Is TIAA Traditional a Good Deal?
Three months ago I was very skeptical of TIAA Traditional. A number of things made me nervous: the apparent arbitrariness with which crediting rates are set; the illiquidity of accumulations; the opaqueness of the vintage system; the lack of information on historical interest rates; and the entrenchment of individual contracts that makes moving TIAA-CREF assets to a different provider difficult. I went on to investigate. The result of this investigation are the following two posts. They summarize two phases of the TIAA Traditional: the accumulation phase and the payout phase. The bottom line is that that TIAA Traditional is a pretty good deal: in the accumulation phase, the returns match returns on bond index funds; in the payout phase the payments appear competitive (particularly for women) and are probably better inflation hedge than annuities from other insurers. If you would like details with pictures, read the next two posts.