19 Replies Latest reply on Nov 29, 2009 9:45 PM by Patgrick

    Do You Transfer Between Funds?


      I started working for a college that offered Tiaa-Cref  (TC) as a retirement annuity plan (RA) in ’90. It seemed better than the defined benefit plan, so I signed on. Shortly after I started a supplemental plan (SA) because I knew the amount matching state funds were not going to be enough to retire on. I had an on-line account, and made transfers (I know- they frown on that stuff) based on my own instincts. I did well. They then put limits on transfers. I got restless, and moved both RA and SA to another company because they offered more diverse funds. I kept watching TC and they must have seen the exodus because they started more funds. Last year in March, I moved back. I was not happy with the company I switched to, and I lost a lot of money on the switch (even thought the broker told me I would not). Money under the bridge- I saw the slow decline, and like I used to do, sold Stock at 172, put it in MM. This winter I bought back Stock at 146.  I like what I was seeing  (until this week). I am know they frown on moves but hey it worked for me. I also know at 50 something and 2 kids in college, I will never be able to retire at 62. So, are there other people out there that watch market trends and move their money around (paying mind to the quarterly limits, of course)? I just feel like I have to play catch up some how. I started this career late in life, as well as a family.

        • Re: Do You Transfer Between Funds?

          I don't transfer between funds, because my employer does not give us many options.  I suppose I could make an extra contribution and put that money where I want.

          However, am I the only person out here at age 58 with a mortgage? 

          I have less that $100,000 in retirement due to last year's market.  Am I the only person without a million bucks stashed away?

          It seems to me most retirement discussions are among folks that are planning European vacations, extended holidays and vacations, buying new cars and the like.

          And, to top it all off--I don't have any guaranteed healthcare after I retire, get fired, or get laid off.  Am I the only person without guaranteed healthcare?

          Am I the only person out here that will not have an inheritance from family?

          I can't seem to find anyone to have a discussion to talk about the have-nots and how we will survive.



            • Re: Do You Transfer Between Funds?

              The good thing is that you _are_ contributing. What I am talking about is getting an on-line account with tiaa-cref, then when you absolutely know the market is going to fall, or it is in a state of decline (9-11) move your money to some fund that is safer.

              I know there must be people out there like me who have the nerve to transfer money from stocks to money market when doom is near. You just go on-line and transfer the funds. I don't think your employeer can stop you from doing that. You just have to realize that the transaction will take place at the closing bell (it hits your account at about 9 at night). So I check the market aroung 3:45- . Due to restrictions, there is a limit to how many times you can do this, but it has helped me. It is empowering, nerve wracking, and at times a burden.

              I never counted on any money when my folks died. It is bittersweet. You split it up between siblings and lawyers, and wished your folks had spent more on themselves when they were around.

              One hidden (benefit) is that unlike my dad's retirement check that stopped at his passing, your Tiaa fund will be around for whomever.  Keep your chin up, I see a few guys i graduated high school with still around town doing odd jobs. They have a great outlook on life, yet have no retirement (except ssi) at all.

                • Re: Do You Transfer Between Funds?

                  I had done quite well with about 50%  of my total investment in the real estate sector of TIAA.  I noticed last quarter it was starting to shift, so I moved approx. 40% of that 50% out of real estate.

                  I do not go on line every day and look at it.   Some of my co-workers are constantly moving money around.  I check the previous years performance and go with the gut.  Probably not the best method of investing.  But when you consider all the $$ that was lost with that Madoff crook, does it really matter?????????????????????

                    • Re: Do You Transfer Between Funds?

                      I to have a fair amount, about 28%, of my TIAA CREF portfolio in Real Estate.  Just looked on-line, which I don't pay as much attention to as I should) and was shocked to see the amount of loss I incurred this quarter.  My dilemma is should I leave my real estate fund alone and hope the economy rebounds in the near future or transfer some or all of the monies to another safer fund.  I retired last year, am 67 years old.  I still work 2 days a week for my former employer, collect SS and a nice pension.  I don't need to start dipping into any investments right now, so I think I can wait the economy downturn out.  BUT, I hate the thought of loosing even a dollar.  Anyone have any advice?



                  • Re: Do You Transfer Between Funds?
                    I use technical analysis to move in and out of the market.  At the moment I am all in cash.

                    • Re: Do You Transfer Between Funds?

                      Nope, there are lots of us.  Retirement may be more challenging than we hoped.  On the other hand, I have retired friends with modest incomes who seem to travel a lot.  I'm rethinking how I view retirement after watching them.

                      Plans:  Pay off my mortgage, save like crazy and hope I live to spend it all as I saved it all. No inheritance for me either.   

                      I hope for the best for both of us.


