Interest crediting rates and performance
This section provides answers to participant questions about how interest is credited to the TIAA Secure Income Account.
Note to call center representatives: Nine versions of the fund profiles and fact sheets by ticker are available on the home page of the recordkeeper support portal at Recordkeeping Resources (tiaa.org). The fund profiles and facts sheets have been developed based on account size and annual servicing fee payable by TIAA to the recordkeeper.
While you save for retirement, amounts deposited in the TIAA Secure Income Account will earn interest at competitive crediting rates that are declared in advance. Even in the most volatile markets, you will never lose the value of your principal and accrued interest earnings in the TIAA Secure Income Account. In fact, your principal and earnings will grow every day—guaranteed.
Yes. The actual rates paid on the TIAA Secure Income Account will always be greater than or equal to the guaranteed minimum rate, which is re-determined each year and fluctuates between 1% and 3%. Of course, TIAA strives to credit interest rates that are greater than the guaranteed minimum amount.
Initially, the interest rate in effect in the month you make your first contribution/transfer into the TIAA Secure Income Account will be applied. That rate is guaranteed to be applied to that month’s deposits through the following February. After that, the interest rate on that original month’s contribution may be re-set on March 1, and are guaranteed for a full year.
For example, if you make your first contribution/transfer in June 2023, the interest rate applied to that June 2023 contribution is guaranteed until February 29, 2024—a nine-month initial guarantee period. Similarly, if you make another contribution/transfer in December 2023, the interest rate applied to that December contribution is also guaranteed until February 29, 2024—but in this case it’s a three-month initial guarantee period.
For contributions/transfers into the TIAA Secure Income Account after the current month, TIAA can raise, lower, or keep the interest crediting rate the same based on current market conditions and other factors.
Typically, yes. The TIAA Secure Income Account credits interest based on when you make your contribution or transfer.
Think of it as interest rate “buckets.” Different portions of your account balance that are in different buckets may earn different interest rates. TIAA refers to these buckets as “vintages.” If you contribute regularly over time, you will likely have balances in several different buckets, and your amounts in each of these buckets may be earning different interest rates.
TIAA provides us with an aggregated contract balance each day. If you’d like to know your personal balances by bucket or vintage and dollar-weighted average crediting rate, I will put in a request to TIAA and it should be available within a few days.
Note for call center representative: If you’re unable to view the participant’s dollar-weighted crediting rate information on your own system, please email at TIAA_DCIO_Support@tiaa.org.Opens Email Please use your firm’s method of secure encrypted email since you will be sharing personally identifiable information.
The buckets, or vintages, do more than allow TIAA to credit different interest rates based on the timing of when money was contributed. The split of your savings across buckets can affect the amount of lifetime income you elect to receive. This may happen because the inputs to the formula that TIAA uses to calculate the amount of lifetime income payable can differ by bucket or vintage.
Generally speaking, amounts in older vintages have purchased more lifetime income per dollar annuitized, than amounts in newer buckets or vintages.
When setting interest rates, TIAA considers many factors, including the interest rate environment when the funds were contributed or transferred in, changes in interest rates over time, TIAA’s expenses, the financial experience of TIAA’s General Account, and the need to maintain adequate capital.
While the investment returns of TIAA’s General Account do not flow directly to TIAA Secure Income Account participants, crediting rates reflect, in part, the yields and earnings that TIAA obtains on bonds and other investments.
TIAA Secure Income Account interest is credited every day of the year but is only posted as of the end of each business day. For example, a participant’s accumulation value at the end of a Monday (if it’s a business day and not a holiday) will reflect interest for Saturday and Sunday, as well as for Monday. Similarly, if Monday were a holiday, then a participant’s accumulation value at the end of Tuesday would reflect interest for Saturday, Sunday, Monday, as well as for Tuesday.
During leap years, 365 days of interest is credited over the 366 days of the leap year. Your balance earns interest on February 29.
TIAA guarantees that your balance in the TIAA Secure Income Account will never decline even in a rising interest rate environment (assuming the contract is active). In a rising interest rate environment, it’s likely that newly declared interest rates under the TIAA Secure Income Account would also be rising. This contrasts with a typical bond fund where rising interest rates may result in your bond fund balance decreasing.
Conversely, during a declining interest rate environment, when it’s possible that your balance in the bond fund may be increasing, your balance in the TIAA Secure Income Account will not be affected. However in this situation, it’s likely that newly declared interest crediting rates under the TIAA Secure Income Account would not be as high, resulting in your balance growing at a slower rate.
You’ll always receive a positive return in the TIAA Secure Income Account and contributing regularly can be thought of as dollar-averaging into many interest rate environments over time.
Not while the contract is active. However, if your employer decides to discontinue (terminate) the TIAA Secure Income Account contract by liquidating it and moving the proceeds to a different plan investment option, one of the payout options they may elect could result in a payout of an amount that is less than the full account balance in the TIAA Secure Income Account. This adjusted payout would typically occur if interest rates have been rising and your employer elects to receive the contract’s proceeds on an accelerated basis.
If the adjusted value of the overall contract is elected to be paid out by your employer, you’re still guaranteed to receive the amount of the contributions you made (i.e., your principal), plus interest at a rate of no less than 1%.
Alternatively, to avoid any possible adjustment, your employer may elect to receive the proceeds from the contract in annual installments payable over five years.