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TIAA CREF reviews, customer complaints, ratings, service pros and cons. Is TIAA CREF Investments a safe and good company to open an account?

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TIAA Reviews

by David Hadwiger,  7/10/2024

Pros:  Used to be an excellent organization

Cons:  Entirely incompetent at setting up annuity payments

Review:  I have been trying to set up an annuity payment for six months now. Initially, I phoned their customer service and was told they would send me a form and that the form required notarization. I completed the form and it was notarized. I did not hear back from them for a month. When I phoned (2nd time), they said the notary had made a mistake. They said they would mail the form back to me to correct the notary's mistake. I did not receive the form nor hear back from them for a month. When I phoned (3rd time), they said the first customer service representative sent me the wrong form. They sent a new form. I completed that form, got it notarized and returned it. I phoned them today. They said my form is fine, but that they could not verify my formal employment with New Mexico State University. I never worked at NMSU nor claimed to do so! When I told them this and the names of the universities where I actually worked, they indicated they would prioritize contacting the correct institutions. Yow! What incredible incompetence!

by Edward Denison,  3/1/2024

Pros:  None

Cons:  Everything

Review:  Tried to initiate my pension, starting in Nov 2023 and still trying Mar 2024, I turn 65 this month. I have submitted the provided paperwork 3 times, only to be told by the next agent that the previous ones were wrong and it is incomplete. They send acknowledgements that all is in order then out of the blue request you call them as there is an issue in processing the request. Very stressful and may end up missing payments and getting less than planned as a result of their errors.

by TF,  1/17/2024



Review:  Had to call many times just to get funds transferred to rollover IRA. Each time something went wrong. Many times the customer service phone tree hangs up on you before being able to speak to a human. They mail checks out by regular postal mail with no tracking numbers, so have no idea where the payments are if they don't arrive. Very antiquated system. Not recommended.

by Christopher,  1/3/2024

Pros:  Great history

Cons:  Almost everything

Review:  TIAA was , at one point, THE trustworthy and professional manager of academic and medical retirement plans. That was 30 years ago. Now, there are other more efficient, more professional, and lower cost alternatives. My experiences with TIAA is that their products are expensive, and their personnel seem inexperienced and frequently supply answers to questions that ultimately prove inaccurate. In addition, their client facing web tools are many years behind in intuitiveness and usability.
Finally, they seem to have morphed into a DEI company that muddles in financial services. That is not why I previously chose them to manage my retirement.
My chief regret at this point is not realizing how difficult it would be to get my money out of TIAA.

by Peewee,  9/16/2023



Review:  I've been an investor with TIAA CREF for over 35 years and up till this week, was satisfied. However, post covid, with office closings and the move to online and phone in contact, makes customers feel less valued. I prefer face to face customer service, because that's part of what I'm billed for. I've found a new company, who does business the old way and am going there

by I hate TIAA,  8/30/2023

Pros:  I hate these people

Cons:  Lost 50% due to forgetting I was vested over ten years ago!

Review:  I noticed I wasn’t vested when looking online, as I do DAILY. They magically forgot I was vested.

They put the blame on the small University affiliated company. It was up to this 20
Person company with almost all people I didn’t know to find my records and confirm I’d worked there at all, let alone was vested. It took one remaining friend to find an ancient email that confirmed vesting of ALL employees due to a mass rollover into a new TIAA plan.

Then it took weeks to move this money out of this account into an IRA as I do not trust that this would not reoccur. I needed an online notary which I had to pay for and my wife needed to do this.

The person I dealt with was a poor sap who cared but works for a scam of a company. I want them to be charge with some sort of felony fraud charges.

by Edward Re,  8/5/2023

Pros:  When necessary

Cons:  Hidden fees

Review:  Why would so many people discuss the service? Why would so many people discuss the computer system? Who cares? The problem is they have too many underlying hidden fees. The fee they charge and advertise is over and above all of the underlying fees in the TIAA products they purchase. very very very poor returns. You are better off, throwing a dart at the stock market.

by ME,  6/21/2023

Pros:  None

Cons:  Everything!!

