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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TIAA-CREF Book Purchase
I needed to look at this book and the company provided me with a very good used book at a great price. it was shipped very promptly. Highly recommended!
Published 16 months ago by Babyboomer

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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Disappointment
These authors published two informative articles about TIAA-CREF in a professional journal in 1997 and 1998. Although the articles were intended for estate planners, they can be understood by a lay person who reads them carefully. I expected this book to present the substance of the articles in a more accessible way. It does not. Apart from the section on estate...
Published on April 11, 2001


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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Disappointment, April 11, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Understanding TIAA-CREF: How to Plan for a Secure and Comfortable Retirement (Hardcover)
These authors published two informative articles about TIAA-CREF in a professional journal in 1997 and 1998. Although the articles were intended for estate planners, they can be understood by a lay person who reads them carefully. I expected this book to present the substance of the articles in a more accessible way. It does not. Apart from the section on estate planning, it contains little information not obtainable directly from TIAA-CREF. It shows signs of having been written with haste. It is poorly edited (surprising for Oxford University Press) and is in places inconsistent and unclear. The book is a disappointment.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't retire, October 28, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Understanding TIAA-CREF: How to Plan for a Secure and Comfortable Retirement (Hardcover)
When asked what he was doing with all of his time, a recently retired colleague replied: "If I had known it would be this much work, I'd never have retired." Read this book, and no doubt you'll understand his point. I've never understood young people who refinance, and then refinance some more to save a few additional dollars, or who appear to fret--virtually a daily basis--over their credit scores (apparently the sale of monthly updates of one's "number," along with advice for raising it, are selling briskly). Enjoy life while you can, and if you have a job, be grateful for the "built-in" prioritizing of your time. With retirement, the decisions that must be made each day can quickly seem overwhelming with a resulting lack of focus and sense of fulfillment. Then, there's the nasty business about what to do with all of those contributions that had been going toward an annuity or pension. The accumulation of a lifetime's worth of savings is there, but the rules and regulations not to mention options are seemingly inexhaustible with few obvious choices and no guarantees.

In recent years, there's been considerable disillusionment with TIAA-CREF annuities from younger faculty who got in 10-15 years ago. Ironically, the more TIAA-CREF diversified from its original two choices (50% TIAA guaranteed rates; 50% CREF stocks), offering more and more options and sub-accounts for members to select from, the more it became just an average investment. If you did the old 50/50 between 1975 and 1995 and simply ignored all the market fluctuations, you realized a handsome growth of your nest egg. If at some point after the mid '90s, you started tweaking your monthly allocations, seeking to avail yourself of the company's tempting new menu of choices (international, growth, socially responsible, inflationary bond, regular bond, real estate, index, etc.), you were all the more likely to experience disillusionment. As TIAA's own records show, your investments would, in most instances, have done as well in a money market account or similar guaranteed investment. All that tweaking could be looked upon either as wasted time or so much idle game-playing, take your pick. All of which makes particularly irritating all of the "gotcha" fine-print clauses that TIAA-CREF has introduced into its plans since the near-collapse of the banks in mid-2008. Formerly, the company seemed to encourage members to avail themselves of its many new sub-accounts and convenient website transferring of money from one fund to another. But suddenly I'm finding that a slightly premature transfer of a mere one thousand dollars from one CREF fund to another stock, each with portfolios of hundreds if not thousands of holdings, can trigger the infliction of a "penalty"--a suspension of transfer capability or no interest payments for a set length of time. Worse, if you read the fine print, TIAA has not only developed excessive cautiousness, defensiveness and distrust toward its members but does a poor job of disguising it. One of their sentences suggests that the member who attempts to perform so "devious" an action as the one described above and to conceal it (!) (we're talking about moving one or two thousand dollars a trifle early into a fund at least the size of the S&P 500 -- even a "professor," however absent-minded, would have to be mindless to occupy his time with such "nefarious" activities). The organization's fine print warns that such surreptitious, poorly disguised, illegal activity will most likely be detected by the company's ever vigilant detectives! If at one time I was inclined to characterize TIAA in terms of the merit signified by those last two letters, that grade has changed since the country'sl financial fiasco of mid-2008. At this point, I would be hard-pressed to give the organization better than the grade represented by the first letter of CREF (let's hope we don't get to either of the last two letters). There's such a thing as over-reaction--then there's something that goes considerably beyond it: paranoid overreaction.

