Employer-sponsored retirement plans

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Get the basics

The basics of employer-sponsored retirement plans

Getting enrolled

  • Your employer may have already enrolled you in an eligible plan.
  • Check with your benefits department or your plan's microsite to learn about your plan's features.
  • You can enroll online or through your employer.
  • You may be able to choose how much to contribute and how to invest, and name your beneficiaries.
  • Your contributions are automatically deducted from your paycheck and transferred to your retirement account.

Keeping it running

  • You can talk to us—get personalized advice* and education about your employer-sponsored retirement plan at no additional cost from a TIAA consultant.
  • If your employer matches your contributions, learn how much you need to save to get the match.
  • You can change your contribution amount and investments at any time.
  • You can contribute up to $20,500 in 2022 (or $27,000 if you're age 50 or older).

What your employer-sponsored retirement plan might include:

Working and Retired years

Some plans offer TIAA retirement annuities, which can provide you with income for life after you retire—an option that's not available with other investments.

Besides your retirement plan, there are other savings that may support your retirement, like: Social Security payments, an annuity outside your plan, your personal savings, and IRAs.

Help me

Retirement plan highlights

Lifetime income

Many employer-sponsored retirement plans offer fixed and variable annuities that provide you with retirement income for life.1

Highly rated mutual funds

60% of TIAA-CREF Funds and Variable Annuity Accounts received a Morningstar overall rating of 4- or 5-stars (40.24% 4 stars and 19.51% 5 stars), based on risk-adjusted returns as of March 31, 2022.2

Expenses for our TIAA mutual funds and annuities are among the lowest cost in the industry3

Retirement plans are tax-deferred

You won't pay taxes on the growth of your contributions until you take the money out during retirement.

Next steps

Enrolling in your employer's retirement plan

Not ready to enroll?

Learn more about what your employer provides.

Already enrolled?

Register for online access and see what’s next.

Need to pick a company?

Find out what sets us apart.

Note: Your employer may have already enrolled you in an eligible plan.

Discover more


Maxed out contributions to your employer plan?

If you're already saving in a retirement plan, learn how an IRA can help you save even more, tax-deferred.


Need to save even more?

If you've maxed out your employer retirement plan and IRA, and are looking for additional retirement savings, learn about a personal annuity.


Have a retirement plan from an ex-employer?

You can roll the funds over to your current employer's retirement plan.



Adding an IRA to your Retirement Plan can open a world of investment choices.

*Advice is obtained using an advice methodology from an independent third-party.

Guarantees are subject to claims paying ability of the issuing company. Variable annuity payments will fluctuate.

Morningstar ratings are based on each mutual fund (institutional share class) or variable annuity account’s (lowest cost) share class and include U.S. open-end mutual funds, CREF Variable Accounts and the Life Funds. The Morningstar Rating™ – or “star rating” – is calculated for managed products (including mutual funds, variable annuity and variable life subaccounts, exchange-traded funds, closed-end funds and separate accounts) with at least a three-year history. Exchange-traded funds and open-ended mutual funds are considered a single population for comparative purposes. The rating is calculated based on a Morningstar Risk-Adjusted Return measure that accounts for variation in a managed product's monthly excess performance, placing more emphasis on downward variations and rewarding consistent performance. Morningstar ratings may be higher or lower on a monthly basis. The top 10% of funds or accounts in each product category receive five stars, the next 22.5% receive four stars and the next 35% receive three stars. The overall star ratings are Morningstar’s published ratings, which are derived from weighted averages of the performance figures associated with the three-, five-, and 10-year (if applicable) Morningstar rating metrics for the period ended March 31, 2022. Morningstar is an independent service that rates mutual funds. Past performance cannot guarantee future results. For current performance and ratings, please visit TIAA.org/public/investment-performance. ©2022 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. The information contained herein: (1) is proprietary to Morningstar and/or its content providers; (2) may not be copied or distributed; and (3) is not warranted to be accurate, complete or timely. Neither Morningstar nor its content providers are responsible for any damages or losses arising from any use of this information. Neither TIAA nor its affiliates have independently verified the accuracy or completeness of this information.

Applies to mutual fund and variable annuity expense ratios. Source: Morningstar Direct, March 31, 2022. 64% of TIAA-CREF mutual fund products and variable annuity accounts have expense ratios that are in the bottom quartile (or 89.61% are below median) of their respective Morningstar category.

Our mutual fund and variable annuity products are subject to various fees and expenses, including but not limited to management, administrative, and distribution fees; our variable annuity products have an additional mortality and expense risk charge.

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.