Customer Stories

“Retirement means freedom to see more of the world.”

Brian Fisher | Professor and entomologist | 50 years old
Participant since 2012

Get to know Brian Fisher

Brian travels the world collecting and studying ants

“When I retire, I’ll still be a scientist.”

View From the Top

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Brian (V.O.): I grew up in the Midwest and from an early age I just wanted to be outside. I realized that science offered the best avenue for me to explore. And with my first trip to the tropics, I was impressed with the ants. And since then, I've been studying ants all over the world. In 2008 I met my wife and we started a family. Anna who's almost 5 years old and Pedro who's 10.

Brian: You ready?

Brian (V.O.): To be a scientist you have to travel a lot and we look at traveling as a great gift for the family in that we can bring our kids so they experience all these worlds.

Brian: They're the famous black ants.

Anna: 1, 2, 3, 4…

Brian (V.O): My kids think it's natural to be interested in science and that's really what I want to teach them is that it's okay to pursue a career where you enjoy it.

Brian: This entire collection represents my life work. 99% of these half a million ants are ants I collected. And I spent 28 years of working and mounting to prepare this collection.

Brian (V.O.): What I like about my job is that I get to be a kid forever and never lose that enthusiasm to go to a new mountain, a new rainforest, and to explore. When you see these beautiful places you can't help but want to protect them. And as a scientist I feel an obligation to help save these forests. There's a long term reason for living and it's our children. We need to think of them and preserve what is left.

Anna: Let's go!

Brian (V.O): My whole life has been about the next adventure, the next trip, the next discovery. And you forget that you have to plan for your future, and children all of sudden remind you of that.

Brian (V.O.): When I retire I'll still be a scientist, I'll be studying the same questions, I'll be exploring and teaching. So for me retirement is not being a sense of burden to my children and having the freedom to continue exploring the world which is what I love.

How do your finances fit into your life?

“Before having children, I never thought of retirement, and was simply amazed I was actually paid to pursue my passion. But now, retirement and its cousin, financial planning, are central to my goals to care for my family and have freedom during retirement.”

What does retirement look like to you?

“I hope to continue sharing my passion of exploration and science with my family. Retirement will be a chance to continue teaching, researching and travelling, and helping to train researchers from around the world.
“Being just over 50, I still have some time to prepare, but I wouldn’t know if I was on track unless I turned to TIAA. I rely on regular advice and support from TIAA to help ensure my planning evolves as I approach retirement.”

How has your experience been with TIAA?

“I don't have to navigate the complex issues surrounding financial planning. Each year, I rely on TIAA to refine my retirement allocations to ensure I am on target—targets that I set with their help.
“My entire retirement is in the hands of TIAA through my work's contribution plan. Their online service allows me to modify allocations, change beneficiaries and monitor progress to my goals. TIAA has helped me prepare for the day when I retire with the aim of continuing to pursue my passions.”
Working Together

How has TIAA helped you?

"I wouldn’t know if I was on track to retire unless I turned to TIAA. I rely on TIAA to ensure my planning evolves as I approach retirement.” – Brian Fisher


Brian works with TIAA financial consultants to adjust his investments to help him stay on track.


Brian’s two children will just be starting college when he retires so he’s working with TIAA to help make sure he’s saving enough for college.

On the phone

Brian contacts TIAA whenever he has questions about his finances and appreciates that “instantly they’re on the phone to help you.”
Financial Planning

Help for when your finances get more complex

When your finances get more complex, TIAA can help. Individual Advisory Services offers advice and support tailored to your specific situation by helping to create a plan and prepare for big goals like retirement, college, and leaving a legacy.
Brian's Inspirations

“Exploration and scientific discovery takes me around the world to uncover new species and protect their habitats.”

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Responsible investment

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529 college savings plans

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Individual Advisory Services

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Planning for retirement

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This article/story contains edited excerpts of an interview that describes the circumstances, opinions, and experiences of a specific participant from one or more of the companies in the TIAA organization (“TIAA”).  The circumstances, opinions, and experiences depicted may not be representative of the circumstances, opinions, and experiences of other TIAA customers and are not indicative of future performance or success.  Individual results and experiences will vary.
This material is for informational or educational purposes only and does not constitute a recommendation or investment advice in connection with a distribution, transfer or rollover, a purchase or sale of securities or other investment property, or the management of securities or other investments, including the development of an investment strategy or retention of an investment manager or advisor. This material does not take into account any specific objectives or circumstances of any particular investor, or suggest any specific course of action. Investment decisions should be made in consultation with an investor’s personal advisor based on the investor’s own objectives