TIAA Questions

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spdoublebass
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TIAA Questions

Post by spdoublebass » Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:21 pm

I recently opened a 403B (GRSA) at TIAA. I have read the Wiki and searched the forum, some of the forum posts were from a while ago, and I'm still not clear on a few things.

1. I wanted to invest in the Vanguard equivalent of VTI (Total Stock Market). From what I read TIAA Access Equity Index Fund T1 is that fund.

However, I see two of them:
TIAA Access Equity Index Fund T1, ER .15% (I can't find a ticker for this, I thought it was TIEIX, but its not)
and
CREF Equity Index Account (R3), ER .23

The CREF Equity Index is listed under Variable Annuity, while the other is listed under the Access Equity section. What is the difference? I believe most people here recommend against the Variable Annuity. I am just looking for a mutual fund.

2. From what I read, the TIAA Access Equity Index Fund T1, ER .15%, tracks the Russel 3000 index. I know this is similar to TSM, but not the same. I know this is not a huge deal and I am nitpicking, but at vanguard I like TSM over the SP500, so with TIAA....should I go with the fund listed above which follows the Russel 3000? or should I go with the TIAA Access S&P 500 Index (T1), ER also .15%. I have no issue with the SP500.

3. TIAA Access Equity Index Fund T1, ER .15%
This is the fund I have now. I thought this fund was ticker TIEIX, institutional shares. It's not.
When I looked at my statement I do not see a ticker for the fund.
I do see that for the fund I have 1 share is around $55.
I found a page online that lists the different versions of the Equity Index fund tickers:
TINRX = Retail
TIQRX= Retirement
TCEPX= Premier
TEIHX= Advisor
TIEIX= Institutional

For all of these 5 tickers, a share is around $19. So I know that these are not the fund I have. I just can't seem to find the ticker for the fund I have. I do not know why this is so confusing. Again the fund I own is labeled TIAA Access Equity Index Fund T1, ER .15% on my statement.



This is not a huge part of my overall funds as I am only a part time adjunct faculty. I am only looking for basic answers to these questions. I wanted to keep the account as basic as possible and just incorporate it into my overall asset allocation.

Thanks,
Spdoublebass
Last edited by spdoublebass on Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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CyclingDuo
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Re: TIAA Questions

Post by CyclingDuo » Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:58 pm

spdoublebass wrote:
Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:21 pm
I recently opened a 403B (GRSA) at TIAA. I have read the Wiki and searched the forum, some of the forum posts were from a while ago, and I'm still not clear on a few things.

1. I wanted to invest in the Vanguard equivalent of VTI (Total Stock Market). From what I read TIAA Access Equity Index Fund T1 is that fund.

However, I see two of them:
TIAA Access Equity Index Fund T1, ER .15% (I can't find a ticker for this, I thought it was TIEIX, but its not)
and
CREF Equity Index Account (R3), ER .23

The CREF Equity Index is listed under Variable Annuity, while the other is listed under the Access Equity section. What is the difference? I believe most people here recommend against the Variable Annuity. I am just looking for a mutual fund.

2. From what I read, the TIAA Access Equity Index Fund T1, ER .15%, tracks the Russel 3000 index. I know this is similar to TSM, but not the same. I know this is not a huge deal and I am nitpicking, but at vanguard I like TSM over the SP500, so with TIAA....should I go with the fund listed above which follows the Russel 3000? or should I go with the TIAA Access S&P 500 Index (T1), ER also .15%. I have no issue with the SP500.

This is not a huge part of my overall funds as I am only a part time adjunct faculty. I am only looking for basic answers to these questions. I wanted to keep the account as basic as possible and just incorporate it into my overall asset allocation.

Thanks,
Spdoublebass
Are there no Vanguard funds available with your school's TIAA plan? I ask, because our TIAA plan does have the Vanguard funds available as choices.
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spdoublebass
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Re: TIAA Questions

Post by spdoublebass » Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:18 am

CyclingDuo wrote:
Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:58 pm

Are there no Vanguard funds available with your school's TIAA plan? I ask, because our TIAA plan does have the Vanguard funds available as choices.
Only a few. The Wellington, a SCV, and I think a IT treasury bond fund.

Again, this is not a lot of money, but I just wanted the best all around fund. Curious if this was the SP500 or Equity Index. I’m just not used to the TIAA platform yet. Hard to find volume etc and I figured people here would know.
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House Blend
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Re: TIAA Questions

Post by House Blend » Fri Oct 20, 2017 10:32 am

Your "TIAA Access Equity Index Fund T1" is not a mutual fund, it's a variable annuity. So, similar to CREF Equity Index except with a lower ER.

No, it has no ticker.

If you like total markets better, use that instead of the 500 index variable annuity. The Russell 3000 is a perfectly reasonable total market index.

More information here, including links to a prospectus.

https://www.tiaa.org/public/investment- ... =273731882

ResearchMed
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Re: TIAA Questions

Post by ResearchMed » Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:18 am

House Blend wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 10:32 am
Your "TIAA Access Equity Index Fund T1" is not a mutual fund, it's a variable annuity. So, similar to CREF Equity Index except with a lower ER.

