Frequently Asked Questions - Retirement Updates

New FAQ's added 5/8/2018

Log on to TIAA micro site at www.tiaa.org/cmich using the Log in link rather than the READY TO ENROLL or call 800-842-2252, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. (ET), Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (ET) to speak with a representative.  Refer to these instructions to set up your account and complete transactions.
Payroll contributions to the 403(b) supplemental tax deferral plan will automatically stop when your Fidelity assets are transferred to your new retirement account.  The last Fidelity contributions will occur on the following pay dates.  
  • May 15, 2018 for semi-monthly payroll
  • May 17, 2018 for bi-weekly payroll
To continue and/or update your contributions to your 403(b) supplemental tax deferral plan, you must return a new Salary Reduction Agreement form to the CMU Benefits & Wellness office.  Your contributions will begin on the next available pay date or a future-dated pay date specified on the SRA form.

Note: 403(b) basic retirement plan contributions will be automatically updated to ensure the full university contribution percent is sent to TIAA.  No action is required.
Any investment option that includes the word "fund" or the combined prefix "TIAA-CREF" in its title is a mutual fund. Any investment option that has a prefix of "TIAA" or "CREF" is an annuity. Investments with the prefix "CREF" are generally variable annuities. 

The legacy contracts include the following TIAA annuities:
  • TIAA Traditional
  • CREF Money Market R2 (QCMMPX)
  • CREF Bond Market R2 (QCBMPX)
  • CREF Inflation-Linked Bond R2 (QCILPX)
  • CREF Social Choice R2 (QCSCPX)
  • TIAA Real Estate Account (QREARX)
  • CREF Equity Index R2 (QCEQPX)
  • CREF Global Equities R2 (QCGLPX)
  • CREF Growth R2 (QCGRPX)
  • CREF Stock R2 (QCSTPX)
No. Only the mutual funds will be automatically moved to the "new" RC contract. Any annuities will remain in the "legacy" contracts unless the employee requests they be moved to the "new" contract by calling TIAA at 800-842-2776, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (ET).
There will be no changes to existing loan agreements; and loans on the 403b Supplemental Tax Deferral plan will continue to be offered through TIAA. However, starting in May 2018, loans will be structured as retirement plan loans against a participant's account and will not require additional collateral. For more information on these new retirement plan loans and fees, please contact TIAA at 800-842-2776, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (ET).

End of New FAQ's added 5/8/2018


Original FAQ's below

The university sponsors the 403(b) Basic Retirement Plan, 403(b) Supplemental Tax Deferral Plan and 457(b) Public Deferred Compensation Plan (referred to as Retirement Program). The university is making enhancements to these plans to better help employees save for retirement.
  • Simplified investing: TIAA will become the single administrative service provider (also referred to as record-keeper) to simplify the investment process.
  • What is a record-keeper? A record-keeper is essentially the bookkeeper for the retirement plan. The job of the record-keeper is to maintain records for plan participants, process account transactions, track participation and investments, and other administrative duties related to tracking participant's assets.
  • Streamlined, best-in-class investment options: The Retirement Program currently offers more than 200 investment options. A new, streamlined menu of investment funds has been carefully selected to give employees the opportunity to choose a mix of investments based on their financial goals and preferences. Investment options will be continuously reviewed on a periodic basis. Mutual funds and annuities will be offered from well-known companies such as Vanguard, J.P Morgan, T. Rowe Price, PIMCO, TIAA and American Funds, among others.
  • 3-Tier decision-making structure: Employees will be provided with a broad range of distinctive investment options, but not so many that, when faced with choices, they will have a difficult time structuring an investment portfolio. Investment funds will be offered to satisfy three different approaches to investment decision-making. Investment options will be categorized in a manner that guides participants through the investment decision-making process. Participants can choose from any or all the following tiers of investment options:
  • New self-directed brokerage option: For employees who seek sole responsibility or who are interested in options not available in the new investment menu, the Self-Directed Brokerage Option (SDBO) will provide the opportunity to build and adjust an investment portfolio based on individual goals. These funds will not be monitored by CMU, so employees will be responsible for reviewing the performance of these funds to ensure they continue to align with their investment strategy.
  • New group contracts will be issued: A new "Retirement Choice" contract will automatically be created which will hold both new contributions and any existing balances invested in mutual funds.
  • Fee Transparency: Currently fees and expenses are bundled and it can be difficult to determine true costs of an investment. With the Retirement Program enhancements, fees will be transparent. Employees will see fees clearly listed on each quarterly statement.

