Retirement Savings and Benefits
Questions and comments about IRAs, 401k accounts, social security, and other forms of retirement savings and benefits.
403b can it be rolled into traditional IRA
Posted by: jannie, October 25, 2017 07:05PM
Been dealing with TIAA (403b) been told different things at different times.
Wanted to do Charitable distribution - but understand can't with 403b.
Told by one of the reps. few months ago -- he'd (rollover) my CREF (stock portion) into the Traditional IRA I opened for that purpose. Nothing happened.
Today's rep. says - can't roll that into a Traditional IRA from the 403b -- it's the stock portion and not the portion not the TIAA (that's required to be set up as an annunity).

Now - Have no idea of the real story. Not employed, am required to take the RMD. trying not to have tax consequences. So am I missing something about the 403b stuff?

Re: 403b can it be rolled into traditional IRA
Posted by: wanttoknow, October 28, 2017 07:34PM

I am not a retirement account expert, but have TIAA-CREF accounts, and several years ago did many rollovers from my 403(b) into IRAs, and made a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) from one of them.

My understanding is that you want to rollover your TIAA-CREF 403(b) (or part of it) into an IRA so that you can make a qualified charitable distribution (QCD). Is that right?

If so, is your reason for making the QCD to avoid the tax consequences of the RMD?

Re: 403b can it be rolled into traditional IRA
Posted by: Spirit Rider, October 28, 2017 09:14PM
Are you >= 59 1/2? Are you still employed?

IRS regulations prohibit the distribution/rollover of employee deferrals < 59 1/2, except for hardship distributions.

IRS regulations do allow the in-service distribution/rollover of all employee and vested employer contribution >= age 59 1/2.

However, there is an occasional plan that does not allow distributions/rollovers prior to retirement or when RMDs are required.

I believe they are required to allow a withdrawal/rollover anytime after separation. They may restriction the manner in which those distributions occur. Especially in a 403b, there can be contract restrictions, but I would think those only result in fees, not restrictions against withdrawal.

Re: 403b can it be rolled into traditional IRA
Posted by: jannie, October 28, 2017 10:24PM
thank you both, yes, I wish to avoid the taxes & at the same time give to charity. and yes over 59 1/2. Appreciate the prior experience with TIAA/CREF - When I tried to "rollover the portion that was liquid to a traditional IRA - the representative said that would work. He would do it. I opened the traditional IRA account with them. But, now I realize nothing was ever done.

The representative I spoke to now says I can't do it.

I will try TIAA again and this time just state I'm doing a rollover from the liquid portion of 403b and not mention anything about the QCD.

Re: 403b can it be rolled into traditional IRA
Posted by: Alan S., October 28, 2017 11:28PM
Good idea. I suppose there is a remote possibility that TIIA does not offer QCD distributions from their IRAs. You might call again and talk to their IRA Dept to confirm that you can do the QCD from the IRA once the IRA is funded.

If so, then call back on the 403b and request the direct rollover.

If not, you will have to open an IRA with a different custodian in order to do a QCD from that IRA. Either that or since you can aggregate your IRA RMDs and if you have another non TIIA TIRA account you could take the total RMD from the other non TIIA IRA including the QCDs you want to make.

But more than likely, the rep you talked to thought you wanted to do the QCD from the 403b RMD, and that is why the rep said no.

Re: 403b can it be rolled into traditional IRA
Posted by: wanttoknow, October 29, 2017 03:46AM

On their website, TIAA-CREF has a “Universal Individual Retirement Account Information Kit” which says that QCDs are available. Via the link below, scroll down to page 9.


QCDs are available only to those 70 1/2 years old or older.

Also, I found on the TIAA-CREF website a form for making a QCD, but I cannot provide a link to it because it’s automatically filled in with my personal information. You have to be logged in to your account to get to it. I have tried to re-create how to get to this form so I could tell you how to find it, but have not been successful. The website doesn’t work very well for me. A telephone rep should be able to help you find it.

If a TIAA rep again says you can’t roll over the liquid part from the 403(b) to an IRA, ask him/her why.

Re: 403b can it be rolled into traditional IRA
Posted by: jannie, October 30, 2017 03:27PM
Thank you both - I will say my dealings with TIAA have not been satisfactory... I've gotten different stories from each rep. If I am able to do a direct rollover I'd be tempted to put it into a different IRA account - but after everything I think if I can do it -- it'll be safer to go direct to their traditional IRA and just get it over with.
Thanks for your help I think I can finally get it straightened out. Next year will then be so much easier!

Re: 403b can it be rolled into traditional IRA
Posted by: Clemrick, November 12, 2017 10:20PM
Just keep calling back. I have had a lot of problems with TIAA/CREF. They seem to have several divisions and they don't talk to each other.

The IRA division is separate from the 403b division. Or at least that was the explanation I kept getting. First, get your money into an IRA - you will be dealing with the 403b people. Then you can talk to the IRA people about the QCD. If you talk to someone who says s/he can do it all, they are ...mistaken?? :)

Re: 403b can it be rolled into traditional IRA
Posted by: jannie, November 13, 2017 01:59PM
Yes, I've been really disappointed in my contacts with TIAA/CREF. My 403b has various "plans" because of different employments (which I understand & they have different rules). The last person I spoke to could do the one rollover via phone - fine - though he said it would be sold and then bought in order to be rolled over into the traditional IRA. I stated I thought it was strange, but stated there's no tax consequences & he stated no taxes.

The other plans required signatures from me & forms returned. No envelope provided... Oh well, I sent them back, but with a letter and my understanding of rolling over into a traditional IRA -- I've decided a letter of understanding is the way to go. Dealing with this company has been such a mess. Each representative seems to have different information. Or no information. I've learned I have to keep an eye on them.

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