TIAA CEO Thasunda Brown Duckett Talks Having a Strategic Retirement Plan After Her Father Missed Out on Savings

TIAA CEO Thasunda Brown Duckett Talks Having a Strategic Retirement Plan After Her Father Missed Out on Savings

The head of a leading financial services provider encourages people to have a strategic investment plan to avoid losing out on the full benefits of retirement earnings.

Thasunda Brown Duckett, CEO of the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA), provides investment and insurance services for employees in education, medicine, culture, and research. Working at the organization led her to realize that her father lost out on years of retirement savings.

Duckett stepped into the role as CEO at TIAA in 2021 and is reportedly one of two Black women CEOs of a Fortune 500 company. Duckett’s father, Otis Brown, missed out on years of benefits in retirement as a result of never taking part in any further retirement planning beyond his pension investment.

“The information his company was providing [about retirement benefits] didn’t connect with a man in the warehouse,” Duckett told Fortune during the Fortune Most Powerful Women Conference.

The Economic Innovation Group (EIG) found that 41% of Black American families had retirement savings, as compared to 68% of white counterparts. She stressed the importance of having a robust investment portfolio, as studies found a high number of Americans risk running out of retirement money because they aren’t diversifying their retirement investments.

“The Fed has been very clear,” Duckett said.

“It wants inflation down to 2 percent; currently it’s at 8.3 percent. A recession is looking likely. The question is, ‘How long and how hard?’ We don’t know.”

According to a recent interview with Barron’s, the retirement expert shared that Millennials and Gen Z should prepare for a shift in wealth as a result of the start of one of the greatest transfers of intergenerational wealth that is likely to take place within the next five years. However, they also need to prepare to face new headwinds when it comes to retirement savings.

“Compared with their parents and grandparents, younger generations have fewer options to save for retirement,” she said.

“Older workers may have had access to employer-sponsored, defined benefits (DB) or pension plans which helped set them up for financial success and provided greater access to lifetime income options. Today, few employers offer these types of plans, opting instead for defined contribution (DC) plans, if they’re offering a retirement plan at all. In fact, one-third of Americans today say they don’t have access at all to an employer-sponsored retirement plan.”