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Greetings, Philipcwilliams, and welcome. You wrote:

<<After perusing your insightful articles on the pitfalls of investing in annuities, I thought I'd better ask your opinion about the situation of many of us in academia. TIAA-CREF has long been a leader in the management of 401(k) plans for faculty and staff at universities across the nation. Their traditional annuity currently guarantees a return of 8.5% with very low risk. Other current choices include a real estate annuity (currently running at 9.0% with slightly higher risk), a money market fund (around 7.0%), and various equity and bond mutual funds. Picking individual stocks is not an option. I'm 48 years old and am a conservative investor. I'm worried that the current market is close to being 40% overvalued by historical measures (3 x book value, 15 x EPS, 24 X dividends). Doesn't it make sense for me to invest a sizeable chunk of my retirement money in a highly respected, low risk annuity paying a respectable return, rather than gamble on an equity index or corporate bond fund?>>

I think TIAA-CREF offers sound, low-cost annuities. That's why I think they warrant consideration for those using annuity products, particularly educators who participate in 403b plans and have little else available to use. As to which of these products you should use in your plan, that's up to you based on your tolerance for risk. You don't wish to "gamble," so if a traditional annuity fits your risk-taking ability, then it's right for you, and that use makes eminent sense regardless of what I or anyone else thinks.

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