Review:  This company is supposed to handle our money. The truth is, they take our money an do everything possible to NOT pay it out.

by SG,  5/3/2023

Pros:  none

Cons:  shady dealings

Review:  I thought retiring would be a relatively simple procedure with TIAA payouts for life. The associate assigned to me was very nice, available and tried to be helpful but I think the fault lies with TIAA itself. Most retirement accounts, you name a beneficiary and if you pass away the beneficiary receives your payouts. With TIAA you are charged for a specific length of time that a beneficiary may receive your benefits if you pass away. I chose 20 years meaning that if I die within 20 years after receiving benefits my spouse will continue to receive my payouts but not after the 20 year period expires. I was charged for this "service". On another note, it was nearly impossible to pin down exactly how much my monthly payouts for life would amount to. I was finally given a ballpark figure but the contract I was sent had a much lower figure. I was told that I would receive the agreed upon amount (even though there is no legal document to back that up) and would only receive the substantially lower amount in the contract under very rare circumstances that have only happened 3 times in the past 90 years. The lack of a formal legal document stating how much I will actually receive monthly is frightening. The lower amount in the actual contract is all they are legally bound to pay and can default to that amount for any reason they choose. I also have to add that the application process to access my own money for retirement was byzantine, confusing and not entirely up front. They have all the hallmarks of a shady business. I hope my monthly payouts remain constant and I regret having to forfeit some of my hard earned money so that my wife will be guaranteed to receive my pension for a period of time. I could have chosen the option for her to receive my payouts for an unlimited period of time but this was too costly for me to consider. Again, my primary contact at TIAA was mostly helpful, available and responsive but it is TIAA's policies that are suspect. Another contact never answered my numerous emails. If I could do it over again I'd choose a different retirement financial management company.

by Lisa,  5/3/2023

Pros:  none

Cons:  horrid ‘service’

Review:  When I signed up and met with the representative, I should’ve known. Only 7 months and I want to close out the account entirely. From the time I received confirmation for the amount at time of request, somehow they delayed the request (after confirmation) so the value could drop over $200. When I asked for assistance with the original confirmation provided, I spoke with 2 different representatives that gave the most ignorant excuses claiming it takes 2 business days to process a REQUEST and not actual payment. That allowed the market to change the value.

by Mike,  3/31/2023


Cons:  Incomplete computer systems, ongoing problem receiving annuity payment

Review:  Recent updates should have taken out some of the paperwork on directing annuity payments, another mess even working way ahead of time -- including delayed confirmation of what I didn't ask for (2 1/2 weeks). They're not thinking right, "in their own little world" -- and really have been for at least several decades. Substandard, labor intensive for things that don't require it -- doing system updates in phases over a long span that take a very short period of time. What do you call that?

by mick9793,  3/26/2023

Pros:  None!

Cons:  They are just horrible.

Review:  I have just received an anonymous letter on the TIAA stationery that all my retirement funds disappeared! My retirement account has $0! What happened? They answer, "If you have any questions, please call our Telephone Counseling Center. And yet they guaranteed my pension for life.

by Emma,  3/18/2023

Pros:  None

Cons:  All personnel are incompetent.

Review:  Personnel are in general friendly but completely incompetent. Each person you talk to gives you different information. Clearly none are trained at all. No number of phone calls will help. If you ask to talk to a supervisor, they tell you they'll review your calls and if they determine it's your fault, no one will call. No one ever calls.

by Erica Cohn,  2/9/2023

Pros:  NONE

Cons:  Poor returns, awful customer service

Review:  I have spent countless hours trying to move my retirement funds to Fidelity due to high expenses and poor returns. I Filled in 50 pages of forms I scanned and faxed. Still missing funds after they did not follow written instructions, admitted the error, escalated but to the WRONG person and I still am missing a huge portion of my retirement funds. How is this not fraud?

by Susan,  1/31/2023

Pros:  None

Cons:  Incompetent customer service, vague answers and processes

Review:  This is a review for TIAA-CREF. My elderly sister needs me to manage her money, and I have been trying to get access to her
TIAA retirement account since November. I have her Power of Attorney, but I was told by more than one TIAA rep that I needed to use THEIR POA. My sister agreed with me to move her money to another investment company. Good luck! She signed all the necessary forms, but only one (partial) account was approved for transfer. When I tried to find out why the others got rejected and what my next steps should be, I got nowhere. They claimed they needed my POA first and wouldn't give me even the most simple explanation. Then one of their reps told me to send my POA, which I had been told previously they wouldn't accept, to North Carolina, but I also needed to include information about myself. There is no form for this. Depending on what customer rep you get, you'll get a different answer. Frankly, all the ones I've spoke with seem clueless. I'm fully expecting them to find something "wrong" with my POA, even though it is a 5-page, notarized document that is extremely comprehensive. Further, I agree with others that their website is not user friendly. In fact, the whole company doesn't seem to be user friendly! Their processes, if you can call them that, are mind boggling.

by Boris Odynocki,  1/17/2023

Pros:  None!

