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I'm not sure that you can directly compare an annuity contract with an I-bond.

I-bonds bought today have a guaranteed interest rate of 1.2% over inflation (as measured by CPI-U). TPAs have a guarantee of about 3.0%, but it varies from state-to-state.

Both are tax-deferred but I-bonds are state-tax free when redeemed.

I think the biggest difference comes from the ability to convert the TPA account into a low-cost annuity within TIAA-CREF. That is then a very different beast from an I-bond.
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