Customer Stories

“I’m working hard now to have choices later.”

Jonathan Harris | Resident coordinator | 25 years old
Participant since 2012

Get to know Jonathan Harris

Personal and professional information about Jonathan Harris

Jonathan wants to make sure he has options in the future


“I started saving young so the rest of my life can be set up for success.”

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Jonathan (V.O.): My parents have always been a big influence in my life. They always put an emphasis on education. I graduated my class Valedictorian and volunteering has always played a big role in my life. I've always been around people who have given without the expectation to receive. Now I'm a Residence Hall Coordinator where I get to give back to people in even a bigger scale.

Jonathan: How are you?

Passing Student: Hey, what's going on?

Jonathan (V.O.): I really love working with the students. I always tell them regardless of where you came from, you have a chance to make something better for yourself. I feel lucky that I get to help students find their path and be that support for them, so that's why I'm here.

Jonathan: Ladies and gentleman, and your winner is…

Jonathan (V.O.): Not only do I get to continue to give back and help students, but I was able to find a job where they take care of the living expenses. And so, I can work towards other things such as paying off student loan debt.

Jonathan: In 2015, would you all say that you've been smart with your money?

Jonathan (V.O.): I currently lead a student group called "Project Ignite" where we put on workshops for students about different aspects of life. We do a lot of work teaching them how to be financially sound.

Jonathan: Right now it's still more expenses than assets. So the goal is to get it to that green side.

Jonathan (V.O.): Helping people find their passions and find a direction is one of the reasons that I love this job. Being a role model is something I take very seriously, so I had to take a look in the mirror and say 'OK, you're a mentor, you're a coordinator of this program. How are you doing with finances?' And I begin to think about my own financial future.

Jonathan (V.O): I want to be a home owner and start a family one day, so I started saving young so that the rest of my life can be set up for success. TIAA has helped me work towards my financial goals, so whatever happens in the future I will still be prepared.

What would you say your passion is?

“My passion is helping people. I’m a residence hall coordinator, where my job is to live with students, help them with academic and personal concerns, and it’s all about giving back. You have to be someone of service to do this because the hours are very unconventional. The requests are very unconventional. You have to be ready at a moment’s notice.”

What does successful financial planning mean to you?

“Successful financial planning is freedom; it gives you the ability to have choices. I want to one day open my own business, and I also want to be a homeowner, but before I do that, I’m looking to pay off my student loans. With successful financial planning, I’ll be able to accomplish anything I put my mind to.”

How are you realizing your financial goals?

“My two current financial goals right now would be to pay off student loan debt, as well as to open my own business. I save [at least] 25% of my check every month, and try to live off of $200 a month by choice. Some of my friends are like, ‘I can’t believe it…what are you doing’. But, at 25 years old, you have to get it together now, because if you wait any longer, it could become a really bad habit.”

How has your experience been with TIAA?

“My experience with TIAA has been absolutely amazing. When I decided that I wanted to be more conscious about my finances and setting up for retirement, I called them and spoke with a financial consultant, and they were very patient. They understood that I was new to this and were willing to answer my questions, making me feel like this was something that was an easier process than it may seem.

"I wanted to [also] know how to get involved with [investing in the] stock market. They explained it to me and [I realized it’s] relatively simple. I’m actually going to call back soon, because I want to buy some mutual funds and want to know what they recommend.”
Working Together

How has TIAA helped you?

Managing his money

“TIAA has been very helpful. Whether it was a question over the phone or through an email, their answers were always timely, professional and customer friendly. I feel comfortable with them handling my money.”

Target date funds

Jonathan’s been learning more about investing and managing his money. He says, “I have the Lifecycle 2055 fund1 and it has been very helpful. I have learned more about investments through the user-friendly graphs [online].”
Investing Basics

Smart investing starts with a solid
grasp of the basics

Jonathan understands that saving now will open up financial opportunities for him later on. Find out how simple changes you make today can impact your future.

Understand investing

See how starting early and investing often can impact your growth potential.

Take control

Learn about different types of investments and how to use them.

Keep it automatic

Consider ways to trick yourself into saving more, like automatic withdrawals and increases.
Jonathan’s Inspirations

“I help students make positive educational, social and financial decisions.”

Discover more


Checking and savings

Manage your cash conveniently, along with your retirement savings.

Starting out

Manage your finances now while you prepare for the future.

Planning for retirement

No matter how you envision retirement, we can help.

Mutual funds

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¹ The principal value of a target date fund isn’t guaranteed.  The target date represents an approximate date when investors may plan to begin withdrawing from the fund.
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 and circumstances.