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Old 04-03-2015, 07:03 AM   #1
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I retired 2 years ago from a teaching position where I foolishly opted out of the state retirement system at the beginning of my tenure and into TIAA-CREF for my pension when I didn't know any better. Yes, I know I have been sucker punched. As a result my pension is about 1/3 of what it would have been. I have not made any decisions yet to start withdrawing from the account.

Fortunately I made a point of saving enough to easily take my wife and I through retirement with a very nice balance left for the kids and grandkids without the TIAA-CREF money but I would like to start accessing my money before too long. At the moment we have investments in Vanguard Wellesly, Wellington, TR Price 2015 Retirement fund and a few stocks but have no need to tap into these until required at 70 ..

Presently I have a balance of 134k in the CREF Equity Index fund and could use some help from anyone with TIAA-CREF experience in this type of situation.

I would like to get the maximum out of my money and there is no need to have any remaining for anyone when I am gone.

Is there a preferred type of annuity or might it be preferable to take all the money and run? The different kinds of annuities are confusing so I would appreciate someone with TIAA-CREF experience that can offer some good advice for someone in my situation. I believe if I take the money it has to be over a few years.


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Old 04-04-2015, 03:34 PM   #2
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Are you basing what you wrote on the web site? Or did you talk to someone at TIAA-CREF?

My experience is that the TIAA-CREF folks know that everything is incredibly confusing on their web site, so they love to talk to participants and help them out. For instance, the CREF equity index fund generally does not need to be annuitized. You should be able to simply roll it over to an IRA if you don't want to annuitize. But talking to them will be helpful.

Otherwise, I cannot figure out how you are paying your expenses. Apparently, you have a small pension, and otherwise all your accounts are not being used.

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Old 04-05-2015, 05:29 AM   #3
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We have a few small pensions, SS, and dividends from after tax stock investments that take care of our expenses (we enjoy life but have inexpensive tastes and few needs). Medical is taken care of and not an issue, the house is paid for and we don't owe any money. We have yet to use any of our IRA accounts and may not need to access the money for a few more years until required at 70.5.

I just want to figure out the best way to access the money without penalty and insure none is left on the table. I will probably never need the money but I earned it and don't want it to be absorbed by some company instead of where I want it to go. There are so many kinds of annuities it is confusing and since this money is instead of a state pension I was under the impression that it would have to be withdrawn in increments over a period of a few years.

I'll call TIAA-CREF next week but any education I can get before then would be appreciated.

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Old 04-05-2015, 08:31 AM   #4
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What kind of plan is the TIAA-CREF money in? 403B? Something else? If it is in a 403B you should be able to roll over the funds to your IRA and do what you wish with them.
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Old 04-06-2015, 12:16 PM   #5
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What are your income needs? and what is the plan, 457, 403b, 401a?

TIAA-CREF retirement accounts basically offer some average cost mutual funds (although they are technically variable annuities, but you can think of them as just like a regular mutual fund with an ER of maybe 0.4%), and some balanced lifestyle funds. However, they also have TIAA-Traditional which is an annuity with a yearly fixed interest rate and also they will sell you a life time annuity and their rates ted to be better than most of the industry.

So do you need an SPIA....if so TIAA is probably a good place to get one.....fixed income with a guaranteed minimum of maybe 3% depending on the type of TIAA-Traditional account you have in your plan......or just a portfolio of mutual fauns to draw 4% from. TIAA can do all that for you. If it was the last choice Vanguard is probably slightly better, but you might have to stay in TIAA-CREF if it is a state retirement plan to get the other benefits like health insurance.
"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." - Spock
Retired Mar 2014 at age 52
Target AA: 70% equity funds / 28% TIAA-Traditional/ 2% cash
Target WR: 0.0%,
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