Getting all your retirement savings back from TIAA CREF with Minimal Hassle


I feel compelled to rant back against all the whiners who write that TIAA CREF is volitionally not executing account holder requests for retirement account rollovers or lump sum withdrawals. Some patience is required,  but I will tell you step by step how we got every penny of our Houston Community College retirement withdrawn begining with the submission of a cash withdrawal form pre-filled by a helpful TIAA CREF employee and approved by the TSA Consulting Group.

The TSA Consulting Group is the much maligned third party that processes all withdrawal claims/requests. They essentially confirm the authenticity of the request, accuracy of the form filling, and the scan of the authorized signature. We consummated our request completely via emails and attached PDFs with no faxing required!!

As you can see in the screen shot below, two service requests are posted conveniently online indicating a Maintenance Contract Termination AND a Cash Withdrawal Payment from the Houston Community College System Social Security Alternative Plan.

The payment was received within 5 days of the request with 20% deducted and paid to the IRS. The service staff at TSA Consulting Group were helpful, professional, and cooperative.

The only minor hassle was having to scan my signature and convert it to a PDF file, but that avoided having to use a FAX machine as we just attached the signature PDF and the Cash Withdrawal PDF to the email.

Finally just to be sure the steps involved getting your hard earned retirement contributions are clear.

First, Get Cash Withdrawal or rollover forms from the TIAA-CREF website and have an employee prefill the forms for you with relevant account numbers and information.

Second, forward these forms to a rep of the school you worked for to approve the withdrawal/rollover. In our case HCC, had assigned this duty to the TSA Consulting Group.

Third, get acknowledgement of receipt of said forms from a TSA Consulting Group rep which was very easy in our case. Confirm when they will forward their approval back to CREF.

Fourth, login into CREF website to monitor the status for the release of your funds!!

All these steps took ONLY 3 days for us in stark contrast to all complaints posted harshly criticizing TIAA CREF for making it difficult if not impossible for teachers to get their retirement money back expediently.


Viewing your TIAA CREF Cash Withdrawal Status Online
Viewing your TIAA CREF Cash Withdrawal Status Online




17 comments on “Getting all your retirement savings back from TIAA CREF with Minimal HassleAdd yours →

  1. Congratulations on a successful withdrawal. One of the reasons may be your individual contract with your university that helps rather than hinders withdrawals. There are many different TIAA contracts so you cannot possibly speak for all. It is very arrogant to call others with problems, “whiners”. It is your myopic attitude that hinders a resolution for others not so lucky.

    1. Pat, my sincere apologies for my “near sighted” report, but I was specifically criticising those who apparently are unwilling to fill out the requisite forms and get the approval of a single administrator somewhere. There is a TIAA flaming post on this blog full of comments that are unjust, if not completely false, in my view.
      Irrespective of the nature of the individual contract, according to a friend who works at the skyscraper in Denver, one can fill out the forms I mentioned and it boils down to an admin at the school/institution of your employment signing off on it. If said signature is not obtained, then that is NOT the fault of TIAA CREF.

  2. Did you know Dolores Mundhenk who was employed at Houston Community College I believe?
    That poor lady walked out her front door one day only to see her neighbor on fire in his driveway! Only a very stable person could stay stable through something like that.

  3. Sir, you are the exception to the rule. Let me tell you this company sounds like it should go out of business. They should not be allowed to exist in a democracy. Tell them to go to Cuba.

    1. Stella, there appears to be a bias against employees of law firms, paralegals in particular. The irony, of course, is one would expect these type of employees would have both the initiative and resources to sue the pants off of TIAA CREF!

      1. Me. Daniels it is my sister and she was a professor at Mercy College. It is her money and her husband has dementia and they are saying if he can’t sign off she has to wait for him to die so she can get it but she needs it for expenses. I think they like when people go on welfare in this great country of ours. That is why so many people take advantage.

        1. I believe the problem is more likely to be sluggish and uncaring Mercy College admins in NYC rather than TIAA CREF policy that is preventing you from getting to your infirmed husband’s retirement money. Read what Jasmyne Hurley(Memphis Tennessee Olive Branch High School girl has got back and mean jump shot) has to say about her trials and difficulties with this not so merciful college

          1. At this juncture I have to stop as it was making me too upset. I decided that you have to spend too much unnecessary money to get what is rightfully yours. Thanks for keeping me sane. I just have to forget it from my end. I am thankful that I never used them.

            1. But Stella, it is that very attitude of letting them get away with what amounts to theft that prevents the proper punishment or meting of justice. A man with Alzheimer’s does not have the lucidity to sign the money over to his wife nor will he ever. Have the gumption to fight for what is your beloved sister!

              1. I have my own issues to deal with. I will let my sister deal with hers. In the last year I have become discouraged with the government and its many agencies. The only ones who get ahead in this lifetime are the liars, the cheats and the criminals. That’s why welfare strives, food coupons, section 8, etc. everything where the government can use tax payers money and freely give it to the loafers and bums.

      2. By the way. Suing costs money and my sister has spent money even through lawyer and has not been successful. Not even a congressman. This whole government needs to be thrown out. The laws of this country favor the criminals not the victims. One minute the government penalizes you if you don’t take out your own money by 70-1/2 and then you have this TIAA CREF that doesn’t want to give your savings. You see why people go irate and shoot people.

        1. Stella,
          I believe I read an instance of a 35 year old retired teacher who had to file a lawsuit against CREF because they were engaging in dilatory tactics to avoid paying her what they owed her in her monthly annuity. She retained an attorney on a contingency basis and got her money back at no cost to her. The attorney was compensated from some sort of fund TIAA maintains internally to handle litigation fees for the multiple cases filed against them by incensed, pissed off, and irate account holders who would love to meet a TIAA administrator in a dark alley with no witnesses.

  4. The last part of your comment was more funny than helpful. I don’t want to do that The purpose is to get what rightfully belongs to the person who placed it there. The husband didn’t put a penny in it. THEY SHOULD JUST GIVE YOU WHAT IS YOURS EITHOUT GHE RED TAPE. iIt feels as if we are in a fifth world country. Getting an administrator in a dark alley wouldn’t accomplish anything. I would want a scare tactic but no evil intent. The Bible says do not kill. But I am becoming frustrated with American law. People who do wrong get away with what they do and the honest, law abiding get screwed!

    1. Stella,

      You were the one who stated “You see why people go irate and shoot people.” A major corporation withholding money from beneficiaries and policy holders is depriving them of what is rightfully theirs. It sounds as though this is happening to you. Lack of money prevents people from living the comfortable life styles they have earned.

      1. It is my sister that is having the problem. Luckily a friend is helping her with some money, but she needs to pay expenses.
        I said the thing of shooting because you get to a point in life that no matter what you do it isn’t working. Right now three family members are having issues and no one seems to care about what is going on. Talk about mental issues. These things can get you depressed.

        1. I am sorry this has touched your family in such a devastating way. Have you researched whether there is a basis for a class action suit against TIAA CREF for systemically impeding account holders from withdrawing their money during their golden years OR the same for educators who drop out, go into the private sector and want their F___ing money back!?

          1. No I don’t. I thought America was a fair country. Little by little, at my age, I am finding out that for the last 59 years I was inside a bubble. Believe it, even seeing how those who were elected to the White House did all kinds of bad things from Lincoln through George h w bush it is sad. It is not integrity that gets them in office. So what can we expect from companies. Imagine that the TIAA is following federal law yet they are not federally insured.

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