Cons:  They are just horrible.

Review:  I have tried to roll over my retirement funds from my state optional retirement account to my TIAA traditional account since August of last year without success.
They do not want to do it. But why? There is no explanation.
I am thinking of moving the whole retirement account elsewhere. I am going to do research on this.

by John H,  12/12/2022

Pros:  Absolutely None

Cons:  Everything you care about. Abhorrent customer service, galactically ludicrous website, incompetent agents and their laughable minions, deceptive practices, complete and utter lack of caring for its investors.

Review:  Will save everyone all the excruciating details. After a half century of investing through other brokerages (Fidelity, Schwab, Prudential, etc.) my spouse and I had the chance to move some accounts to TIAA due to her university position, and we did so. A HUGE mistake. They are consistently underperformers in every conceivable category. I have since gone to great pains to move nearly all of my accounts and funds out of TIAA. It was a deeply disturbing and painful process fraught with endless obstacles and delays presented by the TIAA care team, which cost me a great deal of both time and money. The remaining accounts I am finally regaining enough breath and time to work at extracting from them. This is nothing like theTIAA CREF model envisioned by Andrew Carnagie. Strongly recommend you take your money and your dreams elsewhere.

by Nicole zil,  7/13/2022

Pros:  Zilch

Cons:  Worthless

Review:  I've been working on processing beneficiary paperwork after my mother passed away & no one will assist me with the paperwork. The agent assigned to the account won't speak to me & I am power of attorney for my father & thar means nothing to TIAA.Even called customer service they left a message for me. No call back. This is the worst customer service I've ever experienced especially how I've been treated after losing my mother. I've placed over 25 calls since Nov of 2021. It is now July. So I have no choice but to half ass the paperwork so everything can be moved into my father's account. I have every intention of going with fidelity & TIAA will lose a customer. Thanks for making the lose of my mother a living nightmare TIAA.

by Steve C,  7/6/2022

Pros:  None

Cons:  Please read the review

Review:  Just read what the NY Times reports. I regret missing this.

TIAA is accused of misleading retirement investors in latest scrutiny of its tactics.
Regulators said TIAA employees encouraged investors to move money out of retirement plans with their employers, where fees were lower, to different plans that helped the company make more money.

by Barb Gayle,  6/16/2022

Pros:  None, they are so incompetent that they think the lies they tell are inconsequential.

Cons:  They use the excuse they have too many plans to know them all and give you truthful information

Review:  The brokers want to use the social security figures and not do any hard work except sell you an annuity, even after you told them you are not interested if that would be the result. They cost us $3,000 due to lies told over a plan change. They admit they provided mis information (4 customer service and two managers) but are not willing to do anything about THEIR mistakes.
DO NOT DO BUSINESS with TIAA-Creff their processes are broken!

by Andywood2969,  5/9/2022

Pros:  None

Cons:  No accounts worth owning

Review:  Horrible. But I have no other choice. My losses are at %30. Good luck playing with these thieves. They used to be in the top tier. Now? Don't even make the top 100.

by B L,  4/24/2022

Pros:  In person consultation. knowledgeable, helpful retirement planning

Cons:  Not as many options in equities

Review:  Prior to my I retirement in 2015/16 my advisor was very helpful and prepared a retirement plan for me. He helped me roll over accounts from other school districts.
Communication in 2015/16 was timely.
RMD come as planned. Also received funds from my late father's account.

by Jay,  4/23/2022



Review:  I have been with TIAA for more than 35 years and I have made several transactions with them, and they always mess up something. In my earlier years, they would mail you forms to fill out, and no matter how carefully you fill out the forms, they would find and excuse to delay the transactions. These days, forms are fill out online, but the strategy to delay transactions, has not changed. In one of my two most recent transactions, they managed to force me to double my Minimum Retirement Distribution. In the other transaction, which was a transfer, they took the money out of my account almost a month ago, and still have not sent the funds to the receiving institution.

by Reg,  4/17/2022

Pros:  NONE because any are overwhelmed by their incompetence.

