Meet the TIAA Difference Maker 100 being honored for their work in their communities
“I want to focus on the things that I'm actually interested in."
Kurt Ahrens | Biology professor | 46 years old
Participant since 2014
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.”
How has TIAA helped you?
Kurt has been saving for about a decade in 529 college plans managed by TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc.
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
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.