.oo min distribution which disqualifies us from converting. ( to an m.d.) There are no other options——-we need some of those funds held by TIAA to survive.////// We are trying desperately to PREVENT foreclosure. No savings, stocks or bonds and only a leased car.
Is there anyone at TIAA_CREF who can help?

Reply to this comment

avatar Ilovemycountry February 19, 2015 at 6:58 pm

I actually got mine straightened out by going back to my local representative and she was able to straighten it out with corporate. Since my problem was very different than yours, but I understand your difficulty with the corporate office. Start the with local representative. Good luck to you — I can empathize with your frustration.

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard February 19, 2015 at 8:46 pm

Probably not, no.
An eight dollar min distribution is enough for two Big Macs, that’s it.
You have bigger problems than can be dealt with here, it would seem.
What are the details of your/his T-C holdings?
How many dollars and in what type of contracts?

Reply to this comment

avatar Audra February 20, 2015 at 3:36 pm

—-agree-not trying to review all the problems—just the fact that we have 46,000 in our TIAA-CREF Retirement Account and we have no other funds available-retired engineer (who probably did not count on ever fully retiring—and the many problems with cancer etc) We are “way over the top” Seniors– We received a Jan payout form TIAA from which the Income and State Taxes were deducted and also a $28.ooo,I think, min distribution. (mistakenly printed as 8.oo) Anyway, we have requested to be allowed to withdraw next years payout early——–to pay taxes, house insurance, co-pays for medical visits etc -terribly needed. but told we have to go into foreclosure first, have the lights actually in danger of being turned off etc before we can get a hardship withdrawal. The house is absolutely the only thing we have left—————-we want to avoid foreclosure! But that’s what TIAA insists on—————————- what can we do? Surely, we are not asking for charity———-but an early payment of our money. audra

Reply to this comment

avatar SB Frost March 10, 2015 at 1:43 pm

My cost-of-living insurance option is about to disappear because of my age. A letter dated February 25, 2015 just arrived yesterday March 9 notifying me of this fact and saying that I had until April 9, 2015 to decide how to handle this. NO figures or specifics were provided to me. The letter could not have given me LESS information. I called and was told that the necessary information with specifics on premiums and benefits etc would be mailed out to me in 10 to 14 BUSINESS days. Given their track record, I am doubtful that this will reach me in time to comply with the April 9 deadline. The rep told me that – despite the wording of the letter – there is a 30 day grace period beyond April 9. This company is a disaster and I no longer trust them.

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard March 10, 2015 at 5:03 pm

Those scoundrels!
Which company was this anyway?
And what kind of insurance it is that you have with them?

Reply to this comment

avatar SB Frost March 11, 2015 at 10:41 am

TIAA Whole life policy with cost of living rider.

Reply to this comment

avatar FL Girl March 26, 2015 at 5:30 pm

BEWARE of TIAACREF! Be cautious when transferring money on TIAACREF’s website. Some funds retain the money you move into them (such as the Traditional fund), but the website does not inform the account holder of this when the transfer is made. And then, of course, TIAACREF will not release the funds until the specified time period expires. They do not care that the website does not inform the account holder that the fund is a long-term investment. This is a devious way to get people’s money without their consent.

Reply to this comment

avatar John Fisher April 3, 2015 at 12:16 pm

Putting your money into TIAA CREF is easy. Getting it out is another matter. You cannot Roll over your TIAA CREF account into an IRA. You can’t get it as a lump sum. Since you cannot be trusted with your money, TIAA CREF will only dole out your money to you as an Annuity.

Reply to this comment

avatar Dinamarie April 7, 2015 at 10:43 am

John, This is only partially true. Most people put a only portion of their retirement money into the TIAA annuity fund and the rest into CREF. The portion in TIAA does have a payout restriction with payouts spread over 5 years being the fastest you can receive it, but the portion in CREF is not restricted. It is unfortunate if you were advised to put all your money into the TIAA fund at TIAA-CREF. However, that payout restriction applies only to money in your employee-sponsored retirement account. If you also have a 403b or personal IRAs at TIAA-CREF and you invested some of that money onto the TIAA annuity fund, there is no payout restriction; you have total flexibility about withdrawing that money or moving it into the Cref funds. Advisors are not always clear about these different rules, and your own institution might have specific restrictions as well. See my comment above about how I used these funds to my advantage even with those restrictions.

Reply to this comment

avatar The Wizard April 7, 2015 at 2:48 pm

Ho hum…
This is practically ALL incorrect.
About the only restriction on lump sum rollover or removal is for TIAA Traditional in an RA or GRA. Everything else can be transferred or taken out for living expenses in retirement as desired. Ask me how I know.

Reply to this comment

avatar dpg April 21, 2015 at 8:33 pm

Tiaa Cref is excellent at accumulation, but stinks at disbursement. Their website is three generations behind. I get my updates on their mutual funds on Yahoo Finance before they are reported on the Tiaa Cref website.

Several times now I have logged into my account and was greeted with a several hundred thousand dollar loss that was unaccounted for. I was assured “it was there” by someone on the phone even though it showed it had disappeared. Inexcusable!

If you email them their response is “call somebody” to get your problem solved.

I had a “moderately aggressive” managed portfolio that ended up at 2014 years end 6% points below the DJIA, S&P and the NASDAQ (I asked them what their “conservative” accounts did, if I was listed as “aggressive”). I since mange my own account with much better results.

Reply to this comment

Leave a Comment

Connect with Facebook

Note: Use your name or a unique handle, not the name of a website or business. No deep links or business URLs are allowed. Spam, including promotional linking to a company website, will be deleted. By submitting your comment you are agreeing to these terms and conditions.

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.