No, it has no ticker.

If you like total markets better, use that instead of the 500 index variable annuity. The Russell 3000 is a perfectly reasonable total market index.

More information here, including links to a prospectus.

https://www.tiaa.org/public/investment- ... =273731882
To clarify for OP, about the category "variable annuity", IF this is like the "variable annuity" funds in our TIAA 403b plan (e.g., "Stock fund"), there are NOT the types of restrictions/costs that are normally associated with funds in variable annuities.
At least in our TIAA 403b plan, we can manage the funds in the "variable annuity" portion just like any other mutual funds... selling them an buying something else, annuitizing them (e.g., for lifetime income), or simply removing all or part upon separation from the Employer.
[In our case, because the 403b plan has 3 different vendors, TIAA, Fidelity, and Vanguard, we could also transfer the TIAA money from a "variable annuity" fund, and move it to either of the other two vendors.]

I am mentioning this because the use of non-annuitized "variable annuity" funds at TIAA was incredibly confusing until we figured out that it was NOT the same as the "bad variable annuities" that were being described by others, where there are restrictions on removal of money, or heavy penalties to do so, etc.
We kept hearing how "very bad" "variable annuities" were, it was alarming until we figured out that this was *not* what our TIAA funds were like.

I don't know if OP's "variable annuity funds" are like ours or like "the other type". But it matters...

RM
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jjustice
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Re: TIAA Questions

Post by jjustice » Fri Oct 20, 2017 1:04 pm

ResearchMed gave you good information about the Equity Index Accounts (not called funds). I just want to add that, although the variable annuity accounts can be handled just like mutual funds, their great advantage is that when you retire, if you so choose, you can turn them into lifetime annuities. Take it from one who has both CREF and TIAA annuities, there is no security like a lifetime salary from a good annuity.

These accounts are mutual funds plus the option of annuitizing. The annuitizing option may be very attractive when you retire.

John

ResearchMed
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Re: TIAA Questions

Post by ResearchMed » Fri Oct 20, 2017 1:15 pm

jjustice wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 1:04 pm
ResearchMed gave you good information about the Equity Index Accounts (not called funds). I just want to add that, although the variable annuity accounts can be handled just like mutual funds, their great advantage is that when you retire, if you so choose, you can turn them into lifetime annuities. Take it from one who has both CREF and TIAA annuities, there is no security like a lifetime salary from a good annuity.

These accounts are mutual funds plus the option of annuitizing. The annuitizing option may be very attractive when you retire.

John
Thanks.

I should also mention that adding to the "TIAA variable annuity" confusion (for us, anyway), our TIAA 403b plan also has "regular mutual funds".
So there would be two different "Equity Index Funds", the "CREF" version (which is the "variable annuity" flavor) and the "TIAA" version, which is the "regular mutual fund" flavor.

We have been told that EITHER of these (or any other of the assorted "mutual funds" or "variable annuities") can be annuitized.
So... it seems that the distinction between "variable annuities" and "mutual funds" is a bit of an historical leftover.
(If not, I'm even more befuddled about why there are "both types".)

We can also move money between any pair of these (or into Trad Annuity or out in 10 annual payments; or into/out of TREA, but with a once-per-quarter restriction on removal from TREA; and there are also some restrictions about adding money to TREA once one has a certain amount there).

RM
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student
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Re: TIAA Questions

Post by student » Fri Oct 20, 2017 1:24 pm

ResearchMed wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 1:15 pm
We have been told that EITHER of these (or any other of the assorted "mutual funds" or "variable annuities") can be annuitized.
So... it seems that the distinction between "variable annuities" and "mutual funds" is a bit of an historical leftover.
(If not, I'm even more befuddled about why there are "both types".)
This is interesting. My understanding is that mutual fund cannot be annuitized. The information is from 2014. However, it can be done in practice as one can move from equity index mutual fund to equity index annuity when one is ready to annuitize.

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Re: TIAA Questions

Post by ResearchMed » Fri Oct 20, 2017 1:36 pm

student wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 1:24 pm
ResearchMed wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 1:15 pm
We have been told that EITHER of these (or any other of the assorted "mutual funds" or "variable annuities") can be annuitized.
So... it seems that the distinction between "variable annuities" and "mutual funds" is a bit of an historical leftover.
(If not, I'm even more befuddled about why there are "both types".)
This is interesting. My understanding is that mutual fund cannot be annuitized. The information is from 2014. However, it can be done in practice as one can move from equity index mutual fund to equity index annuity when one is ready to annuitize.
Thanks. It might be that we need to make a quick move into one of the CREF "variable annuities", and then, perhaps the next day/week/etc., move into Trad Ann. Or we could just move the money into the TIAA money market fund.
But the "result" is the same, with the possible very slight delay.

Thus far, we've only moved money from the TIAA-CREF money market mutual fund into Trad, so we don't have anything else there. (In case it matters, note that it doesn't need to be in the "variable annuity CREF" money market fund, which is interesting.)
Given that Trad Ann is likely to be used eventually as a partial "floor" for lifetime income, we'll probably want to stick with the known basic flavor, and not deal with anything "variable" (other than the opaque mysteries of Trad Annuity vintages and annual rate changes :happy ).
But that's all TBD, although the time is drawing vaguely near...

