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TIAA-CREF Advice Planning Services Review

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This review was produced by SmartAsset based on publicly available information. The named firm and its financial professionals have not reviewed, approved, or endorsed this review and are not responsible for its accuracy. Review content is produced by SmartAsset independently of any business relationships that might exist between SmartAsset and the named firm and its financial professionals, and firms and financial professionals having business relationships with SmartAsset receive no special treatment or consideration in SmartAsset’s reviews. This page contains links to SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool, which may or may not match you with the firm mentioned in this review or its financial professionals.

TIAA-CREF Advice and Planning Services is a large, fee-based financial advisor firm. It employs hundreds of advisors throughout the U.S. to manage these funds, primarily for individual investors. The firm is headquartered in New York, and it also has offices around the U.S. in California, Washington, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Illinois and Connecticut.

TIAA-CREF Advice and Planning Services Background

Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America, or TIAA, was founded by legendary American industrialist Andrew Carnegie in 1918. Since then, the company has grown massively.

TIAA’s extensive team of affiliated advisors boasts a wide range of advisory certifications. Its team includes certified financial planners (CFPs), accredited asset management specialists (AAMS), chartered financial analysts (CFA) and more.

TIAA-CREF Advice and Planning Services Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes

TIAA-CREF Advice and Planning Services has thousands of individual clients. It works with individuals both with and without a high net worth. Although it’s safe to say that the firm primarily serves individual investors, TIAA also works with businesses, trusts, retirement plans and charitable organizations.

The majority of the services offered by TIAA-CREF Advice and Planning Services call for a minimum investment of $50,000. However, the firm does vary its requirements depending on the service you’re looking for. Its minimums range as low as $5,000 for its Personal Portfolio Program, which offers web-based investment management. Private asset management accounts carry a minimum of $1 million.

Services Offered by TIAA-CREF Advice and Planning Services

TIAA-CREF offers three advisory programs that focus on different styles of investment management:

  • Portfolio Advisor Program
    • Customized, model-based investment portfolios
    • Regular rebalances
  • Private Asset Management
    • Discretionary portfolio management
    • Asset allocation models
    • Regular rebalances

The rest of the firm’s offerings revolve around financial planning and investment management. In addition to the above programs, the firm provides the following services:

  • Financial planning
    • Personal financial plan creation
      • Insurance needs and risk management
      • Estate planning
      • Education funding
      • Stock option and deferred compensation analysis
      • Alternative cash flow analysis
    • Retirement planning
      • Tax planning for the future
    • Life goals analysis
    • Annual financial review
  • Investment advisory services
    • Review of existing investments
    • Rebalances
    • Investment planning
  • Brokerage education
    • Information for retirement and investment planning
    • Investment-type education for mutual funds, life insurance, annuities and more
    • IRA rollover walkthroughs

TIAA-CREF Advice and Planning Services Investment Philosophy

In its Form ADV, TIAA-CREF Advice and Planning Services describes its investment strategy as “consistent with prudent, long-term investing.” TIAA utilizes strong diversification principles in conjunction with asset allocation modeling to form clients’ portfolios based on their risk tolerance and ultimate financial or retirement goals.

TIAA’s asset allocation models range from “very aggressive” to “very conservative.” The level of risk that you choose to adhere to will directly inform which investments are included in your portfolio, as well as your portfolio’s expected level of return. Still, the firm has a variety of investments that it typically uses in client portfolios, including fixed-income, equities, cash equivalents, money market funds and guaranteed income investments.

Fees Under TIAA-CREF Advice and Planning Services

TIAA offers a number of financial advisory and management services, and it has distinct fee schedules for each. The firm has a fee schedule for each of its three portfolio programs (the Portfolio Manager Program, the Portfolio Advisor Program and the Personal Portfolio Program) and for its financial planning services.