Cons:  Just about every thing you care about, Service, Help, Accuracy, Return calls.

Review:  Can not even get my tax forms corrected after their "care team" assigning incorrect designation to dividends. Three supervisors, starting with "Wealth Advisor??" all incompetent or worse. I MAY get a call by April 20, 2022. The details of my list of problems is loooonnng and make my stomach tight so I will stop.

by Tania,  4/14/2022

Pros:  None

Cons:  Everything

Review:  Like many people I have tried to withdraw funds from my brokerage accounts and it is proving to be nearly impossible to transfer my money. Most of the folks at TIAA that I have communicated with either ignore my requests and/or dismiss my concerns. Looking back, I totally regret investing with this ethically challenged company that clearly does not understand or act in the way that a fiduciary is supposed to. The only interests that they protect are theirs.

by Amelia Miranda,  3/7/2022



Review:  Placed funds with Saul Rentiera in July 2021 and was told the TCIIX (TIAAA 2035 fund) was safe and the dividends automatically rolled over so that interest earned would be automatically invested and in 12 months, on average, my return would be 12%.

By December 2021, on $2,000 gain, as the $8,600 dividend had been reinvested at a loss.

I was repeatedly told by Saul Rentiera to give the investment 12 months, to look at the balance quarterly as opposed to daily because the account would automatically reinvest and take care of itself.

Since January 2022 through the present, the losses have been staggering! I had already lost close to $20 due to the so called "reinvestments" of dividends, now, it is even worste!

Since July 2020, my portfolio decreased by close to $30k, and I have been told it is my fault for not actively trading the stocks in the account, the "self directed" means that I am responsible for the stock trades and monitoring, not that the reinvested dividends would ever generate a substantial return, let along guard against any losses.

I did "tape" Mr. Rentiera because I did not trust him, anything too good to be true, often is. I am preparing for court because I want the transcripts, and if missing, then we will have to use my recordings...EDUCATED AS MANY OF YOU ARE, GET YOUR MONEY AWAY FROM THESE PEOPLE, PLACE IT UNDER A MATTRESS, this is not the TIAA of old, but a bunch of hot shots gambling with algorithms to extort our funds, get away from this institution!!

Amelia Miranda

by patricia,  2/9/2022



Review:  They buried me in paperwork after my parents died and I was unable to access the funds my father had put away for the twenty years later, the state of Massachusetts has found two out of five...and we know damn sure that the company took most of the money in ought to be against the law!

by Livnlrn,  2/1/2022

Pros:  Apologetic

Cons:  mean, intolerant, lazy, unhelpful

Review:  Mean as in we don’t do that.
Intolerant as in that’s not my job
Lazy as in I’m too busy
Unhelpful as in you figure it out.

by William H.,  12/13/2021

Pros:  Used to be a non-profit, but not any more

Cons:  Devious and/or incompetent

Review:  A decade ago we made the mistake of taking a TIAA advisor's advice and put money into a TIAA "Intelligent Variable Annuity". Now that we are trying to take money out, we are learning about how bad a mistake that was. In setting up the account, someone in TIAA designated one of our contingent beneficiaries as "irrevocable", without our knowledge. So our first request to withdraw money was denied. But TIAA does not notify you about that ... you need to call them to find out ... and wait about a half-hour for each time you call ... and hope you don't get disconnected, because they apparently can't call you. Their "Help" lines only go in one direction ... you call them .. and then wait. They never call you (or email or message). So, after filling out the additional form, which needed to be notarized by the person they had designated as our irrevocable beneficiary (fortunately he lives in this country, although not in our state!) we resubmitted the form, waited a few days and called them again. This time we were told everything was fine and the money would be withdrawn in time to meet our deadline (end of year for tax purposes). Well, again, no money appeared, and no message .... so, again, we call ... and wait our half hour for someone to pick up on their Help line ... and guess what?! There's a new problem. Now they need an updated signature on the initial request because it was dated before the irrevocable beneficiary was removed, but has to be dated after that date. Why didn't they tell us this in the first place or during our second call? Who knows? Incompetence? Deviousness? So, we have to send them a third set of forms (another $27.50 for overnight mail), and wait some additional days, and call them again, and wait another half hour (or more?) to speak to someone who will possibly give us the next reason why we can't withdraw our money. If you don't want to be trapped in this (infuriating) TIAA cycle then don't invest in TIAA products. We certainly wish we hadn't. Whether we will get our money out before the year's end is now doubtful. So, this may cost us a lot more time and money than we ever imagined. Can we sue them for our losses? I doubt it. Are they incompetent? Possibly. Is this part of a deliberate corporate strategy to make money? I don't know ... just avoid them.

