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My mother is going to retire in mid '98 from a job with a public university. All of her retirement savings are currently invested through TIAA-CREF (I assume this to be a 403(b) fund?) Although the expenses seem pretty reasonable, the returns are anemic, so my mother is considering going "Foolish" by transferring these funds to a self-directed account.

Since she will already be retired, can't she roll any or all of her retirement fund into an IRA? Any reason not to?

I have heard that any pre '87 monies in her fund are not considered in calculating her minimum distribution requirement for the first five years of the requirement (age 70-75) as long as that money remains in a TIAA-CREF fund (she will be 67 1/2 yrs. old at retirement). Is this true? If so, can she still withdraw post '87 monies without affecting the five year "exemption"?

My recommendation at this point is that she put her money into Foolish strategies, based in part, on the excellent 'drawdown' thread of posts from some time ago. But if the exemption from the minimum distribution requirement is true, it may make since to keep at least all pre'87 money in the TIAA-CREF fund for the five years , and then add it to her Foolish portfolio.

I'm a little worried that I may be missing something. Thanks in advance for any thoughts on these subjects.

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