Step 4: Learn how to create a plan that includes income you can’t outlive

With people living longer, retirement is lasting longer—30 years or more for many. So your income plan should last as long as you do.
The benefits

It starts with a solid foundation

Lifetime income sources such as Social Security, pensions and fixed annuities can help you create a foundation—or an “income floor”—designed to help cover everyday expenses throughout your retirement. These changes are not affected by changes in the market.
Guaranteed lifetime income from fixed annuities is subject to the claims-paying ability of the issuing company.

Social Security

To maximize monthly benefits from the government, consider starting your claim at full retirement age or later. Spouses should plan together to make the most of spousal benefits.


Today fewer than 17% of American workers are offered a defined benefit pension like your grandparents may have had. 1 If you have one, it should be included in your income plan.

Fixed Annuities

A fixed annuity can help bridge gaps you may have when it comes to income needed to cover everyday expenses. You can choose when and how much of savings to convert to a lifetime income.
By the numbers

67% of Americans say having a guarantee of monthly

Source: 2017 TIAA Lifetime Income Survey
What is an annuity?

An annuity can be a cornerstone of retirement

An annuity is a product offered by an insurance company that is designed for retirement and other long-term goals. Annuities can provide you with:


Annuities offer several income options to help meet your personal needs.


If you choose lifetime income from a fixed annuity, you won't have to worry about running out of money.


Having income you can't outlive allows greater flexibility for the remainder of your investment portfolio to potentially meet unforeseen needs.
Judy Worell customer story

View From the Top

My image in retiring was I want to retire in the woods and I bought this piece of land. It's a very special place to live. I just love it.

I fell right in my back yard on a piece of uneven pavement and fractured my left shoulder in three places. So now I need somebody to dress me, to make my food because it's hard to cook with one hand.

There were various caregiver places in Lexington, and they sent me Sylvia and she is fantastic.

I am very fortunate because I got involved with TIAA and I have enough money to pay her. If I didn't have that money, I would be at the mercy of friends and relatives.

Even with this reducing it doesn't threaten my total income.

Income options

Your income, your choices

Annuities can provide a wide range of flexible income options and, depending on the type of annuity, your income can be fixed or variable. Your initial income amount is based, in part, on which options you choose.

Your Income Options

  • Can be set up for just you or you and a partner.
  • Income can be for life or a set period of time.
  • Income may be accessible in other ways such as systematic withdrawals depending on your contract.
  • Income tax will be due at the time income or withdrawals are taken, plus a possible federal 10% penalty if you make a withdrawal before age 59½.
  • Once you set up lifetime or period certain income, that balance is not available for income under other distribution options.
  • You cannot change the annuity option or annuity partner once you begin receiving income.
  • Features can be added to allow income to continue to beneficiaries for a specified period; adding this benefit will reduce the initial income amount.

Fixed vs. Variable Annuities

  • Fixed annuity income is consistent, reliable and guaranteed. For a fixed annuity, the insurance company, not contract owner, assumes risk.
  • Variable annuity income is not guaranteed but has the potential to grow over time. The amount of each payment will fluctuate based on underlying investment performance. You assume the decision-making for the investments.
If you choose to invest in the variable investment products, your money will be subject to the risks inherent in investing in securities, including loss of principal.
Stay flexible

You can tailor your plan to suit your needs

Annuity strategies are not one-size-fits-all. Discover how taking income from annuities can be flexible to help meet your needs.
A closer look

Our Retirement Annuities

Learn more about the TIAA and CREF annuities that may be offered in your employer savings plan. Contact your institution to see which of these products are available in your plan. 
Annuity contracts and certificates are issued by Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA) and College Retirement Equities Fund (CREF). Each is solely responsible for its own financial condition and contractual obligations.

TIAA Traditional

Our flagship fixed annuity can provide lifetime income that has the potential for increases that may help offset inflation.2

Variable Annuities (including the CREF Accounts, TIAA Real Estate and TIAA Access Annuities)

Our variable annuities can help you plan for lifetime income with growth potential, with income that may vary based on the performance of the investment choices you select.
Next Steps

How TIAA can help

Learn more

Explore our Resources that provide more in-depth content on key retirement topics.

Give us a call

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Annuity contracts contain exclusions, limitations, reductions of benefits and may contain terms for keeping them in force. We can provide you with costs and complete details.
TIAA Traditional is a fixed annuity product issued through these contracts by Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA), 730 Third Avenue, New York, NY, 10017:  Form series 1000.24; G-1000.4 or G-1000.5/G1000.6 or G1000.7; 1200.8; G1250.1; IGRS-01-84-ACC and IGRS-02-ACC; IGRS-CERT2-84-ACC and IGRS-CERT3-ACC; IGRSP-01-84-ACC and IGRSP-02-ACC; IGRSP-CERT2-84-ACC and IGRSP-CERT3-ACC; 6008.8 and 6008.9-ACC; 1000.24-ATRA; 1280.2, 1280.4, or 1280.3 or 1280.5, or G1350. Not all contracts are available in all states or currently issued.
1 Bureau of Labor statistics??

2 Interest credited to TIAA Traditional Annuity accumulations includes a guaranteed rate, plus additional amounts as may be established on a year-by-year basis by the TIAA Board of Trustees. The additional amounts, when declared, remain in effect through the "declaration year," which begins each March 1 for accumulating annuities and January 1 for payout annuities. Additional amounts are not guaranteed for periods other than the period for which they are declared.
This material is for informational or educational purposes only and does not constitute investment advice under ERISA. 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.