by Lee Robbins,  11/16/2021

Pros:  polite

Cons:  incompetent, confused, don't follow instructions,

Review:  Like others I have been invested with TIAA-CREF for many years from earnings at 2 universities and 1 college as a professor of Economics and later of Management. with degrees from Harvard and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Because they are a nonprofit and because, once upon a time, now years ago!, they seemed very competent I was happy to have my retirement accounts there. I have not, until now, seriously considered moving though I also have other accounts at Vanguard and Schwab. In addition to various minor problems with access to my online information, the first thing was that they told me for years that I could not put money into the real estate account which I wanted to do as a diversification and because it was a desirable investment as it had not been approved by the state regulators. Finally, years later, I discovered I COULD put money into it because I was now teaching in California and it had been approved here; I did so but the late timing mean a substantial loss of potential earnings for me. Then I signed up for automatic RMDs because as an elderly person, I thought there was the possibility of some sort of illness or decline. First they miscalculated them one year. Then, ,in 2019, I discovered that they had, contrary to instructions and contrary to the IRS legal requirement for RMDs, ALSO taken them from the institution where I was currently employed; this is NOT required and I had instructed them not to do so. Because I set the RMDs late in the year, Dec. 15, I was barely able to get them to reverse this after numerous calls and emails by the end of the year in compliance with IRS rules. So I switched them all to Nov. 15. Today I discovered that they did NOT include the second largest account, my IRA,ut left it to Dec. 15. Considering their demonstrated incompetence this will not do; and upon my demand, supposedly, they are fixing it and will take them tomorrow –– we will see. AND, last but not least, I have now discovered (1) they took all the funds equally from the sub-investments rather than specifically from the MM funds, currently earning next to 0, which I left there specifically for the purpose of RMDs. They won't fix it; last but not least, they now tell me that once you have set up automatic RMDs' you can NEVER reverse them.

by Michael A,  10/4/2021

Pros:  wide range of Mutual Funds and ETF's

Cons:  Difficulty communicating with representatives, misinformation, constant pressure to roll funds to TIAA

Review:  Like many academics, I had my retirement accounts with TIAA managed services. Each time I communicated with an advisor including, the annual reviews, she spent time trying to convince me to roll over funds from a non TIAA annuity that had not matured to TIAA. On one occasion the advisor had a TIAA "roll over expert" attend the call so I could be advised on how to roll funds over to TIAA. We did a joint conference call with the Annuity Company about rolling over and FEES charged for early termination of an Annuity. I did not roll funds to TIAA based on the charges and guarantees of funds at maturity.
TIAA changed my Managed Portfolio Advisor who also spent time trying to convince me to roll my outside TIAA accounts to TIAA .
Based on the amount of time spent talking to me about roll over funds vs. current investments strategies, I became concerned about the advise and guidance of TIAA, I moved all funds to Vanguard. I now have a managed portfolio with Vanguard, get zero pressure to bring any non-Vanguard funds to them. Have a GREAT strategic plan for retirement and an who advisor spends time with solid financial management strategies and always stresses what is best for me based on my goals and objectives.

by Customer 33,  8/31/2021

Pros:  None

Cons:  Poor communication, misinformation, zero follow through

Review:  I do NOT recommend TIAA Bank. Taking my money out was next to impossible. I was given misinformation, the wrong forms, and a non working number to call for help.

by Kat,  8/5/2021

Pros:  Polite service reps

Cons:  Minimal information and poorly organized website

Review:  I wish I could close my account and move it to Fidelity. TIAA will put up every obstacle in your path to keep from giving payouts from your account. DO NOT fall for the income for lifetime promise. Your beneficiaries will see those funds before you do and even then, good luck.

by Krystina,  7/14/2021

Pros:  A few decent funds

Cons:  hard to use web site Any help given ws useless.