Given the publication date of this collection, the articles it contains are based on the rosier, earlier scenario and, moreover, don't fully factor in the goliath that TIAA-CREF has become in the industry, "farming out" much of its retirement planning business to sub-contractors supposedly overseen carefully by the giant annuity fund. And as suggested, TIAA-CREF may no longer be the consumer-friendly, no-brainer investment it once was. Besides numerous fine-print restrictions such as those alluded to above, comparisons of TIAA-CREF funds with comparable funds, when done on "neutral" sites sponsored by the government frequently reveal that the TIAA-CREF funds have performed no better than other funds in the same category and that their expense fees, though dependably reasonable, are occasionally higher than some of their competitors. Finally, as I have just recently discovered, making a withdrawal from your account entails a period of time not to mention paperwork and complications experienced at few other companies (in fairness, my other withdrawals have not been from accounts eligible for annuitization).

Two years ago a phone representative at TIAA told me to forget about IRA rollovers--they were a consideration only for those in early or mid-career; now the company appears to be urging the direct opposite: roll over your account to an IRA, the sooner the better, and better make it with one of our sponsored retirement planning associates. Senator Herb Kohl (Wisconsin) recently wrote a letter to the company scolding them (along with Fidelity) for ads encouraging seniors to roll over accumulated money to an IRA, a move which, according to Kohl, would actually hurt many seniors. So there's definitely a need for a book such as this, but updated, with more reader-friendly prose. This one was published before the recent all-out push to convince members their accumulation would be more "manageable" in an IRA, and the few attempts at lightening the tone (one sentence says not to worry, your feet won't be placed in a mold for concrete shoes) are too few and too mordant to serve much purpose.

One thing seems obvious: given the action that's happened in the markets this past week: placing your savings in a retirement account that prevented purchase of Amazon stock would have been a big mistake. (And look for trading fees comparable to those at the major, competitive brokerages which, unlike the 50-100 dollar-per-trade fees of 20 years ago, have come down into the vicinity of ten dollars and even less.) In sum, the patient reader will find good advice and lots of info in this volume but would most likely do just as well with the material on the TIAA-CREF site.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Can't Judge a Book by its Publisher, December 7, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Understanding TIAA-CREF: How to Plan for a Secure and Comfortable Retirement (Hardcover)
I am responding to the previous reviewer's disappointment with the book, given that it was published by Oxford U. The days when we could count of the big name university presses to publish only the finest are, sadly, past. It is frustrating not to have the reliable benchmarks. Word processing, the automated printing and publishing process, and the general decline of academic standards - whatever the reasons, we are being swamped with second and third rate monographs from all quarters.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dated, August 13, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Very dated, overpriced, not especially useful. Most people will learn will little that they didn't already know. Save your money.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not very helpful. Does anybody out there know..., April 9, 2008
By 
This review is from: Understanding TIAA-CREF: How to Plan for a Secure and Comfortable Retirement (Hardcover)
I agree with the other two reviewers. This book is not very helpful in helping with investment advice. It is mostly reprinted articles from an academic journal.

I listen to Suze Orman and a few others, and I know basically what I should be doing with my retirement accounts. But I don't know how to apply that knowledge when looking at my TIAA-CREF options.

Year ago I used to subscribe to a monthly newsletter, something like "Market Management for TIAA-CREF". It told you exactly what to do with your account for the best results. Has anybody out there ever heard of it, or know where/how to subscribe? If so please leave a comment here...
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TIAA-CREF Book Purchase, February 24, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Understanding TIAA-CREF: How to Plan for a Secure and Comfortable Retirement (Hardcover)
I needed to look at this book and the company provided me with a very good used book at a great price. it was shipped very promptly. Highly recommended!
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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just avoid TIAA-CREF, February 6, 2009
By 
owl (Boulder, CO USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Understanding TIAA-CREF: How to Plan for a Secure and Comfortable Retirement (Hardcover)
Probably the best advice about TIAA-CREF is just this: stay away. My TIAA-CREF account made about zero returns for ten years, ever since I started it, until 2008 of course, when it tanked. Now I am trying to roll over the funds to a retirement account run by another company, and TIAA-CREF is refusing to release the funds. It has been four months, and they still have not filled my transfer request. Once you realize how crappy TIAA-CREF is, you won't need this book.
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Understanding TIAA-CREF: How to Plan for a Secure and Comfortable Retirement
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