NEW YORK, NY — Today TIAA-CREF announced its Spanish-language initiative to increase U.S. Hispanics/Latinos’ access to retirement-planning information and tools, including a new Spanish-language website, tiaa-cref.org/espanol.

The new website is the latest TIAA-CREF offering in a broad range of in-language and in-culture capabilities to meet the specific needs of Spanish speakers. Others include:

—  Bilingual consultants in TIAA-CREF’s National Contact Center to handle
customer requests and an automated telephone system in Spanish for
account access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (800-842-2252, option 9
for Spanish).
—  Financial-education seminars for Spanish-speaking employees of higher
education and healthcare institutions, and
—  Personalized one-on-one retirement-planning consultations with
objective, non-commissioned advice(1) in Spanish.
In addition, TIAA-CREF conducts Hispanic-market research and sponsors a number of Hispanic/Latino organizations.

“TIAA-CREF is committed to helping the U.S. Hispanic/Latino community achieve their retirement goals,” said Romano Richetta, senior vice president of Participant Services, TIAA-CREF. “More than 3.7 million participants count on our objectivity and investment strategies that have withstood the test of time to help meet their financial needs. By talking about our disciplined approach to retirement savings in the language that is most comfortable to U.S. Hispanics/Latinos, we can help them build retirement security.”

TIAA-CREF’s new Spanish-language Website focuses on a retirement-planning relationship built on education, with emphasis on life stages such as “Starting Out,” “Mid-Career,” “Approaching Retirement” and “In Retirement.” It also features a glossary of financial terms, answers to frequently asked questions about retirement and examples of retirement-saving tips.

“We are very pleased that TIAA-CREF is listening to its participants and reaching out to different cultures to meet their retirement needs,” said Elaine Britt, director of Benefits at Rice University in Houston. “I’m impressed by the depth and breadth of the information on TIAA-CREF’s excellent new Spanish-language website. The site is very educational, hitting on a number of levels and steps toward retirement.”

Hispanics/Latinos see the need for retirement preparation, Richetta explained, but they participate less in workplace retirement plans and invest less money in plans than do other groups. Some believe they can rely on family, Social Security, real estate investment or savings accounts to see them through retirement.

An October 2009 report published by the Hispanic Institute and the Americans for Secure Retirement coalition found that only 25.6 percent of Hispanics are covered by employer-sponsored retirement plans, compared to 42.5 percent of non-Hispanic whites and 40 percent of African-Americans. When they reach retirement age, Hispanics often find that their savings do not stretch far enough; on average, Hispanics spend more than half of their retirement income (54.4 percent) on food and housing, while non-Hispanic white retirees spend just 11.4 percent of retirement income on these items, the report states.

“Hispanics often are not sure who to trust or where to go for retirement advice,” said Richetta. TIAA-CREF is the highest-ranked brand for trust in the financial services and insurance industries, as measured by the 2010 Harris Poll® EquiTrend® Study. “Our goal is to provide education and advice about long-term savings in the language and culture relevant to people who prefer to speak Spanish.”

TIAA-CREF, America’s largest private retirement system sponsors the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, the Association of Hispanic Healthcare Executives, the National Forum on Latino Healthcare Executives and the New York State Federation of Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, among other groups.