TIAA Missing Manual

by Ching-Wan Yip

Last Updated: March 7, 2016 1:56 PM

First published: Jan 7, 2016

announced: 2016/01

How long it takes to buy brokerage fund?

Unlike Fidelity exchange, it takes 2 days (some rep. said one day, but we can't verified that is true)

you choose source retirement fund and destination brokerage fund

day 1, it sells your retirement fund into some brokerage money market fund

day 2, it buys your brokerage fund

you have no control what happens on day 2, the brokerage fund may go up a lot (you lose, much more expensive to buy), or drop a lot (you win, it is cheaper, usually you are not that lucky)

you can pre-transfer retirement funds into brokerage money market ahead of time (likely with no gain, in down market, it is an option)

Buy time

trading desk closes at 3:30pm, not 4pm, you have to do it before. when they are closed, the tech support rep. sometimes can't call them either

around 4pm, the website sometimes becomes temporarily unavailable, aviod the most important hour

site down


not in transfer guide. TIAA traidtion won't move, but if you move, it drops from 3-4% (depends on when started) to 1%?, only showed in PPT during presentation


the link to the PDF doesn't work in transition guide. you can get the correct file URL if call rep.

supposedly the new plan has "lower" fee, but you can't tell what's lower. mutual funds have higher fee for sure though.

no fees till April, before that

- won't show if you exchange

- one rep said you get credit back if got charged

- one rep said they will fix the website so you won't see the fee, don't hold your breath, they said all kind of things that may or may not be true

whether it is No Load or not

buy - may be $35

sell - one rep said it may be $50

- one rep said all Vanguard and Fidelity fund will have transcation fee. TIAA charges you that, not Vanguard or Fideluty

some funds got 90 days (some 60 days?) short hold penality vs some of Fidelity 28 days


you hve to check Recent Activities, Recent Service Requests, Recent Order Status, Pending Transcations etc.

they don't all sync, some would show up first in one list, but not others

Recent Service Requests


retirement funds got 4 decimal places, brokerage funds only got 2 digits

when you sell and buy, you may end up with $0.01 or $0.02 differences from what you entered. somehow it will fix it next time if there are that much left in account.


there is no way to look up NTF in screener. the only table with that flag is Insight funds

one rep said week of 3/7 will fix that, i won't count on it

you can only see transfer yes/no in add fund popup

add brokerage fee

you can see buy fee in preview buy page (you can't buy from that)

Research data

each fund's popup window performance is only up to 2015/12/31, the show more button doesn't work either

tables is only at end of each month, won't match numbers from morningstar's info

Research tables

you cannot export all 7018 (281 pages) as XLS, CSV, XML TXT, PDF, or email. print will crash Chrome. You can print in Firefox, or copy and paste into notepad and then Excel.

each page only show 4 of 5 or 6 columns, you will miss stars

several reps said there is a way to get the list, they don't know where it is on the webpage (it is so slow, they kind of give up) or their own computer. it may or may not exists anymore

one rep said there are info on each "fund family", but can't get the exact page(s) from its own search

there is no type in fields, you have to use the in-precise sliders (probably not ADA compliant), you have to rely on popup "tooltip", terrible UX/UI design

slider selector on mutual funds list

Brokerage Page

you can't buy from trade page,

brokerage trade page

you can see transaction fee, options to reinvest divident, gain etc. but the order will get rejected, use manage retirement page

(How to show sell fee?)

Open "Tier 4" Brokerage "Window"

it is not 100% normal brokerage account, since you don't get to use their trade page

transition guide instruction is incomplete. you need to pick some fund in manage investment, you get a link to open the "account", there is a link to see list of fund, it doesn't work, dimmed after fill out form.

there is a real-time agreement you have to agree, twice. the my to-dos list (don't have a screen capture, you likely not see it if rep. didn't showed you) shows it (but you get no notification in message, or pending activities),


My To-Dos, placeholder only, not showing real-time agreement

real time quote and vendor agreements

you have to agree again going into brokerage page

the trading policy PDF link is 404 error. you can guest the correct URL, there is too many ".pdf"

Consultant picks

CAPtrust's 28 tier 1/2/3 picks vs. old 192 Fidelity/Vanguard/TIAA-CREF funds (as of 2016/01/11). much much narrower spread of returns.

captrust 28 picks vs old 192 funds



default to estate, make sure change that as PPT (deck not available to download?)

you cannot change both primary and secondary, have to wait for primary finished (how long?)

pending beneficiary

Transition Guide

the stock symbol for China is wrong, FLATX is Latin America, should be FHKCX

2030 to is wrong, not 2025

the PDF table got format issues if paste into excel, wrong broder, font, color, size, spaces

Other Fails