For the Portfolio Advisor Program, which offers model-based investment portfolios, the firm charges an annual fee that ranges from 0.40% to 1.15% of assets under management. Your exact rate will depend on how much money you’ve invested with TIAA. The firm’s Portfolio Manager Program, which offers discretionary portfolio management and asset allocation models, is slightly cheaper. For each of these programs, the firm charges clients a wrap fee, meaning that all of its service fees are bundled into one comprehensive rate.

Portfolio Advisor Blended Fees
Portfolio Value Annual Fee
First $150,000 1.15%
Next $150,000 - $300,000 1.00%
Next $300,001 - $750,000 0.85%
Next $750,001 - $1,000,000 0.75%
Next $1,000,001 - $1,500,000 0.70%
Next $1,500,001 - $3,000,000 0.65%
Next $3,000,001 - $4,000,000 0.60%
Next $4,000,001 - $5,000,000 0.50%
Over $5,000,000 0.40%


Private Asset Management Exclusively Fixed-Income Program Fees
Portfolio Value Annual Fee
First $1,000,000 0.50%
Next $2,000,000 0.35%
Next $2,000,000 0.25%
Next $5,000,000 0.20%
Over $10,000,000 0.15%


Private Asset Management Blended Program Fees
Portfolio Value Annual Fee
First $1,000,000 0.90%
Next $2,000,000 0.70%
Next $2,000,000 0.50%
Over $5,000,000 0.40%

TIAA offers all of its financial planning services free of charge. However, should you decide to enact your financial plan and invest in one of the products it recommends, TIAA and its affiliates will likely receive compensation.

What to Watch Out For

TIAA-CREF Advice and Planning Services has a number of disclosures noted on its Form ADV. As a result of these disclosures, the firm has had to pay fines, submit to censure and more. For more information, see the firm's Form ADV.

As a fee-based financial advisor firm, TIAA-CREF Advice and Planning Services has compensatory conflicts of interest. TIAA advisors who recommend clients to one of the firm’s affiliated insurance agencies have the opportunity to earn additional compensation depending on how long the client remains with the firm and what the client’s premiums are. While this is a potential conflict of interest, the firm is a fiduciary, so it is legally bound to act in clients’ best interests.

Opening an Account With TIAA-CREF Advice and Planning Services

If you live near a TIAA-CREF Advice and Planning Services branch, you can stop by and speak to an advisor to learn about the firm’s services. On the firm’s website, there’s an advisor locator tool that will show you TIAA’s advisors nearest to your address. Another option is to call TIAA at (866) 842-3519 to discuss becoming a client.

All information is accurate as of the writing of this article.

Tips for Your Retirement

  • Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can have a free introductory call with your advisor matches to decide which one you feel is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • Don’t blindly save your money for an eventual retirement that you have no vision for. To ensure you actually save enough, you’ll have to figure out exactly what your annual retirement expenses will be to ensure you can live the lifestyle you want.

How Long $1mm Lasts in Retirement

SmartAsset's interactive map highlights places where $1 million will last the longest in retirement. Zoom between states and the national map to see the top spots in each region. Also, scroll over any city to learn about the cost of living in retirement for that location.

Rank City Housing Expenses Food Expenses Healthcare Expenses Utilities Expenses Transportation Expenses

Methodology We analyzed data on average expenditures for seniors, cost of living and investment returns to determine how many years of retirement a $1 million nest egg would cover in cities across America.

First, we looked at data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on the average annual expenditures of seniors. We then applied cost of living data from the Council for Community and Economic Research to adjust those national average spending levels based on the costs of each expense category (housing, food, healthcare, utilities, transportation and other) in each city. Using this data, SmartAsset calculated the average cost of living for retirees in the largest U.S. cities.

We assumed the $1 million would grow at a real return (interest minus inflation) of 2%. Then, we divided $1 million by the sum of each of those annual numbers to determine how long $1 million would cover retirement expenses in each of the cities in our study. Cities where $1 million lasted the longest ranked the highest in the study.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Council for Community and Economic Research