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Well, TIAA-CREF usually underperforms the S&P 500 by a couple of percent, so sticking the money into an index fund seems like a no-brainer. But particular CREF funds have done better.

It seems to me you want to call up CREF and see what you can contribute to on a before tax basis. I am not recommending you do that necessarily, but they are very well managed and their fees are low.

I am presuming you know your money comes out as a variable annuity and is taxed at your ordinary income rate.

Aside from that, welcome to investing. Also, welcome to the boards! There are lots of great ideas (and also lots of rotten ones) here and a great wealth of topics discussed. Cruise the site, I am sure you will not be disappointed.
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