Review:  Close your account and transfer. All I have to say.
Would give a zero. Dealing with Tiaa is difficult (mild, I've cried a couple times). Now retired and need to withdraw it is impossible to do. All I wanted is 3000 and as of this note we still cant get it which tells me when O'll need a larger sum I will be in trouble. Did all we are capable of and there is something new each time. -- 18 pages to fill out and spousal waiver, notarized. Since when do I have to get my husbands permission to walk , sit or speak. This is not Saudi Arabia or Iran. It is my IRA, not his. After notarized witnessing him sign and sent back we we're told we didn't it right... have to upload all 18 pages in the same file. We do not know how to upload and combine and PDF things . No other company I have used does this. As far as help , none. Three calls and long ones and many calls not returned or missed. all we could get was ' try to get some one to do it for you' or 'go to the library'. We just took a small line of credit on our card at an interest rate because we needed it and can't get it the funds from TIAA . I am scared out of my wits losing 30 ears of savings No help. A web site that is difficult. You have to be Microsoft certified or 'Mr and Mrs. Bill . The only way I see to resolve this is to have it rolled over to another company. But I have read all over that they hamper moves. We just called the SEC in trying to deal with this. We have a lawyer on hand to proceed. wish us luck.

by it doesn't matter,  7/13/2021

Pros:  None

Cons:  Deceptive

Review:  See recent settlement with US Securities and Exchange Commission (they got off with a slap on the wrist, as usual) -





This is not the first time TIAA has been in trouble with the law and regulators for defrauding and misleading their clients.


by Sarah,  6/10/2021

Pros:  Zero. Zip.

Cons:  Relentless Incompetence

Review:  Easily one of the most incompetent retirement investment companies I've ever encountered.

Right out of the gate, they spent 6 weeks trying to verify employment with an academic institution using a third-party vendor called PlanWithEase. PlanWithEase was never able to officially verify. They eventually gave up and signed off on the verification anyway.

Evidently, TIAA wasn't done torturing me yet. Because this was then followed by
a call with an agent who told me that when I transfer my Roth accounts to a professionally managed Fidelity account, that account would not be properly "seasoned" and all contributions would appear to have occurred on the date the Fidelity account was created. Completely untrue if the Fidelity account is set up properly.

Yesterday, I lost two hours of my life on the phone with a particularly clueless TIAA agent yesterday who promised that she'd email me some Roth rollover forms. When I called back today to tell her that I never received them, she said that she was going to call me to tell me that she didn't send the forms because they're the wrong ones. Yet somehow she forgot to call me back? Seriously? Then she couldn't tell me which forms are the correct ones. When I called back and was directed to a competent agent (from my experience, a rare breed at TIAA), it turns out that I have to fill out Fidelity forms, not TIAA forms, to transfer the assets.

These are just a few examples of the relentless incompetence of most TIAA agents I've had to deal with since retiring 5 months ago. I wish I could transfer ALL of my money from this ridiculous clown company, but they hold an annuity that I can only access by getting payouts over a 10-yr period.

If you have any choice whatsoever, avoid making investments with this company. If you're an academic who has no choice, be prepared to waste 100+ hours on the phone with agents that mostly don't know what they're talking about, trying to access your retirement funds. Good luck.

by Dg Carson,  6/3/2021

Pros:  Polite

Cons:  Incompetent

Review:  They must give these folks bonuses on how long they can delay moving your funds. Tried to go with a self directed IRA with another company. TIAA-CREF continually changed their story regarding why they had not processed the rollover. Is there a Government Agency that oversees Companies like this? Who at the University System of Georgia can we contact to let them know what is happening?

by Scott,  3/18/2021

Pros:  Reps try

Cons:  Processes and communications are both poor quality and impenetrable

Review:  My deceased father had accounts at TIAA. When he passed, I had to deal with them as a beneficiary. I was initially pleased. They were very pleasant to deal with, and it sounded like they had their act together. Since then NOTHING has gone well. Their instructions and communications are awful leading to frustrations with every step of the process.

