Learn about the flexible income options in your employer plan

Your retirement income will likely come from a variety of sources, each with its own rules for taking distributions. Knowing how each one works can help you manage taxes and maximize your income during retirement.

Your Retirement Plan Offers You:


Choose from a variety of income options to suit your needs.


Combine income options, payment frequencies, and start dates to create a customized income plan.

Income For as Long as You live

You can cover your everyday expenses with lifetime income from our TIAA and CREF annuities.


Your employer plan with TIAA may consist of annuities, listed here, and/or a wide range of mutual funds.

Fixed Annuities

  • TIAA Traditional Annuity
  • TIAA Stable Value

Variable Annuities

  • CREF Stock Account
  • CREF Global Equities Account
  • CREF Growth Account
  • CREF Equities Account
  • CREF Bond Market Account
  • CREF Inflation-Linked Bond Account
  • CREF Money Market Account
  • CREF Social Choice Account
  • TIAA Real Estate Account
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Your Income Options

The annuities in your retirement plan offer a variety of income options, described in this Annuity Options table. One or more may be right for your financial needs.
Please note that not all options are available with all plans or contracts. Be sure to read Getting Started to learn more about when to consider different income choices.
Your retirement plan may also include mutual funds. When you retire, you may want to move those assets to an annuity to ensure income for life or you may access the money youve accumulated through one-time and/or systematic withdrawals and through RMD. Refer to the contract section below for more details.

Retirement Plan Contracts

The annuities assets in your retirement plan are in a product, or contract, that your employer has chosen for the plan. Each contract has different features.
What contract do I have? You can determine which contract(s) you have by logging in to your account from tiaa.org and expanding the View Contracts link underneath your plan name.
View the Retirement Plan Contracts tableto see which flexible income options are available to you.


You can choose from the spectrum of flexible income options outlined above to create your own income plan. You can convert portions of your assets at different times – some now, some later – determine the frequency and/or amount of your payments, and you can combine different income options to suit your unique needs.
As you prepare for the future, you may want to consider including a combination of annuities in your income plan. With a fixed annuity such as TIAA Traditional, you can cover your essential expenses such as housing, utilities and food by converting a portion of your assets to an income you cannot outlive. Assets in a variable annuity can be converted to lifetime income or withdrawn as needed for discretionary or unexpected expenses at a later time. This can give you the flexibility to adapt your income plan as your needs change over time.
In addition to the flexibility built in to TIAA’s income options, you even have some flexibility once you convert assets to a stream of income. For example, you can make transfers between annuity accounts, with some restrictions, in response to changing market conditions or inflation.

Income For as Long as You Live

With TIAA, you can turn a portion of your accumulation into lifetime annuity income – a choice most plan investment options cannot provide. The amount of your lifetime income payments can be steady and reliable through a fixed annuity, such as TIAA Traditional, or the lifetime income payments may vary upwards or downwards if you choose one of TIAA's Variable Annuities, giving you the potential for income growth and the ability to keep pace with inflation.  You could also choose a combination of both fixed and variable payments.
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Get started with the Retirement Income Evaluator. Log in is required.
You should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses carefully before investing.  Please call 877-518-9161 or log on to www.tiaa-cref.org for underlying product and fund prospectuses that contain this and other information.  Please read the prospectuses carefully before investing.
Before consolidating assets, be sure to carefully consider the benefits of both the existing and new product. There will likely be differences in features, costs, surrender charges, services, company strength and other important aspects. There may also be tax consequences or other penalties associated with the transfer of assets. Indirect transfers may be subject to taxation and penalties. Consult with your own advisors regarding your particular situation.
Annuity contracts contain exclusions, limitations, reductions of benefits and may contain terms for keeping them in force. We can provide you with costs and complete details.
TIAA Traditional is a guaranteed insurance contract and not an investment for Federal Securities Law purposes.
The TIAA Traditional Retirement Annuity (RA) Contract form series 1000.24; Group Retirement Annuity (GRA) Contract form series G1000.4 or G1000.5, G1000.6 or G1000.7; Supplemental Retirement Annuity (SRA) Contract form series 1200.8; Group Supplemental Retirement Annuity (GSRA) Contract form series G1250.1; IRA Annuity Contract form series 1280.2 or 1280.4 (not available in all states) or TIAA-IRA-01; Roth IRA Annuity Contract form series 1280.3 or 1280.5 (not available in all states) or TIAA-Roth-01; Keogh Annuity TIAA Contract form series G1350. Retirement Choice Contract form Series IGRS-01-5-ACC, IGRS-01-60-ACC, and IGRS-01-84-ACC, Certificate Series IGRS-CERT1-5-ACC, IGRS-CERT1-60-ACC, IGRS-CERT1-84-ACC; Retirement Choice Plus Contract form Series IGRSP-01-5-ACC, IGRSP-01-60-ACC, IGRSP-01-84-ACC, Certificate Series IGRSP-CERT1-5-ACC, IGRSP-CERT1-60-ACC, IGRSP-CERT1-84-ACC are issued by Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America.
The Intelligent Variable Annuity, contract form series TCL-VA2 is issued and underwritten by TIAA-CREF Life Insurance Company, headquartered in New York, NY. TIAA-CREF Individual & Institutional Services, LLC, member FINRA, distributes securities. The TIAA-CREF Investment Horizon Annuity, contract form series TCL-MVA 1 is issued and underwritten by TIAA-CREF Life Insurance Company, headquartered in New York, NY.  These products may not be available in all states. Please call us for details.
TIAA Traditional is issued by Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA), New York, NY.  After-tax annuities are issued by TIAA-CREF Life Insurance Company., New York, NY. Each entity in the TIAA family of companies is solely responsible for its own financial condition and contractual obligations.
Certain products and services may not be available to all entities or persons.
Please note that TIAA is not responsible for the content or privacy policies of third-party sites that may be referenced in this article or to which you may link from this article. TIAA does not endorse or recommend the products, services, or information found on any third-party site.
This material is for informational or educational purposes only and does not constitute fiduciary investment advice under ERISA, a securities recommendation under all securities laws, or an insurance product recommendation under state insurance laws or regulations. This material does not take into account any specific objectives or circumstances of any particular investor, or suggest any specific course of action. Investment decisions should be made based on the investor’s own objectives and circumstances.