Investment Companies and Funds

The University of Michigan partners with TIAA-CREF and Fidelity Investments to offer investment services for all retirement savings plan options. Please note: TIAA-CREF and Fidelity Investments are the only financial investment companies officially associated with the University of Michigan.

Contact TIAA-CREF and Fidelity Investments for these inquiries and services:

  • Questions/help choosing a fund

  • Account and income information

  • Brochures and booklets on services and financial planning

  • Change of address

  • Change your Personal Identification Number (PIN)

  • Divorce, Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)

  • Forms for cash withdrawal, rollovers, transfers, income options

  • Income and payment methods (lifetime annuity, cash out, interest)

  • Schedule individual counseling; register for workshops

  • Tax questions (withdrawal penalty, minimum distribution, federal withholding)

  • Transferring between funds and between TIAA-CREF and Fidelity

  • Verify or change beneficiary

Two Ways to Invest

1) Use the Default Investment Fund

When you enroll in the Basic Retirement Plan, 403(b) SRA or 457(b) the investment fund will automatically be a default to an age-appropriate Lifecycle Index Fund if you select TIAA-CREF and a Freedom Index Fund if you select Fidelity Investments. If you do not have a U.S. street mailing address, the default investment fund for TIAA-CREF will be CREF Money Market.

A TIAA-CREF Lifecycle Index Fund or Fidelity Investments Freedom Index Fund is a mutual fund that is a diversified portfolio of other mutual funds offered by that company; essentially a fund of other funds. This includes domestic and international stock funds, bond funds, and money market funds. Each Lifecycle Index or Freedom Index Fund automatically selects the allocation of stock, bond, and money market funds that are appropriate for a target retirement date of approximately age 65.

The Lifecycle Index and Freedom Index Funds gradually adjust over time to become more conservative by decreasing the underlying equity holdings and increasing the fixed income holdings as the fund’s target retirement date nears. The gradual shift into fixed income from equities provides the potential for growth while reduces volatility as the retirement date approaches.

TIAA-CREF Lifecycle Index and Fidelity Freedom Index Funds are actively managed; however, the underlying mutual funds within each portfolio are index mutual funds. An index fund is a passive investment strategy that aims to replicate the movements of a specific benchmark that are held constant, regardless of market conditions. Using underlying index funds are a lower cost option to meet your retirement savings goals.

Your date of birth will be included in the enrollment notice sent to your chosen investment company. This will determine the specific Lifecycle Index or Freedom Index Fund into which you will be enrolled.

Lifecycle Index and Freedom Index Funds provide a simple solution if you lack the time, confidence, or investment knowledge to create and manage a well-diversified portfolio. Each fund is professionally managed and provides you with a simple, single investment fund.

2) Create a Custom Portfolio

You can create your own custom-made portfolio by allocating your contributions among the various funds offered by TIAA-CREF and Fidelity to your own specifications. You may also select among the Vanguard funds offered through the TIAA-CREF and Fidelity record keeping platforms as well as use the brokerage link to access other mutual funds. You will receive a welcome packet after you have been enrolled with TIAA-CREF or Fidelity (or both) with information on the many investment choices available if you do not wish to stay in the default selection. You can also visit or


TIAA-CREF is the nationwide retirement and financial services system for people who work at more than 15,000 colleges, universities, independent schools, and other nonprofit education, hospital and health care, and research institutions throughout the United States. In fact, the University of Michigan was the first in the nation to offer TIAA in 1919.

TIAA has the highest rating for insurance financial strength from all four major rating agencies: Moody’s; SandP; Fitch; A.M. Best and received the highest ranking for trust in the financial services and insurance industries by The Harris Poll (2010).

Investment Choices

TIAA-CREF offers more than 40 fund choices, including mutual funds, and fixed and variable annuities. Domestic and international stock funds, bond funds, money market funds and real estate funds are available, along with a guaranteed fixed annuity and socially responsible funds. Several Vanguard funds are also available and a brokerage link is also available that allows you to select mutual funds outside the TIAA-CREF family.

TIAA-CREF Institutional Class Mutual Funds

All TIAA-CREF mutual funds available through the University of Michigan plans are offered under the Institutional share class. This is the share class with the lowest management fees and expenses TIAA-CREF offers. The Institutional share class charges 25 basis point (¼ of a percent) less in expenses than the Retirement share class that is typically offered through most employers. The lower fees mean more of your money remains in your account to work toward your financial future, and your retirement account balances have more earning potential.

CREF Variable Annuities

The CREF variable annuities offered under the U-M plans are at R3 class designation, which is the lowest cost share class available.


