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Yet Another TIAA-CREF Problem With My SEP IRA

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Back in April, I was assured by TIAA-CREF that my new SEP IRA contribution would be “coded” for the 2005 tax year.

Guess what? I viewed my 2006 tax form provided by TIAA-CREF, and my SEP IRA contribution is included for the 2006 tax year. I am disappointed but not surprised. I’ve written about TIAA-CREF’s poor service many times, and one particular post still generates a number of comments. Investors still have various problems with TIAA-CREF, including delays in opening accounts and transferring funds as well as problems similar to my recent issue. I chose them initially because at the time I opened my Roth IRA I didn’t have enough money ready to invest to avoid Vanguard‘s fees.

It may be time to determine whether I should move my IRAs to better respected and lower priced management.

I hope I can get this resolved quickly as I plan on making my SEP IRA contribution for 2006 before filing my taxes. This will reduce the amount I will owe for a year in which my income was about $20,000 higher than what I expected.

P.S. This week I am giving away a copy of The Maui Millionaires for free. I’m be allowing entries until early next week, when the winner will be picked randomly.

Updated February 6, 2012 and originally published January 25, 2007. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes 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 .

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar klerg

Just my $.02 here…

If you end up switching you may wanna check out T. Rowe Price. Their Capital Appreciation fund is top notch (20 years in existence with only one down year in 1990) and both their energy and telcom sector funds are good.

T. Rowe does have its downsides…its top-rated Small Cap fund is close to new investors and they could be stronger in both international and Growth. My experience is that the good outweighs the bad.

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avatar Vliyam

TIAA-CREF diviested from Israel playing politics to the left and causing great risk to investments. I look for them to have all sorts of financial trouble as they allow “political correctness” to guide their decisions.

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avatar James


I’m with you there. TIAA-CREF used to be a good company, but management changed a couple of years ago and decided to re-focus the company’s business model. Unfortunatly the impact of this reorientation appears to be 1) higher account fees, in some cases doubled from .5 to 1.0 percent per year and 2) poorer quality service, like you’ve just mentioned.

Not only that, the results of some of thier funds, such as their aggressive growth and stock funds, had greatly UNDERPERFORMED the S&P 500.



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avatar Dus10

That’s unfortunate. I am looking into opening an Independent 529 Plan account, and they administer it. Hopefully they can get their act together.

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avatar diane

I am probably one of the older readers of your blog.

Since retiring a few years ago we have had major problems with almost everything we’ve done with TIAA-Cref. Several mistakes were made by them when we had to transfer funds to IRAs within their family of funds. Fortunately we have a local representative who was on top of it and untangled the mess. Although I like their website, changes that we are suppose to be able to make online often do not go through and require a couple of phone calls to finally get done.

I have not been comparing investment results to other fund families because the thought of moving all that money seems like a big headache, but we are now talking to a financial advisor so this is something that we will be addressing (along with our wills, estate plans, etc.).

I have to say that we have been pleased over the long term with the growth of our retirement with them so almost hate to make any changes. But we are living on that money now and have to make sure it will last at least as long as we do.

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avatar lbg977

My Troubles with TIAA-CREF

Early in November 2007, I started the process to transfer my before-tax funds/assets from TIAA-CREF to other financial institution. When I started the process, a consultant sent me partially filled out forms for me to complete and send them back to TIAA. On completion, when I sent those forms, only 1/3 of the money was transferred from what I had discussed with the consultant. Since then I am having one problem or the other to get the rest of the funds transferred.
The major problem is that once documents are sent to TIAA the follow up is done by someone else. It is impossible to get the same person with whom I talked on the previous occasion. Every time you get a new consultant, and every time you have to relate your story, and every time the answer comes different. Since the time I started the process, I have talked with four different consultants. Each of them suggested me to send a separate set of forms and guided (misguided) me differently. I have submitted at least three sets of forms but have not gotten the funds transferred. At this time I am confused what to do with all the different messages I have gotten from TIAA. Apparently, most of the consultants do not know their jobs well.
This is not the first time I am having problem with TIAA. Few years ago, I sent in a check for my Roth IRA. The check was cashed but was not deposited. After several months I realized this fact and contacted TIAA. TIAA could not find where the deposited money was gone. I have to provide TIAA proof that it had my money. Only then the money was deposited in my IRA.
I am concerned not only for myself but all the people and particularly the retired people who invested in TIAA. May be TIAA was a sound institution at one time, but from my experiences I would not recommend TIAA to any person.

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