RM
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spdoublebass
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Re: TIAA Questions

Post by spdoublebass » Fri Oct 20, 2017 1:38 pm

I’m following what was written above, but I see that with the two funds I listed, one was under the variable annuity and the other under the access annuity. I believe the difference is that the variable annuity is an annuity, the access one I can choose to make an annuity later on.

I will review all the above replies later this evening. Thank you very much for all the information.

Also, please note, as I stated above, this is not a lot of money so I am not overly concerned with this, but I wanted to take advantage of the TRAD fund, and put the rest in a TSM fund. I just found it really confusing as to which one is closest to TSM. I was not very familiar with the Russell 3000. I know it’s a loaded question, but I was just curious is the Russell 3000 is like TSM or if I should just utilize the SP500.
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Re: TIAA Questions

Post by student » Fri Oct 20, 2017 1:43 pm

spdoublebass wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 1:38 pm
I’m following what was written above, but I see that with the two funds I listed, one was under the variable annuity and the other under the access annuity. I believe the difference is that the variable annuity is an annuity, the access one I can choose to make an annuity later on.

I will review all the above replies later this evening. Thank you very much for all the information.

Also, please note, as I stated above, this is not a lot of money so I am not overly concerned with this, but I wanted to take advantage of the TRAD fund, and put the rest in a TSM fund. I just found it really confusing as to which one is closest to TSM. I was not very familiar with the Russell 3000. I know it’s a loaded question, but I was just curious is the Russell 3000 is like TSM or if I should just utilize the SP500.
Just pick the version with the lower ER as both are equity index. In the long run, I believe the difference of performances between Russell 3000 and TSM is negligible.

ByThePond
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Re: TIAA Questions

Post by ByThePond » Fri Oct 20, 2017 5:20 pm

student wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 1:43 pm


Just pick the version with the lower ER as both are equity index. In the long run, I believe the difference of performances between Russell 3000 and TSM is negligible.
Agree. I have both Vanguard Total Stock Index, VTSAX, and CREF Equity Index acct, QCEQRX. They perform nearly identically, both like the Russel 3000.

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Re: TIAA Questions

Post by jasg » Fri Oct 20, 2017 6:44 pm

Just a post to say I use TIAA and feel very fortunate to be able to do so, TRAD and TREA have been great for diversification and I also have both VG and TIAA mutual funds in my 403b and Roth accounts.

I only spent 5 years out of a 40 year career with the institution that established a small RA account but I held on to it. Over thirty years later I was able to roll my Fidelity and Wells accounts into the 403b as a GSRA. This gave me access to VG Institutional funds along with TRAD and TREA. I feel like have the best of both worlds - and can get world class annuities if I decide to go that way.

So, even though your 403b is small now - it might come in very handy in the future.

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spdoublebass
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Re: TIAA Questions

Post by spdoublebass » Sat Oct 21, 2017 11:41 am

jasg wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 6:44 pm

I only spent 5 years out of a 40 year career with the institution that established a small RA account but I held on to it. Over thirty years later I was able to roll my Fidelity and Wells accounts into the 403b as a GSRA. This gave me access to VG Institutional funds along with TRAD and TREA. I feel like have the best of both worlds - and can get world class annuities if I decide to go that way.

So, even though your 403b is small now - it might come in very handy in the future.
I agree. I wasn't going to open the 403B at first, then I thought why not, I might want it later. Even just the TRAD fund is something I like and think is worth while to have.
House Blend wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 10:32 am
Your "TIAA Access Equity Index Fund T1" is not a mutual fund, it's a variable annuity. So, similar to CREF Equity Index except with a lower ER.

https://www.tiaa.org/public/investment- ... =273731882
I'm not being sarcastic, I'm just trying to learn, I know what you mean by it's not a fund, but it does say fund in the title. So I'm a little confused.
ResearchMed wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:18 am

I am mentioning this because the use of non-annuitized "variable annuity" funds at TIAA was incredibly confusing until we figured out that it was NOT the same as the "bad variable annuities" that were being described by others, where there are restrictions on removal of money, or heavy penalties to do so, etc.
We kept hearing how "very bad" "variable annuities" were, it was alarming until we figured out that this was *not* what our TIAA funds were like.

I don't know if OP's "variable annuity funds" are like ours or like "the other type". But it matters...

RM
Yeah, thanks for this info. I realize these annuities are not the "bad" kind, but I'm still confused as to what is what. I think there are Variable Annuities that you can get right from the beginning at TIAA and then there are Access Anuities that you can choose to Annuitize later if you wish.
student wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 1:43 pm

Just pick the version with the lower ER as both are equity index. In the long run, I believe the difference of performances between Russell 3000 and TSM is negligible.
Again, I'm not trying to nitpick between the funds, I'd be ok with either because they have the same ER. I just wish I could have found out more info on the Volume etc. maybe that might make a difference with what I choose.

Thank you all for the info. Very Helpful.
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