                      • Re: Do You Transfer Between Funds?
                        I'm out here, howyou!  The only reason I don't have a mortgage right now is because I still live in the same 1000 sq. ft. house my husband and I built oout-of-pocket with our own hands 30 years ago because we can't afford to move anywhere else at this point.  We would most definitely have a mortgage at 8 years older than you.  We both retired in 2006, thinking we had it all figured out.  Then all hell broke loose, we lost a bundle, and my husband has gone back to work part-time.  I haven't been able to find work, but, as I have for 40 years, I grow and preserve almost all our vegetables for the year.  We pinch our pennies as much as we can and wonder if we'll ever feel like my husband can stop working.  We'll never feel secure again about the future.  It's tough.  And it's definitely not the retirement we dreamed of all these years.  We even decided not to have children so we could retire early.  Now we are old and facing a future with nobody to look out for us.  We try to keep a positive and grateful attitude (many are a lot worse off), but it's a bit of a bummer, too!
                          • Re: Do You Transfer Between Funds?

                            Thanks for your generous reply.  At times, I feel every choice I have made was wrong.  My husband and I have had a previous marriage.  He has 2 children--both finished w/college and on their own.  I have no children.  I  put myself through college and grad school at the age of 40.  My college loans are paid off.

                            However, my husband lost his job in 2002--thought he would retire there.  He invested 33 years of his life with the company and they shut the doors and sent people packing with nothing.   There were plenty of loopholes for the company to wiggle through and avoid any payments to employees.  He found another job, thought he could hang in through this depression/recession. Got laid off Aug. 7.  So, we've been to hell and back so many times--we feel like frequent flyers.

                            We are honest, hard working, everyday folk.  Buy cars at auction for cash.  Our old truck has 185,000 miles on it and my husband, somehow, manages to keep it running.

                            Like you, we are frugal and I'm grateful we have no auto loans, credit card debt, and so on.  However, the medical part scares me.  My husband has been able to get a card through veteran affairs.  Not sure how much they will pick up.

                            As my local state representative said at a town hall meeting last spring, "...life ain't fair."  This, I might add, from an economics professor.

                            Keep on, keep'n on.

                              • Re: Do You Transfer Between Funds?

                                Wow!  I'm so sorry to hear your story.  Unfortunately, we hear similar tales all too often.  Certainly glad to learn that you have no debt.  That would be a special kind of nightmare. 

                                I, too, feel as if I've made many bad decisions; I have always been the financial manager of our household, and my husband depends on my recommendations.  We both wanted so badly to get out of the rat race of work, with every minute of our lives scheduled and a long commute to the office, that I'm afraid we didn't look closely enough at all the "what ifs?" before we took the plunge. We hadI watched too many people continue to work and, when they retired, their health was so bad they couldn't do any of the things they wanted to.  We didn't want that to happen to us.  We're going to be ok, I think, but constantly thinking about pinching pennies and being afraid to spend anything on socializing or entertainment (not to mention travel) does not make for "golden" years! 

                                I just realized that I didn't respond to your question about medical coverage.  I am 65 and now covered (somewhat) by Medicare.  However, my husband is younger, and we pay $500/mo. for medical coverage for him.  Since he works only part-time, he is not eligible for coverage through his employer.  He's only 60 now, so we've got a while longer for Medicare to kick in for him--if it's still around then!

                              • Re: Do You Transfer Between Funds?

                                So anyway back on the subject of Transfering Funds.. It seems the market has not been kind to us older folk. Back in 94 I invited a retirement planner to come to campus and talk to the academics and professionals about retirement. I was new to retirement planning but had an Regular retirement plan and a supplemental plan.

                                I am sitting there with a group of gray haired profs, when the shocker came out of this guys mouth. It was straight from Saturday Nighty live (or at least it sounded that way to me)  You take your $480,000 and you put some in this fund and some in...   wait! WAIT! he just said 480 thousand dollars, and no one blinked. 

                                I had been contributing for 4 years. That seemed to me like the skit on SNL "how to make a million dollars" - First you get a million dollars and invest it in this and that.  The skit glossed over the  gettin the million part.

                                I went to Payroll and upped my contribution. 

                                I am nowhere near that now 16 years later.  I have heard of employees contributing the max. as they get close to retiremten, but wow, that is not going to happen.

                                The market has been rotten. Thank goodness I moved my funds around or I would be worse off.  Many moons ago, I could tell that when the market went up 150 points that there was going to be 2 days of profit taking. I got out of stock, bought mm and then after 2 days got in.  Those days are gone. I am now looking at signs that predice the huge falls- like last year.

                                Like the previous post - I too am redefining what retirement means.

