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Simplifying Your Retirement Game Plan: Navigating TIAA Accounts for Higher Ed Employees

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Greetings, fellow educators! This is Greg Shepard from S&A Financial Services, your go-to resource for making sense of the often perplexing world of higher education retirement plans. Today, as I prepare to escape the sweltering Midwest summer heat, I want to address a pressing concern for many of you: retirement game plans and the need to simplify them, especially when dealing with complex TIAA accounts.

It's July 2023, and I've recently had two individuals reach out to me with a similar dilemma. They're on the cusp of retirement and were presented with retirement proposals by TIAA, complete with a roadmap of which contract to use and how to structure their income. The catch? They were utterly bewildered by the complexity of it all.

These retirees-to-be had multiple contracts, a mix of interest-only payments, TPAs, lifetime income annuity options, and a host of other moving parts. It was clear that the intricacies of these plans were overwhelming, which is far from an ideal situation as they transition into retirement.

Simplification is the Key 

My response to these individuals was straightforward: Let's take a step back and simplify things. You have a clear goal in mind – you want a specific amount of income during retirement.   The key is that you don't need to navigate a labyrinth of convoluted financial instruments and proposals to achieve this goal.

While many of you may desire the lifetime income option or interest-only payments for peace of mind, it's essential to recognize that most of the times you can attain your desired income goal through a simpler approach. My recommendation was to consider consulting with an independent financial advisor, preferably one experienced with TIAA accounts.

The Independent Financial Advisor Advantage 

Why consider an independent financial advisor? Because they can, most of the time, provide you with a game plan that accomplishes the same income goal proposed by TIAA but in a much more straightforward and comprehensible manner.

These professionals can analyze your multiple contracts, assess your financial situation, and tailor a retirement plan that achieves your desired income without the complexity. What's more, they can explain it to you in a way that makes sense, putting you back in control of your retirement.

By seeking this alternative perspective, you gain clarity and a roadmap that is easier to follow. Remember, retirement should be about simplifying your life, not adding layers of confusion. A trusted financial advisor can help you achieve your financial objectives with confidence and peace of mind.


In conclusion, if you're faced with a retirement game plan that feels overly complex, don't hesitate to seek a second opinion. Retirement is a time to enjoy the fruits of your labor and simplify your financial affairs. The TIAA Traditional income options are a valuable resource, but they need not be needlessly intricate.

Feel free to reach out to me or any other trusted independent financial advisor who specializes in retirement planning. Together, we can craft a simplified game plan that ensures you achieve your retirement income goals without unnecessary complexity. As we all strive to enjoy the simplicity of retirement, let's not make the path to get there more challenging than it needs to be.

Take care, and enjoy your well-deserved retirement planning journey.

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