Step 4: Learn how to create a plan that includes income you can’t outlive

With people living longer, retirement is lasting longer—30 years or more for many. So your income plan should last as long as you do.
The benefits

It starts with a solid foundation

Lifetime income sources such as Social Security, pensions and fixed annuities can help you create a foundation - or an “income floor” - designed to help cover everyday expenses throughout your retirement. These changes are not affected by changes in the market.
Guaranteed lifetime income from fixed annuities is subject to the claims paying ability of the issuing company.

Social Security

To maximize monthly benefits from the government, consider starting your claim at full retirement age or later. Spouses should plan together to make the most of spousal benefits.


Today fewer than 20% of American workers are offered a defined benefit pension like your grandparents may have had.1 If you have one, it should be inclluded in your income plan.


A fixed annuity can help bridge gaps you may have when it comes to income need to cover everyday expenses. You can choose when and how much of savings to convert to a lifetime income.
By the numbers

79% of Americans say having a guarantee of monthly income for the rest of their life is important to them.

Source: 2016 TIAA Lifetime Income Survey
What is an annuity?

An annuity can be a cornerstone of retirement

An annuity is a product offered by an insurance company that is designed for retirement and other long-term goals. Annuities can provide you with:


Annuities offer several income options to help meet your personal needs.


If you choose lifetime income, you won't have to worry about running out of money.


Having income you can't outlive allows greater flexibility for the remainder of yout investment portfolio to potentially meet unforeseen needs.
Herb's Story Video Screen Shot

Income you can’t outlive: Herb’s story

View From the Top

The planning for retirement, there are really two major aspects to consider.The first aspect is you must begin to think about what will you be doing upon retirement.

I'm not an idle person. I've got to keep active. I work out. I do upper body three times a week and jogging.

And the other side of it of course is the financial. I think you will find that upon retirement, there's so many other financial issues that you did not think of. I can't emphasize that enough.

I had preplanned to have my living expenses taken care of through my annuities. I have a fixed annuity with TIAA. It lasts through a lifetime, so I know exactly what I'm going to get month after month after month.

I urge everybody when they're approaching retirement, do some careful thinking.

Income options

Your income, your choices

Annuities can provide a wide range of flexible income options and, depending on the type of annuity, your income can be fixed or variable. Your initial income amount is based, in part, on which options you choose.

Your Income Options

  • Can be set up for just you or you and a partner.
  • Income can be for life or a set period of time.
  • Income may be accessible in other ways such as systematic withdrawals depending on your contract;
  • Income tax will be due at the time income or withdrawals are taken, plus a possible federal 10% penalty if you make a withdrawal before age 59½.
  • Once you set up lifetime or period certain income that balance is not available for income under other distribution options.
  • You cannot change the annuity option or annuity partner once you begin receiving income.
  • Features can be added to allow income to continue to beneficiaries for a specified period; adding this benefit will reduce the initial income amount.

Fixed vs. Variable Annuities

  • Fixed annuity income is consistent, reliable and guaranteed. For a fixed annuity the insurance company, not contract owner, assumes risk.
  • Variable annuity income is not guaranteed but has the potential to grow over time. The amount of each payment will fluctuate based on underlying investment performance. You assume the decision-making for the investments.
If you choose to invest in the variable investment products your money will be subject to the risks inherent in investing in securities, including loss of principal.
Stay flexible

You can tailor your plan to suit your needs

Annuity strategies are not one-size-fits-all. Discover how taking income from annuities can be flexible to meet your needs.
A closer look

Our Retirement Annuities

Learn more about the TIAA and CREF annuities that may be offered in your employer savings plan. Contact your institution to see which of these products are available in your plan.
Annuity contracts and certificates are issued by Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA) and College Retirement Equities Fund (CREF).

TIAA Traditional

Our flagship fixed annuity can provide lifetime income that has the potential for increases that may help offset inflation.2

Variable Annuities (including the CREF Accounts, TIAA Real Estate and TIAA Access Annuities)

Our variable annuities can help you plan for lifetime income with growth potential, with income that may vary based on the performance of the investment choices you select.
Next Steps

How TIAA can help

Learn more

Explore our Resources that provide more in-depth content on key retirement topics.

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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.
The TIAA Traditional Annuity Retirement Annuity (RA) contract form series 1000.24; Group Retirement Annuity (GRA) certificate form series G-1000.4 or G-1000.5/G1000.6 or G1000.7 (not available in all states); Supplemental Retirement Annuity (SRA) contract form series 1200.8; Group Supplemental Retirement Annuity (GSRA) certificate form series G1250.1; Retirement Choice (RC) contract form series IGRS-01-84-ACC; Retirement Choice certificate series IGRS-CERT2-84-ACC; Retirement Choice Plus contract form series IGRSP-01-84-ACC; Retirement Choice Plus certificate series IGRSP-CERT2-84-ACC; Group Annuity (GA) contract form series 6008.8 and 6008.9-ACC; After-Tax Retirement Annuity (ATRA) contract form series 1000.24-ATRA; IRA contract form series 1280.2, 1280.4 (not available in all states and generally no longer issued), or TIAA-IRA-01 and Roth IRA contract form series 1280.3 or 1280.5 (not available in all states and generally no longer issued), or TIAA-Roth-01; and Keogh certificate form series G1350 (not available in all states) are issued by Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America, 730 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017.
1 Department of Labor , December 10, 2015.

2 Interest credited to TIAA Traditional Annuity accumulations includes a guaranteed rate, plus additional amounts as may be established on a year-by-year basis by the TIAA Board of Trustees. The additional amounts, when declared, remain in effect through the "declaration year", which begins each March 1 for accumulating annuities and January 1 for payout annuities. Additional amounts are not guaranteed for periods other than the period for which they are declared.

This material is for informational or educational purposes only and does not constitute any of the following: a recommendation or investment advice; a solicitation to buy or sell securities or other investment property; or a solicitation to pursue an investment strategy or retain an investment manager or investment advisor. This material does not take into account the specific objectives or circumstances of any particular investor, or suggest any specific course of action. Investment decisions should be made in consultation with an investor’s personal advisor based on the investor’s own objectives and circumstances.