                                • Re: Do You Transfer Between Funds?
                                  Ouch.  Sounds tough.  I am looking at my second retirement in two or three years.  I have a base for my final retirement based on a defined benefit plan that kicked in for my wife and I eleven years ago.  As a result, I have most of my funds in CREF Stock with a little in Real Estate.  My wife and I both have Roths, of course, which we will hopefully continue to add to when we are once again eligible after retirement.  These are for the kids after we pass on and are self managed and in high dividend stocks.  Right now they are within 8% of where they were when the DOW was at its high.  I also like the CREF accoiunt when it is low, but I liked the high better, and I continued to build over the years that I could.  In addition, though, my wife and I have a Supplemental Account outside TIAA Cref and we also have a non-retirement stock account with a reputable broker.  Not a huge amount there, but steadily growing.  By building slowly over the last 20 years -after the kids finished college, we have done fairly well, and will be decently hedged, I hope.  If not, I can always go sailing!
                                    • Re: Do You Transfer Between Funds?

                                      Indeed, it is good to see that others are doing this...I thought I was the only crazy one to have tried this approach.  However, when I did, I lost a bundle because the fund I transfered into, took a beating and at the end of the day, I lost more than if I had left it where it was.

                                      It may just have been poor timing, but nevertheless, I have since decided to stop transferring because once I make that transfer, my losses are realized...unlike if I leave it and see if it will return to its prior level..assuming that I have time on my side.

                                      Today, I have now decided to do my own "gambling" with stocks...after see how the professional money managers were unable to predict the market turndown and sustained such hugh losses.  I don't think I could have done worst.  I realize that I do not have the time to spend on the market, but I take my chances and hope for the best.

                                      Once I reach retirement, CD will possible be my only investments.


                                  • Re: Do You Transfer Between Funds?
                                    You are definitely NOT the only one out there with more limited funds put away.  Everyone I talk with is in the same boat.  My husband's business tanked five years ago after some employees stole funds and used his credit cards etc.  It was a nightmare to straighten out and took a chunk of our retirement to settle things.  We still have some issues to settle regarding that nasty business.  That leaves us with not a lot to work with - not like we thought we had.  I think people don't talk about their real concerns about "will I have enough" because they are embarrassed thinking they are the only ones without enough put by.

                                    The economy, taxes, erosion of our 401(k) etc. has left most folks without enough put by.  So feel part of the group out here in the real world and discard those who brag about where they are going or where they have been.  That is so much hot air sometimes.  Keep on plugging.
                                    • Re: Do You Transfer Between Funds?

                                      No you are not alone!

                                      2 kids in college (on a sr., the other a freshman - private schools for both): check!

                                      Paying out of pocket for both b/c thought our inherited summer place would jeopardize options and leave kids with big loans: check!

                                      2 Mortgages (10 years on one; interest only on the other): check!

                                      COBRA insurance until November @ $1300/mo: check!

                                      Retire?  No way!  By the way, my husband is a custom builder and I am a non-certified reading tutor in a public school.

                                      Howyou, you are not alone.  In fact, you are in a better place than we are.  It is distressing and does not help a marriage!

                                        • Re: Do You Transfer Between Funds?

                                          It is nice to know that we are not alone! I am so grateful for my father being so very frugal (and my inlaws, too) that we inherited their retirement. Since all the savings we made over 40 years in the stock market crashed 20 years ago, took another 10 years to "rebound" and then really crashed last year, I am grateful much of our money was in 5%CDs.

                                          Again I say, all children should be required to take finance in highschool -- not just balance a checkbook, but learn about how credit cards can destroy lives, interest only loans and variable interest rates destroy lives, and no one should be allowed to take a loan out on their house unless it is to add to the value of their home. With prices and costs goin up and DOWN over the year, the only guaranteed way not to completely fail is to find a home you want to live in, get a 15year loan, and have it paid off long before you want to retire. Diversify your savings and WATCH those stocks and bonds and mutual funds. For those of us who hate thinking about money because we'd rather be writing poetry or painting or enjoying our teaching jobs, we have to be responsible for ourselves.

                                          TV advertising and movies that show how Hollywood Stars live do not help with saving. Children demand they are given "stuff" and I am so grateful I never had much money to "give" my kids. They worked for it and are now very responsible citizens. But I look at their friends who had their colleges paid for, drive their parents' Mercedes and live the life of luxury. What will happen when they have to earn a living?

                                            • Re: Do You Transfer Between Funds?

                                              I used to play the "transfering funds" game, but started to feel the options in TC were too limited. After the stocks crashed, I transfered all my remaining funds to "safe" TIAA to not lose more and started doing some more intense financial-economic research. I concluded that the stock market is for gamblers and is more or less designed to take your money unless maybe you can spend all of your time as a professional trader.