For example, I received an email one Saturday saying TIAA needed to talk to me about an issue. The email had the hours I could call Saturday. Guess what? They are closed Saturday. When I called Monday, the voice response system sent me to beneficiary services based on the identifying info I had to provide to reach anyone. That group claimed they didn't send the email. Since the email didn't identify who needed to talk to me or what the issue was. Eventually, it was determined that someone in the brokerarge area needed to speak to me. However, after several more calls it was determined the only way to reach that area was to be transferred from the beneficiary services. Their phone system transferred me to them no matter what I did.

Another example ... As instructed, I emailed TIAA my father's death certificate. Nearly a month later, I learned by chance that they had never logged the death certificate. This was during a call with a custumer relations manager trying to resolve another issue. So, I immediately emailed the certificate again and cc'd the manager. The manager promised to call if there were any problems. I received no call back, BUT when I called a few days later, the files still did not indicate they had received the certificate.

by Bob,  12/31/2020

Pros:  They are solvent

Cons:  Wiped out 20+ years of goodwill with 2+ weeks of incompetence

Review:  I have had 403b accounts at TIAA since 1999. Over the years I've had decent experiences with them except for my local rep trying to hard sell me into buying TIAA's whole life policy and moving my taxable investments from Schwab to TIAA. Thank the lord I didn't fall for either of those scams.

This most recent experience has been terrible. I wanted to move funds from my TIAA 403b account to a newly created TIAA IRA in order to eventually transfer the funds to my state retirement account to buy pension service credit. The first part of creating the IRA and funding it took over 2 weeks during which time I had to call TIAA at least 6 times and two of these calls lasted an hour. My employer had to twice approve the transfer which they did each time in only a day so they were not the impediment to progress--TIAA was.

Finally they got the IRA funded and then I completed the TIAA online form to transfer it to the pension plan which was in my TIAA to-do list. The next day when I check my TIAA account and they've processed the request as an IRA withdrawal and cut and mailed me a check minus 10% withholding. WTF!? At no time did I ask for a withdrawal. When I called them that day they admitted the mistake was on their end and are supposedly working to correct it.

Sometimes the TIAA reps are competent like the last one I spoke to but often they jump to conclusions, make incorrect assumptions, and don't really listen to what you are saying. I can't say they're rude but being polite and incompetent is nothing to hang your hat on.

After over 20 years of reasonably satisfied service I've decided I'm taking my money out of TIAA at some point even if I have to spend literally days on the phone to make it happen because I just don't trust them any more.

by Dana H.,  12/22/2020

Pros:  A customer rep with the last name of Hitch

Cons:  No follow through

Review:  I simply cannot believe how mediocre and unresponsive the 4 reps I spoke with to conduct important business. Finally demanded a manager to complain and she was polite but inefficient as well. The prior reps never even documented my calls let alone send me the requested paperwork. It is like they work from home and don't give a fig. The last rep I got was AMAZING. Got my issue handled in 10 minutes and I had been trying for over 3 months. His name was Hitch. It frightens me I have my IRA with them after this nightmare.

by Sue Buret,  12/7/2020



Review:  My experience with TIAA-CREF includes much of what is already reported above--incompetence, faulty information, strong-arm tactics and numerous obstacles to accessing your retirement money or rolling it over to an IRA with another company.
One has to wonder how they get by with their "nonprofit" status.

by Joe,  11/25/2020

Pros:  Friendly, polite

Cons:  Bad website: hard to navigate, frequently crashes, orders are lost

Review:  I moved some of my funds into a TIAA brokerage account after having accounts at IBKR and Robinhood. Navigating it is like going into a time capsule from the 70's. Stock valuations are 15 minutes slow--they don't match any other online source of values. You cannot track your history with one holding--you have to go to past orders and searched chronologically (not alphabetically by ticker) to find items and piece the history together--impossible. I have receipts for orders that then were not logged onto the system and didn't go through, although I have receipts. If the stock's value is already below my stop order, will they provide a refund for my money lost?
OK, you can stop laughing now.
If you try TIAA brokerage, get used to seeing this:
"Important: The page you are looking for is currently unavailable. We apologize for the inconvenience. The website might be experiencing technical difficulties. Please try the following:
Click the refresh button, or try again later.
For immediate assistance, please contact service desk at x8444"
The wait at the service desk is currently 22 minutes--better than usual!

by Frederick J. Hippchen,  11/1/2020

Pros:  None . . .

