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Interest crediting rates and performance

This section provides answers to participant questions about how interest is credited to the TIAA Secure Income Account.

Note: Additional support is always available to you and the participant if you need it. Call 844-7-INCOME (746-2663)  to have a TIAA Lifetime Income Consultant join your conversation.


Note for call center representatives: Fact sheets for the TIAA Secure Income Account are currently under development.  There will be nine versions based on account size and annualized 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 2021, the interest rate applied to that June 2021 contribution is guaranteed until February 28, 2022—a nine-month initial guarantee period. Similarly, if you make another contribution/transfer in December 2021, the interest rate applied to that December contribution is also guaranteed until February 28, 2022—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.

Total effective interest rates credited on TIAA Secure Income Account accumulations* (As of 3/1/2020—hypothetically guaranteed through 2/28/2021)

Contribution date Rate Contribution date Rate
2012 2.75% October 2017 3.05%
2013 2.95% November-December 2017 3.10%
January 2014-May 2014 3.05% January 2018 2.85%
June 2014-August 2014 3.00% February 2018 2.95%
September 2014-November 2014 3.05% March 2018 3.05%
December 2014 3.10% April 2018 3.10%
January 2015 2.80% May 2018 3.15%
February 2015 2.85% June 2018 3.25%
March-May 2015 2.90% July 2018 3.30%
June-September 2015 3.00% August 2018 3.20%
October 2015 3.10% September-October 2018 3.15%
November 2015 3.05% November 2018 3.50%
December 2015 3.10% December 2018 3.55%
January 2016 3.15% January 2019 3.10%
February 2016 3.10% February 2019 3.00%
March 2016 3.05% March 2019 2.90%
April 2016 3.15% April 2019 2.75%
May 2016 3.10% May-June 2019 2.60%
June 2016 3.05% July 2019 2.45%
July 2016 2.95% August 2019 2.35%
August 2016 3.00% September 2019 2.25%
September 2016 2.95% October 2019 2.45%
October-November 2016 3.00% November 2019 2.65%
December 2016 3.05% December 2019 2.60%
January-February 2017 3.10% January-February 2020 2.90%
March 2017 3.15% March 2020 2.65%
April 2017 2.75% April-June 2020 2.20%
May-July 2017 2.95% July-August 2020 1.90%
August 2017 3.05% September-October 2020 1.70%
September 2017 3.00% November 2020 1.80%
    December 2020 - January 2021 2.00%
    February 2021 1.95%
    March 2021 1.90%
    April 2021 2.05%
    May 2021 2.00%
    June 2021 1.95%
    July 2021 1.90%
    August 2021 1.80%
    September 2021 1.85%
    October 2021 1.95%
    November 2021 1.80%
    December 2021 1.65%


* The rates used in this simulation are based on TIAA’s estimation of the interest crediting rates that may have been in effect under the TIAA Secure Income Account product had it existed at the start of the simulation period. The historical interest rate estimates were determined based on TIAA’s current interest crediting rate determination process, expense and capital assumptions, but applied retroactively to historical interest rate environments. For these returns, TIAA assumed that the plan met TIAA’s requirement for rates associated with medium-sized accounts ($50 million or greater but less than $250,000) and that there was 0.00% in recordkeeping fees deducted from the interest crediting rates. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

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 contact Tami Lopez at TIAA: 303-626-4771, or by email at Email If using 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.

If you have questions or need additional information, please contact TIAA_DCIO_Support@tiaa.orgOpens Email. TIAA will be happy to help you.