I’ve managed to swing one month of actual wages this year (my salary is usually all a stipend/fellowship), which means I can put some money in an IRA! I have an existing IRA with Vanguard, but the 1 month job will also let me put money directly into an IRA at TIAA Cref. I won’t quite make enough to hit the yearly max, even pre-tax, and there’s no matching. I’m leaning Vanguard – do you have any suggestions?
Disclaimer: We are not professional anything except academics– do your own research and/or consult actual professionals before making important monetary decisions.
You are correct to prefer Vanguard.
Vanguard has better fees for IRAs than does TIAA-Cref. Vanguard is pretty nice to work with. You already have an existing IRA with Vanguard, so you’ve already done the hard part of getting it set up.
The nice thing about TIAA-Cref is that they will send a person to hold your hand if you need help with something. But this is just a basic IRA and you’ve already got one. The TIAA-Cref option is better for people who just aren’t going to get an IRA unless they get help from someone in person. Which isn’t you.
Finally, depending on how much money you have invested and how you have it invested (we presume low cost broad-based index funds), Vanguard has even lower fees for its admiral funds. If putting more money in allows you to hit the threshold, then you’ll be paying an even smaller percentage in fees than you were before.
So… I don’t see any downside for keeping with Vanguard or any upside for putting an IRA into TIAA-Cref.