Local Office: 333 Maynard St., Suite 500 Ann Arbor, MI  48104  (734) 332-3500

Contact TIAA-CREF by phone

  • Telephone counseling: 1-800-842-2252 (8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. ET, Mon-Fri)

  • Schedule a personal counseling appointment: 1-800-732-8353 (8:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. ET, Mon-Fri)

Find TIAA-CREF online

A Special Note on TIAA Traditional

TIAA Traditional accumulations in the Retirement Annuity (RA) under the Basic Retirement Plan are not available for lump-sum or single-sum cash withdrawals, rollovers or direct transfers.  Withdrawals, rollovers, and direct transfers are available through the TIAA Transfer Payout Annuity, which makes payments over a nine-year and one day period (ten payments).

The Group Retirement Annuity (GRA) replaced the Retirement Annuity (RA) for most new enrollments in the Basic Retirement Plan beginning in May of 2008. TIAA Traditional accumulations in the Group Retirement Annuity under the Basic Retirement Plan are still subject to the nine-year Transfer Payout Annuity for transfers to Fidelity and other TIAA-CREF funds or annuities while you’re employed at the University of Michigan. However, lump-sum or single-sum withdrawals and rollovers of these lump-sum or single-sum withdrawals are available to former employees if taken no later than 120 days after termination of employment, subject to a 2.5% surrender charge. The lump-sum or single-sum withdrawal is not available beyond 120 days after termination of employment.

In addition, at any point after termination of employment, distributions from the TIAA Group Retirement Annuity are available through a fixed period annuity that can last from five to thirty years, based on your choice of time periods and depending on availability according to IRS rules and regulations and subject to the limits on cash withdrawals to former employees. Distributions made through the fixed period annuity are eligible for rollover if the payment received is for a period of less than 10 years, according to current IRS rules and regulations. 

View additional information regarding the TIAA Traditional Account

TIAA Traditional accumulations in the SRA and 457(b) are not subject to the Transfer Payout Annuity and may be cashed out, rolled over, or transferred in a single or lump sum.  For more information, contact TIAA-CREF at 1-800-842-2776.

About Fidelity Investments

Fidelity Investments was founded in 1946 by Edward C. Johnson II and today is the largest mutual fund company in the world. Fidelity is one of the nation’s top providers of 403(b) retirement savings plans for not-for-profit organizations, including colleges and universities, healthcare institutions, foundations, and charitable organizations. The University of Michigan added Fidelity Investments to its retirement plan in 1989.

Investment Choices

Fidelity Investments offers over 200 mutual funds, including domestic and international stock funds, bond funds, money market funds and real estate funds. In addition, the Select Portfolio Funds allow you to invest in highly specialized sectors of the economy. Several Vanguard funds are also available and a brokerage link is also available that allows you to select mutual funds outside the Fidelity family.

Fidelity Freedom Index Funds: Class W

The Fidelity Freedom Index Funds available through the University of Michigan plans are offered as Class W shares. Class W is the share class with the lowest management fees Fidelity offers for the Freedom Funds. The low fees mean that more of your money goes to purchasing investments and you keep a higher percentage of the potential returns generated, which can help you reach your retirement goals faster.

Fidelity Class K Funds

Twenty-nine Fidelity fund options are available through the institutional Class K shares. These include funds like Blue Chip Growth, Contrafund and Magellan, among others. These 29 funds have lower fees and expenses than their non-Class K counterparts but have the same investment strategy and risk.

Contact Fidelity

Local Office: 500 E. Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 100 Ann Arbor, MI 48108

Contact Fidelity by phone

  • 1-800-343-0860

Find Fidelity online

Vanguard Funds

Fourteen funds from the Vanguard family are available through the TIAA-CREF and Fidelity Investments record keeping platforms.  Since your account is with TIAA-CREF or Fidelity Investments (or both), you do not open a separate account with Vanguard.  Any customer service or other inquiries related to the Vanguard funds are also handled directly through TIAA-CREF or Fidelity.

  • Vanguard Prime Money Market Fund

  • Vanguard Inflation Protected Securities Fund

  • Vanguard Intermediate Term Treasury Fund

  • Vanguard Long Term Treasury Fund

  • Vanguard Short Term Treasury Fund

  • Vanguard Total Bond Market Index

  • Vanguard 500 Index Fund

  • Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund

  • Vanguard Emerging Markets Stock Index Fund

  • Vanguard  European Stock Index Fund

  • Vanguard Pacific Stock Index Fund

  • Vanguard Total International Stock Index

  • Vanguard Balanced Index Fund

  • Vanguard REIT Index Fund

How to Select Vanguard Funds

You choose the Vanguard funds through your account on-line through the TIAA-CREF or Fidelity secure websites or by calling their national call centers to make allocation changes or transfers assets. While you may select Vanguard through your TIAA-CREF or Fidelity accounts, any Vanguard funds you select will be record kept by TIAA-CREF or Fidelity Investments.  Your quarterly statements from TIAA-CREF or Fidelity will reflect any balances and transactions with the Vanguard funds as part of a consolidated statement.