Originally Posted by Lump2
I am meeting with TIAA-CREF Financial Consultant next week to talk about my portfolio. Right now I am using a Financial Planner that I pay a fee based % of assets managed. About half of my portfolio is in Fidelity Funds and Half is in CREF TIAA funds. Those were the two Plans offered through the University I worked for. Just wondered if anybody has any opinion on using the knowledge of a Financial Consultant that is part of the TIAA CREF financial services , There is no charge for his services. I am currently paying my Planner about 4k every year. Just wondering if anybody has an opinion on this?
At my small nonprofit, I am a member of the Retirement Committee. Employer contributions have been limited to TIAA-CREF since 2002, therefore most of our 403(b) Plan is there. In January 2014, a number of Committee members including myself, volunteered to test the TIAA-CREF financial consulting. The face-to-face advice was divided into two categories - "Financial Consultants" and "Wealth Advisors" with the latter requiring a minimum account balance with TIAA-CREF. Every participant can talk to or meet with a Financial Consultant. The results of this experiment were mixed, and it seemed to depend on the chemistry between participant and the consultant/advisor. My Wealth Advisor produced a 80-page analysis of my situation that included 20-pages of specific advice and 60-pages of boilerplate (but still ok) advice. I can get similar and better portfolio analysis from Morningstar. The analysis contained some bad advice such as suggesting an 87/13 stock/bond allocation based on my risk assessment while ignoring our (they considered DW, too) lack of need for such an aggressive allocation. The analysis also included all investment costs in our "Lifestyle expenses" and thus ignored investment costs in the investment analysis. They suggested re-balancing the portfolio, but did so based on each vendor rather than overall portfolio. The best/worst part of the advice is that the Wealth Advisor confidentially disagreed with the analysis that was produced under his name. He said he was obligated to feed everything into a program and the results simply spit out. He declined to name the program, but the asset allocation was an Ibbotson Associates product. I was able to discuss the shortcomings with the Advisor and he provided good advice on our portfolio and some other financial planning items. All-in-all, it was useful for me, but only because I knew enough to reject most of their 80-page report and because I drew an old-school advisor who acknowledged the system shortcomings and offered his own off-the-record advice. (And it was all FREE).
I agree with other posters that TIAA Traditional and TIAA Real Estate are unique products that make TIAA-CREF a useful investment tool to have in one's toolbox.