Cons:  Brutal and Unyielding

Review:  Through illness and life's tribulations my sole source of income is Social Security. Lacking ability to pay for dental care, I have lost almost all of my teeth. I was fortunate to qualify for a program due to an aneurysm to have my teeth pulled through a state program, but not replaced.

I have a small annuity with TIAA from over 35 yrs ago. I was told by HR what boxes to check. The annuity is under 7000 dollars. Not much, but I can get a set of teeth that will last me for the last chapter of my life . . . I'm 76yo.

I had no idea that I was suppose to draw down yearly. Finances are as much a mystery to me as hieroglyphics. I just do not have the head for such things. They overwhelm me. I cannot get my money . . . TIAA says the contract is "unbreakable"

That's ridiculous. I'm not a lawyer, but if a TIAA contract is "unbreakable" it should be enshrined as the only existing example of an "unbreakable" contract in the entire history of humankind. I've called everyone, including a personal letter to Roger Federson, Jr. I notice he has great teeth as does his spouse.

All I can say is this is absolutely a repulsive and unyielding company. I've read countless stories on the internet of people in horrible straits unable to get their funds to survive. TIAA is an example of system corporate evil . . . every bit as vicious as systemic racism, and hate groups. I support my Senator Amy Klobuchar and others to crack down on these greedy, unfeeling, destroyers of the human spirit. I applaud the WSJ and NYT for putting this corporate horror, TIAA, into the spotlight.

Thank you for this forum . . . it helps to think that someone may read all of these horror stories and look elsewhere to place their trust and finances with a company that exhibits some humanity.

by Jim Young,  3/28/2020



Review:  Very disappointing that TIAA refuses to take part in Coronavirus program and helping those in a former employee and investor, I am ashamed of the company.

by Rolidnot,  2/12/2020

Pros:  None

Cons:  Terrible firm, deflect attempts to roll $$ to private firms, use stalling tactics, high fees for annuities

Review:  LONG story but I'll keep it short. Didn't hear a word from these unprofessional clowns for 35+ years until retirement grew close. Then they started to call suggesting "annuities" as our best plan. It is - for them.

Wanted to move as much of my $$ as possible to my broker. TIAA gave us incorrect information on multiple calls with our broker on the line with us. TIAA only deals by phone and US Mail and once you finally crack their code and out work them, roll overs of cash take a long time (a week). No one at TIAA that we spoke with took responsibility and they constantly try to lock up "their" money in high load annuities so you can't move it.

We thought we had the situation solved after 2 conference calls with them and our broker and then the US Mail forms arrived and we were back to "Go". Finally, our brokers company hired a former high level TIAA staffer in another office and they knew the "code" for cracking TIAA's complex road blocking strategies. It still took nearly a week to transfer the funds. TIAA does every transaction like its 1975 - phone, fax, US Mail, hard copy checks etc.

It's sad that these clowns have so much college staff $$ tied up and are so politely stubborn as they work tirelessly to keep "their" money. Nothing good to say about them at all.

by George Sanders,  12/4/2019


Cons:  Terrible Servicee

Review:  I am shut out of my account. They "upgraded" security and now I can't log in to my account. I spoke to two people at the company and they had no way to reset my password. I'm still shut out. This is a pathetic excuse for a company. I have never seen any other online business with such poor technical support and back office.

by don,  11/14/2019


Cons:  irs rollover delays cost me over 900 dollars - no response when I called to complain

Review:  I was given false information on two separate occasions during the transfer of an IRA account to another bank which delayed the transfer. Interest rates were lowered during the delay resulting in a loss of over 900 dollars over the term of the IRA. I called twice and requested to speak to a manger and was told they were in a meeting and that they would call me back- Never returned the call. Don,t trust them with your money!

by Mike,  6/26/2019

Pros:  Guaranteed 3% return for 40 years

Cons:  Withdrawing funds confusion and misinformation. 10 more years to fully rollover.

Review:  Promises to review.

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