                                              With the record-breaking rate our government is printing money for bailouts and going into debt, the dollar will sooner or later inevitably be caught up by runaway inflation. Prices will rise and dollars will be worth far less than even today. So I put as much retirement savings as I could into foreign currencies, particularly the ultra-stable Swiss Franc (through Swiss annuities, an interesting, proven investment opportunity that is not allowed to advertise in the U.S., but, unlike US annuities, allows you to keep all your funds liquid while building up with annual interest and dividends and to choose or change when annuity payments will start (or even withdraw all your funds before they start).) Everbank has some interesting foreign currency CDs. Check www.volcon.ch or BFI Consulting)

                                              I also withdrew ca. $12,000 of my TC accumulation and bought physical silver and gold -- another proven hedge against inflation, if not a downright moneymaker in the current climate. In coming years I expect their price will at least double from today's. At least if your savings are in commodities, they are in something real instead of the fake paper financial values of typical "investments."

                                              There's also a company in Texas called GoldStar that will allow you to transfer IRAs to either a Swiss Annuity IRA or an IRA in various precious metals (although they do charge fees for this).

                                        • Re: Do You Transfer Between Funds?
                                          I regularly transfer money between accounts.  I invest more in those funds going down and take that money from those funds that have gone up.  Lately, since the Real Estate fund has been the one going down, that's where I've been putting money in.  Since there is no limit on how often I can add to the fund the trading limits are currently not a concern.  They will be when that fund changes around and I want to take money out from it., but I guess I'll just make changes quarterly instead of monthly.  When the market is really going down I take money out from the traditional fund. This approach to investing has served me well over many years, and I have followed the same procedure in other fund investments as well. I'll just add that it takes a lot of guts to keep investing as the market plunges, so I do curtail some investments to some degree less than my plan otherwise suggests.  Thank you for the question.
                                          • Re: Do You Transfer Between Funds?

                                            We transfer annually IF it is needed for our determined portfolio allocation. I did this earlier in July, after noticing our portfolio was off in several sectors. I make the deision whether to move existing funds or just re-allocate future contributions. I don't believe in withdrawing from the market totally because it's impossible for anyone, even the (great and funny) CNBC Fast Money traders to figure out when things are turned around. I have friends who panicked and yanked $$$ out of the market in March - as a result they've totally missed the recent rally of July/early August. I do think it's a "dead cat bounce" so we're now partially in cash, but still over 50% in equities. We are aggressive investors, but have a long-term viewpoint.

                                            You can find 'experts' who can give you a dozen different viewpoints on what to do and the future state of the economy. But one of the wisest things I ever read was someone who said, "The important date is NOT the date you retire. The important date is the date you die!" He wanted to get across to people that life does not stop after retirement, you aren't going to withdraw all your money in one lump sum (at least, not unless you know you're going to kick off in a few months, LOL). Take care of your health and you have a darn good chance to live into your late 80's or even further.

                                            We started very late in saving & investing, but I don't think it's ever too late to do financial planning (which involves investing and savings, but is best viewed holistically). Better if one starts early, of course, but like they say, better late than never! The idea of retiring "early" at 60 or 62 was probably a brief blip in our financial history. Some folks I know were in the right place at the right time and have done it successfully (even with the decline in the markets). But most I know are still working.

                                            So financial planning - saving and investing, taking care of your legal docs, figuring out how to mitigate risk in your life - is important at all ages, and will continue to be critical even as we age. People need to sit down and figure out where they are currently, then make a plan on the best way to achieve their short, medium and long-term goals. Too many people are scared to face reality, so they keep putting things off - unfortunately sometimes they put it off way too long and then leave things in a mess for their heirs.

                                            Yes, being in your 50’s and having a mortgage is tough. But accept where you are, figure out what your achievable goals should be, and work out a plan for getting from Point A to Points B and C. Forget what other people are doing or have done – do what YOU need to do. Success is not a dollar value in a bank account; it is a state of mind, an attitude and a philosophy. If you have the willpower, happiness is always within reach, whether your savings total five figures, six figures, or seven figures.


                                              • Re: Do You Transfer Between Funds?

                                                I had no idea there were people out there like me who transfer funds based on their own sound reasoning. Everyone has a different method, but it seems to work. I am sure Tiaa-Creff knows about folks like us. I wish there was a group at my college (we do have business profs) that I could join.  In my case I used to get a nasty gram when I did too many transfers. Now I am a bit more careful.

                                                I did get talked into a Tiaa-Cref brokerage account, but I jumped too fast. They charge $19.95 each trade in and out. The most I have made so far with my paltry 5K, in buying stocks on the market is $117. Subtract $40 from that and I feel robbed. I did buy from the Tiaa Funds, but you have to hold them for 3 months (or something like that) or else you will incurr the same fee.

                                                I am hoping that someday they lower the fee to something reasonable like scot trade or usaa has.

                                                Anyway, I feel better knowing that if 2 people took the time to write and say they move funds around, that there is probably a large number of us silently trying to take control of our retirement- what ever age that may be.