Note: The design of the plan will not change. Contribution rates, eligibility requirements and all other aspects of the Retirement Program will remain the same.


With the new retirement plan enhancements, you will have:
  • A new investment menu with best-in-class mutual fund and annuity options
  • Simplification of investment selections
  • Opportunity for reduced fees for some investments
  • Self-directed Brokerage Services option
  • One phone number for plan inquiries and assistance
  • One website, www.tiaa.org/cmich, to manage your retirement plan investments
  • Access to all account balance totals, the new investment menu, plan highlights, tools and resources in one convenient place
  • Continued availability of independent investment advisory services through StraightLine
The changes make it easier for the university and the CMU retirement investment advisory committee entrusted to manage the Retirement Program to monitor plan fees and investment performance and make changes to the investment menu. It also helps streamline fiduciary, compliance and plan reporting functions.
These updates apply to the three plans in the Retirement Program sponsored by Central Michigan University. These include the 403(b) Basic Retirement Plan, 403(b) Supplemental Tax Deferral Plan and 457(b) Public Deferred Compensation Plan.

They do not impact the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement Systems (MPSERS) defined benefit plan.

The implementation of these updates will provide an opportunity for, and encourage, employees to re-engage in their retirement planning and to take a fresh look at their savings rate and investment choices.
Recent changes in the legal and regulatory environment have given the university the opportunity to review the current investment options. A comprehensive review of the current plan found the number of options offered through the Retirement Program are so large that it made it increasingly difficult to provide the necessary oversight. More importantly, the number of options put an undue burden on the ability of many employees to make sound investment decisions. The enhancements are designed to:
  • Simplify the investment decision-making process by providing a menu of fewer, carefully selected investment options;
  • Provide access through a brokerage window, for those who desire more investment responsibility, to self-select investment options not available on the core investment menu;
  • Shed more light on administrative and investment management fees;
  • Offer lower costs to employees, which can lead to improved retirement savings in their accounts;
  • Capitalize on trends and changes in the retirement service industry; and
  • Simplify administrative functions and participant experience.
In 2015 the CMU Retirement Investment Advisory Committee (RIAC) was established to enhance the university's fiduciary responsibility for the Retirement Program. The five committee members were appointed by President Ross and include faculty and administrative employees. The university and committee entrusted SHA Retirement Group, an unbiased, independent consultant, to evaluate the Retirement Program's administrative service providers (also known as record-keepers) and the investments. The university and committee used SHA's analysis, measurement tools and recommendations to help determine which enhancements should be made to the Retirement Program.
In selecting funds to recommend for the core investment menu, the RIAC (advised by SHA Retirement Group) considered the following:
  • SHA Retirement Group's fund research and analyses, based on such factors as investment style, expenses, experience, fund performance, diversification, manager skill, efficiency and risk.
  • The RIAC identified a broad range of asset classes (20 in total) designed to provide significant diversification for the core investment menu.
  • The RIAC identified existing fund types with significant accumulations to ensure that the majority of employees' interests would be represented on the core investment menu.
  • Other funds, including both actively managed and passive (indexed) funds, were included based on analyses of available funds recommended by SHA Retirement Group and RIAC members within the selected asset classes.
  • Fundamentally, the RIAC recommended a core investment menu that best meets the needs of the employee population as a whole. It is not possible in the current regulatory environment to both provide for each employee's personal investment preferences and to address the plan's fiduciary responsibilities.
Yes. Although a small number of TIAA annuities are ultimately included in the new investment menu, the CMU retirement investment advisory committee looked to the much larger universe of mutual funds from which to select a lineup comprised of high quality and competitively priced funds. SHA Retirement Group, CMU's unbiased, independent consultant, assisted the committee in the analysis and selection of the new fund menu based on fees, historical performance, and other factors. The committee was not limited only to the funds of the record-keeper.
Yes and no. The new core investment menu will have a limited number of diverse investment funds that will be monitored by the CMU Retirement Investment Advisory Committee for their continued viability and integrity. However, there will also be a self-directed brokerage option that will give employees access to a universe of thousands of mutual funds from hundreds of mutual fund companies. This feature will appeal to those employees who want the flexibility to invest in, and responsibility to continually monitor, funds not available on the core investment menu.

