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Greetings, Pompel, and welcome. You asked:

I work for a private university in So. California that uses TIAA-CREF for retirement investments. I just found out that the index fund for TIAA-CREF is based upon the Russel200 rather than the S&P500. Based upon my "foolish" reading, the S&P500 index is the way to go. I don't want to leave my plan because the university matches my contribution up to 8%. Am I a bit stuck here, or do I have other options that are better? Is the Russel2000 index worse than the S&P 500?

It depends. The Russell 2000 is a set of 2,000 of the smallest stocks in the marketplace representing about 11% of the equity (stock) market. The S&P 500 is 500 of the largest stocks, and the index most money managers like to compare themselves against. Here's the total return data for the two as of July 31, 1998:

YTD 12-Mo 3-Yr 5-Yr 10-Yr
Russell 2000 12.95 -1.32 8.39 11.52 10.83
S&P 500 33.35 19.28 28.36 22.90 18.46


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