Investing 101

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Get the basics

3 Keys to investing

Smart investing starts with a solid grasp of the basics.

Understand the math

What are compound interest and dollar cost averaging? Increase your financial savvy by learning frequently used terms.

Take control of your savings

Save as much as you can, and learn about investments that can help you meet your personal goals.

Automate it

Set up direct deposit into your savings account and take advantage of retirement plan features like automatic rebalancing and contribution increases.
Get the basics

Take advantage of compound interest

Compound interest is when you earn interest on your interest—and that may mean more money for you. It’s never too late to start saving, but the sooner you start, the more compounding is likely to help your money grow.
Cathy contributes $5,000 annually starting at age 25. Steve contributes $10,000 annually starting at age 40
Steve contributed $50,000 more than Cathy, but started 15 years later. At age 65, Cathy had $232,418 more than Steve.  Saving early has its advantages when it comes to compounding.
Hypothetical illustration only. Not intended to represent the past or future performance of any investment. Assumes contributions are made monthly at a 6% annual effective rate, compounded monthly. Actual performance will vary with market conditions.
Financial education

55% of students report having 0% exposure to financial education

TIAA joined forces with the Council of Graduate Schools and leading universities to help change this statistic by researching students’ financial challenges and creating programs to address them.
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Get the basics

What is dollar cost averaging?

Dollar cost averaging is when you contribute consistently and don’t try to time the market.
Research shows that making regular and consistent contributions throughout your career can potentially result in more money when you retire.1

No matter how much you know, sometimes you need a little help

TIAA provides consultations for all participants.
A conversation
An experienced consultant speaks with you and listens to your needs and goals.
A Personalized Strategy
We help you understand and choose investment options that might be best for your situation.
A Long-term Approach
We’re committed to your long-term financial growth and well-being.

Meet real TIAA customers

“I make sure to automatically set aside funds before I can touch them.”
International Education Development Administrator
43 years old
Participant since 2012
“TIAA is training me how to manage my money and plan for the future.”
Professor and entomologist
50 years old
Participant since 2012
*These quotes describe the circumstances and experiences of specific participants from one or more of the companies in the TIAA organization (“TIAA”).  It may not be representative of the experience of other TIAA customers and is not indicative of future performance or success. Individual results and experiences will vary.
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Mutual funds

TIAA funds can help you meet financial goals—whether it’s retiring in comfort, buying a home, or saving for a rainy day.


Learn how investing in annuities at any stage can help you generate guaranteed income in retirement.2

Starting out

Just starting to save for retirement? Pick up helpful tips and pointers.


Share ideas with experts and peers. Join the conversation in our Woman2Woman community.
1 Dollar cost averaging does not assure a profit or protect against a loss in declining markets. Because such a strategy involves periodic investment, you should consider your financial ability and willingness to continue purchases through periods of low price levels.
2 Guaranteed income for life is subject TIAA’s claims-paying ability.
TIAA products may be subject to market and other risk factors. See the applicable product literature, or visit for details.