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Author: NYSunshineBoi One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 75335  
Subject: A New Job, A New Start, and TIAA-CREF Date: 4/22/2004 3:58 PM
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I am brand-new to the Boards, and I'm excited as h-e-double hockey sticks!

I have made a decision to accept a full-time position at a non-profit company, and part of their (AMAZING!) benefits package is a 401-k offered through TIAA-CREF. They'll contribute 10% of my annual salary into a 401-k for me, even if I contribute nothing, after 2 years of employment. Pretty sweet, huh?

No worries, though. I'm saving money to pay off my credit card debt (6K and counting, down from 10,000 a year ago!). I want to establish an emergency fund first, and then worry about stashing cash for retirement...and, perhaps if I look to buy real estate beyond Manhattan, maybe a house in years down the road. By the way, I'm 29 and finally taking a benefits-laden job because it's time to just make a responsible decision for myself. And boy oh boy, does that ever feel GOOD!

What I'd like to know is anyone's experience out there with TIAA-CREF. I'm not sure what to look for in a TIAA-CREF fund. Has anyone out there got a retirement plan/portfolio through TIAA-CREF? I'll go check out that board for that subject, but since I'm a new kid, I figure, why not ask here too?

Thanks for reading...all wisdom is much appreciated. I'm so excited!
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Author: brewer12345 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 40616 of 75335
Subject: Re: A New Job, A New Start, and TIAA-CREF Date: 4/22/2004 4:17 PM
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You lucked out. TIAA-CREF is probably the best of the bunch out there for non-profit retirement accounts. You will need to decide if you want to invest in stocks, bonds, real estate, the guaranteed account or whatever, but all of TIAA-CREF's offerings are great.

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Author: Mark0Young Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 40617 of 75335
Subject: Re: A New Job, A New Start, and TIAA-CREF Date: 4/22/2004 4:39 PM
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I work for a community college and one of our approved 403(b) providers is TIAA-CREF.

If you haven't done so already, take a look at the TIAA-CREF web site: http://www.tiaa-cref.org

I am not sure what "plan" TIAA-CREF will classify your employer's contributions, but I would guess it would be what they call a Supplemental Retirement Annuity. Your contributions would go into a "Group Supplemental Retirement Annuity". Don't let "Annuity" frighten you--in TIAA-CREF's case, their variable annuities have very low expenses, rivaling even most mutual funds (not as low as Vanguard, but far below average).

TIAA-CREF has a short discussion of investing on their web site and they have a rather simple asset allocation calculator, which I used as one of the considerations for coming up with my asset allocation plan with them. (I deviated from their suggested portfolio--I prefer their Equity Index Account to their other stock accounts, and I felt more comfortable with the Bond Account than with their Traditional IRA Account because right now their guaranteed interest rate is so low, but I don't know if that was a mistake.)

Typically, if one can (e.g., after one has paid off consumer debt and built up an emergency fund), it would be good to also contribute to a Roth IRA and, if one still has money to invest after maxing out both the Roth IRA and employer-sponsored plans, to make taxable investments in something reasonably tax efficient if possible. When dealing with multiple accounts for the same investment horizon, typically it is best to view all those accounts as the same portfolio, so if one sees a lack in the employer-sponsored plan, one can take care of that lack in another account. (My TIAA-CREF stock holdings, because I went with the Equity Index Account, which is based on the Russell 3000, I lack significant international exposure in my 403(b), but I make up for that in my taxable investments.)


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Author: ChrisInLex One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 40623 of 75335
Subject: Re: A New Job, A New Start, and TIAA-CREF Date: 4/22/2004 8:51 PM
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I may just be ignorant of the details, but does the plan also include a match for your investment?

The 10% automatic is amazing though. Even if they don't match anything you put in, it's still a good plan. My company has a standard 401K program where they apply 3% automatically and then match half of what I put in up to another 3%.... so if I'm putting in 6%, they are too. I've been in the plan for 12 years (I'm 35) and I've put in various amounts (never less than the 6% though)... and I've built up a pretty good chunk of change.

Anyway... my only caveat would be to say that if the company does match anything above and beyond the 10% then you should still put in as much as you can to obtain the full match. Otherwise that's free money you'd be passing up. And better to obtain it now while you're 29 and let the interest work on it for the next 25 years.

Other than that, which may be a non-point anyway, you've got a great deal. Congrats!

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Author: buzman Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 40625 of 75335
Subject: Re: A New Job, A New Start, and TIAA-CREF Date: 4/22/2004 9:26 PM
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TIAA-CREF is a bright shining light in a rather dismal field.

buzman

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Author: Myownigloo Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 40644 of 75335
Subject: Re: A New Job, A New Start, and TIAA-CREF Date: 4/23/2004 2:53 PM
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I have made a decision to accept a full-time position at a non-profit company, and part of their (AMAZING!) benefits package is a 401-k offered through TIAA-CREF.

Uh, if it's a non-profit, isn't it a 403(b)??

Just askin'.

Jo Anne

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Author: dougdoogle Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 40658 of 75335
Subject: Re: A New Job, A New Start, and TIAA-CREF Date: 4/23/2004 11:02 PM
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>>>Uh, if it's a non-profit, isn't it a 403(b)??<<<

Yes, but the newbie seemed too happy for us to bother with details.

Doug

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Author: Myownigloo Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 40676 of 75335
Subject: Re: A New Job, A New Start, and TIAA-CREF Date: 4/24/2004 5:41 PM
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>>>Uh, if it's a non-profit, isn't it a 403(b)??<<<

Yes, but the newbie seemed too happy for us to bother with details.

Doug


Oh, okay. I just wondered if there was something I was missing.

J

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Author: NYSunshineBoi One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 40692 of 75335
Subject: Re: A New Job, A New Start, and TIAA-CREF Date: 4/26/2004 1:40 PM
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>>>Uh, if it's a non-profit, isn't it a 403(b)??<<<

Yes, but the newbie seemed too happy for us to bother with details.

Doug


Oh, okay. I just wondered if there was something I was missing.



Ya know, it is worth noting that I should check that out. I forgot that 403b's are what the non-profits offer. I wonder why that is? I have to do more research...can't invest before I know something about it!

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Author: Myownigloo Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 40696 of 75335
Subject: Re: A New Job, A New Start, and TIAA-CREF Date: 4/26/2004 5:22 PM
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Ya know, it is worth noting that I should check that out. I forgot that 403b's are what the non-profits offer. I wonder why that is? I have to do more research...can't invest before I know something about it!

Not much to check out. The numbers 401(k) and 401(b) refer to the section of the I.R.S. Code dealing with these types of funds. The 401(k) is the section for regular corporation funds. The 401(b) is for non-profit funds. They're essentially the same thing.

HTH (hope this helps)
Jo Anne

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Author: NYSunshineBoi One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 40711 of 75335
Subject: Re: A New Job, A New Start, and TIAA-CREF Date: 4/27/2004 11:02 AM
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Thanks Jo Anne! I appreciate the pointer. It does help. I was worried they'd be two very different things.
And I've been wondering what the HTH stands for - glad I know!

I think I'm going to start another thread in a moment. Talk to you soon!


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