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A friend of mine is a retired teacher, and has a small bit of savings in a TIAA-CREF qualified retirement plan. The funds are in a few TIAA or CREF mutual funds. She is trying to roll this over to a self-directed rollover IRA account, and the custodian says that she needs to authorize the liquidation of the TIAA-CREF "annuity".

I know it might not be possible to fully answer the question without a lot more detail, but in what respect is a TIAA-CREF retirement plan an "annuity"?

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