Getting Started

One of the key steps to creating a retirement income plan is to educate yourself about the withdrawal options available from your income sources, so you can maximize your income.
If you have assets in an annuity within your employer’s retirement plan, here are some key things to consider before deciding which of the available income options will work best for your situation.
  • Which income sources will you use first? Remember, you are required to withdraw assets held in tax-deferred accounts such as IRAs, 403(b) or 401(k) plans after you turn 72.
  • Do you want annuity income for a specific number of years or for the rest of your life?
  • If you choose lifetime income from a fixed annuity such as TIAA Traditional Annuity, your payments will remain consistent and guaranteed. Guarantees are based on the claims-paying ability of the issuer.
  • Lifetime income payments from variable annuities such as TIAA Real Estate or any of the CREF variable annuities are not guaranteed and will rise or fall based on the performance of the underlying investments.  In addition, there is an opportunity for growth potential.  Please keep in mind that with variable annuities, your money will also be subject to the risks associated with investing in securities, including loss of principal.  To learn more, click here.
  • If you are part of a couple, do you want income for just yourself or joint payments? If joint, consider whether it makes sense for the surviving spouse to receive a reduced payment amount (due to reduced expenses, life insurance proceeds, etc.). This will increase the amount of your initial payout.
  • What are your legacy plans? Adding a guarantee period will ensure that your annuity payments will continue to your beneficiary should you (and your spouse or partner if you select joint benefits) die during the specified period.
You can use a combination of income options and accounts to create an income plan that’s personalized to your situation.  Withdrawals of earnings from a retirement account or annuity are subject to ordinary income tax, plus a possible federal 10% penalty if you make a withdrawal before age 59 ½.
Learn more about TIAA’s flexible income options.
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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.
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.
Annuity contracts and certificates are issued by Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA) and College Retirement Equities Fund (CREF), New York, NY.   Each of the entities referred to in this piece is solely responsible for its own financial condition and contractual obligations.