Customer Stories

“I want to focus on the things that I'm actually interested in."

Kurt Ahrens | Biology professor | 46 years old
Participant since 2014

Get to know Kurt Ahrens

Kurt views each day as a learning opportunity

What would you say your passion is?

“I am most passionate about learning and, as a consequence, I really love to travel, explore different places and try new things.”

How does it relate to what you do for a living?

“I am a scientist and an educator, both of which connect directly to my interest in learning new things, understanding complex issues and sharing my knowledge with my students and my children.”

How has having children affected your work, life and financial planning?

“Raising children is a wonderful experience, but it is also a serious financial commitment. The single greatest concern we had was the likely expense of college for our children. Anticipating the cost of college is challenging because there are quite a few variables, and this process was one where financial planning advice was most helpful. I want to focus on the things that I'm actually interested in, and I'd like the money that I set aside to grow, and I'll leave that to the money managers.”

What does successful financial planning mean to you?

“Given the resources you have (current savings and income) and your financial obligations (present and future), financial planning should show you where you are headed and how to change your saving and spending behavior in order to most likely achieve your financial goals—whether those be retirement, paying for college or taking a trip around the world.”
Working Together

How has TIAA helped you?

College savings

Kurt has been saving for about a decade in 529 college plans managed by TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc.

Retirement savings

His new job has allowed him to start saving in a TIAA employer sponsored retirement plan.


He’s investing in funds that target specific years and adjust automatically, like lifecycle funds and age-based funds
College Planning

Coming up with a realistic goal for college

Kurt and his wife wanted to make sure they were saving enough for their son Rory’s college education, so they sat down, asked important questions, and made a plan.
TIAA manages 9 low-cost 529 college savings plan programs. Our dedicated Education Savings Specialists can help you choose a plan that works best for you.
Kurt's Inspirations

“When my wife and I retire, we should be able to live a lifestyle similar to our current one, but with more free time and less responsibility.”

Discover more


Planning for retirement

No matter how you envision retirement, we can help.

529 college savings plans

Help your children pursue their academic passions.
Why TiAA

Responsible investment

The smart thing to do can also be the right thing to do.

Do you need life insurance?

Find out what the options are for helping to secure your family’s future.

This article/story describes the circumstances and experiences of a specific participant from one or more of the companies in the TIAA organization (“TIAA”). It may not be representative of the experience of other TIAA customers and is not indicative of future performance or success. Individual results and experiences will vary.