The core investment menu will be selected in an "open investment architecture" environment. In the future, when it becomes necessary to make a change to the core investment menu, open architecture means the university is able to choose among "best in class" funds from the entire universe of funds- not just those provided by the administrative service provider (also known as the record-keeper), TIAA.
Investment funds will be offered to satisfy three different approaches to investment decision-making. Investment options will be categorized in a manner that guides employees through the investment decision-making process. Employees first select a path that is appropriate for them given their:
  • Investment knowledge
  • Time for managing their own investment portfolios
  • Tolerance for risk
Investment options are then tailored to meet employees' needs. For example, an investor who lacks the time for managing their own investment portfolios or a novice investor who is uncomfortable making asset allocation decisions and selecting funds, may select a fund comprised of a pre-mixed asset allocation.

Referred to as Tier 1, participants choose from "Target date" funds that are professionally managed to invest according to the employee's anticipated retirement date. The communication materials will assist the employee in selecting the appropriate Target-date fund based primarily on their time horizon to retirement and/or risk tolerance.

Tier 2 participants who prefer the option to select specific funds "a la carte" from the plan's core fund menu, build an investment portfolio to meet their specific investment objectives. By limiting the number of funds available to employees in the core investment menu, the CMU Retirement Investment Advisory Committee will be better able to monitor the funds to ensure their continued viability and integrity, increasing the likelihood that employees will earn better long-term performance.

Tier 3 participants prefer the option to access a Self-Directed Brokerage Option (SDBO), which provides access to a universe of thousands of mutual funds from hundreds of mutual fund companies. This feature will appeal to employees who want the flexibility to invest in, and responsibility to monitor, funds not available on the plan's core fund menu.

Employees may decide to select funds from any or all of the tiers, though it is hoped the tiered approach guides employees toward investments that best meet their needs.
Yes. CMU recognizes that not all employees are the same. Although the majority of our employees will benefit from implementing a best practice approach that provides an investment line-up with appropriate oversight, the university also recognizes that some employees may still want access to a much larger selection of investment options. For those participants who do not believe they need the oversight provided under the plan, a self-directed brokerage account option will be available, providing access to additional mutual funds. Funds accessed through the brokerage window will not be under the fiduciary oversight of the university; and will not be monitored by the CMU retirement investment advisory committee.
In addition to investing in the funds on the new investment menu, you can choose to open a self-directed brokerage account. Through a brokerage account, you can invest in thousands of mutual funds from a broad range of fund families, including Fidelity and TIAA. The extensive menu of funds has a wide range of investment objectives and risks. Note that the funds offered through the brokerage accounts are not monitored by the university.

Opening a brokerage account will allow you to remain invested, or re-invested in most of the funds that are no longer included in the university’s core fund menu. A  brochure has been designed to walk you through the process.
After recommending a core investment menu, the RIAC recognized the necessity to further simplify the decision-making process for employees and plan administration, and improve employee experience by selecting a single administrative service provider (also known as record-keeper).

