With all of the different companies that offer to manage your IRA investments, it is very easy to become discouraged with the process of transferring your IRA from TIAA-Cref. While there is some research involved, the process is relatively straightforward. Your part of the process can be completed in an hour or so.
Transferring From TIAA-Cref Is Easy
Research where you want to transfer your IRA from TIAA-Cref. Companies such as Charles Schwab, Fidelity and all of the major banking institutions would love to manage your retirement accounts, but not all companies are created equally.
Remember, all of these companies are in the business of making money themselves, so they will charge fees. Each company can provide you with a prospectus that covers their fees and their allowed investment vehicles. Do your research and find one that will not only allow you to invest in what you want to, but will also charge you a fair price.
Once you are comfortable with a particular financial company and their product offerings, you need to request an IRA application and transfer form. This form will be used to open your new IRA and will also instruct your new financial company to transfer your accounts from TIAA-Cref.
At one time you had to request paper forms to be mailed to you. Now many companies will either have a form that you can fill out online, or the ability to download the forms for you to print at home. In either case, don't hesitate to give your new company a call. They will be looking after your money, so feel free to ask any questions that you have.
Once you have either received or printed out your application and transfer form, you will need to fill it out. You will need your account information from TIAA-Cref, and depending upon your new financial institution; they may also require that you submit a recent statement that you have received from TIAA-Cref. Complete the forms, attach the statement, and then mail it in to your new financial institution.
Depending upon your level of comfort, you may want to consider sending your application and transfer information either via overnight delivery, or at the very least pay for delivery confirmation. This package has a lot of your personal information, and while it is a federal crime to tamper with the mail, you want to ensure that your private information gets to where it should go.
Once your package has been received by your new financial institution, they should process the transfer for you. This transfer is known as a trustee to trustee transfer, and if at all possible they will attempt to transfer ownership of your investments so they will not have to be liquidated and then transferred as cash. Be aware that this may happen, but your new financial institution will be more than happy to help you with new investment choices.
Don't be afraid to ask questions during the transfer process. This is your money, and you need to feel comfortable with the whole process.
- Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images