A fortune 100 financial service organization, TIAA, formerly TIAA-CREF, has been helping those who serve others achieve financial well-being for nearly 100 years and has been a university partner since 1968. Consolidating to one provider will allow employees and their beneficiaries to view all account balances in one place and to take advantage of online tools and resources. Additionally, consolidating improves administrative oversight and evaluation of fund performance and expenses. TIAA is committed to making the process of managing employees' money less complicated and making it simpler to do business with TIAA, starting with a simplified web experience.
No. The new core investment menu will offer investments from leading fund families and give employees the opportunity to choose a mix of investments based on their financial goals and preferences. Several of the investment options will have reduced fees. The new fund options will be outlined in the transition guide that will be mailed to employees in March.
Beginning in April 2018, the new fund lineup will be available to employees and they will have the opportunity to move their existing balances and future contributions into the new fund menu. If no action is taken during the 30-day Investment Election Period, mutual fund balances and future contributions will automatically be transferred to an American Funds age-appropriate target-date fund on the new investment menu. Details will be included in the transition guide. For TIAA annuity options, existing balances will continue as in place today. These investment options will be closed to future contributions and transfers-in. Existing balances in these options will not transfer automatically. Balances will remain in these accounts until employees choose to move them, which may be done at any time. It is important to note that some investments in the TIAA Traditional account may have withdrawal restrictions.
Beginning in April 2018, the new fund lineup will be available to employees and they will have the opportunity to move their existing balances and future contributions into the new investment menu. If no action is taken during the 30-day Investment Election Period, current balances and future contributions will automatically be transferred to an American Funds age-appropriate target-date fund on the TIAA recordkeeping platform. Details will be included in the transition guide.
Your payroll deductions will automatically stop when your Fidelity assets are transferred to your new retirement account. To continue your contributions, you must return a new Salary Reduction Agreement form to the CMU Benefits & Wellness office.
This temporary blackout period is necessary to allow Fidelity to clear any outstanding financial transactions before the transfer of assets to TIAA occurs. The blackout period also allows TIAA to test the data received from Fidelity to ensure that all account transfers take place accurately and smoothly. During a blackout period, financial transactions, such as distributions and investment changes, are not allowed. Once the blackout period is over, you will be able to manage your investments using the new investment menu. Please note that this blackout period is only applicable if you have an account with Fidelity.
Yes. Employees can open a self-directed brokerage account and choose from more than thousands of investment choices - including Fidelity and TIAA funds not offered on the new investment menu.
The timeline below highlights education and information sessions scheduled for the coming months.
  • April - May 2018 | Informational workshops and one-on-one individual advice sessions will be held. These events will help employees understand the updates and the action steps they need to take.
  • Additional resources will also be available: CMU Retirement Program Enhancements webpage and TIAA portal (www.tiaa.org/cmich).
  • April - May 2018 | 30-day Investment Election Period: TIAA will officially roll out the new investment menu and platform. Employees will be strongly encouraged to make new investment elections for their current balance and future contributions. For employees who do not provide new investment elections, existing balances and contributions beginning May 2018 will be invested in an age-appropriate target-date retirement fund. However, after the transition, employees may continue to change their investment elections at any time.
If you’re currently invested only with TIAA, your existing beneficiary designation(s) will automatically transfer to your new contract(s). If you invest with TIAA and Fidelity, your current TIAA beneficiary information will apply to your new TIAA contract(s). If you’re currently invested only with Fidelity, your beneficiary designation will be set to “Estate” unless and until you contact TIAA to change it. Regardless of your current investments, once you’re enrolled in the new contract(s), you’ll want to review your beneficiary designation to make any necessary updates to ensure that your beneficiary designation is appropriate for you.
To help participants learn more about the new investment menu, there will be comprehensive education and communication in a variety of mediums to introduce all the benefits of the Retirement Program enhancements to employees as well as to provide further detail on the investment menu. For example, there will be numerous on-site workshops to provide education, as well as written communications. Information will also be available on the CMU Retirement Program Enhancement webpage Retirement Plan Enhancements or TIAA portal at www.TIAA.org/cmich. Internet tools will also be available to help employees review investment funds and plan enhancements.