Loyal Alumni Say Thank You to Truman
A deep sense of gratitude, combined with a dedication to improve the lives of others, led Todd '89, '91 and Stefanie '89 Rohler of Grundy Center, Iowa, to make a significant estate gift commitment by naming the Truman State University Foundation as a beneficiary of their retirement plan assets.
"We want to enable other young students to have the quality education that we received at Truman. We would like to help them graduate as debt-free as possible, so that they can pursue whatever comes next without a heavy financial burden," Stefanie says. "We are pleased that Truman remains a leader in excellent, yet affordable, education. We want to help keep that tradition going strong."
Giving a gift of IRA assets was not only a generous decision on the part of Todd and Stefanie but also a strategic choice. Tax-deferred retirement assets, such as IRAs and 401(k) plans, are heavily taxed when left to heirs. With income taxes alone, the IRS could take up to 35 percent of the value. The tax implications are even greater for those estates that are subject to estate taxes.
By naming Truman as the beneficiary of their retirement assets, they are putting the full amount to philanthropic use. "Leaving a gift of retirement plan assets had several advantages for us. It allowed us to leave a significant gift without putting a strain on our short-term finances. It also allows our gift to the University to grow as our own retirement assets grow," Todd explains. "The paperwork involved to make that happen is minimal, and our financial planner had the necessary forms ready in a few minutes."
A Solid Foundation
Todd and Stefanie know firsthand the transformational power of a Truman education and the critical importance of providing financial support. Both displayed great promise for future success when applying for admission to the University's 1985 freshman class. This promise earned each of them scholarship awards that made Truman (then Northeast Missouri State University) financially accessible. "Stef was the first one in her family to go to college, and the financial help was a great relief to both her and her parents. That help for undergraduate school made it possible for both of us to pursue graduate degrees," Todd says.
After graduating in 1989, Todd enrolled in Truman's Master of Arts in Education program while Stefanie began work on her doctorate in optometry in St. Louis. The quality education they received at Truman helped launch Todd's career as a talented secondary school educator and Stefanie's career as a highly regarded optometrist and small business owner. "We both wanted to give that opportunity to someone else. We strongly believe that our gifts to others should be done joyfully in response to the blessings we have been given in our own lives," Stefanie says.
Imagining a Bright Future
Todd and Stefanie have chosen to designate their future gift to benefit the Truman Fund for Excellence. This unrestricted fund supports the areas of greatest need at Truman. "Stef has worked with our local hospital foundation board, and she knows that unrestricted gifts are the most useful," Todd says.
"Unrestricted gifts can be used for any purpose. Who can predict a future need? We trust that the leadership of the University will know best how to use the gift for the most urgent needs, or to benefit the most students. A restricted gift could mean that our money would not be available for a critical project. We wouldn't want that to happen. Besides, we liked so many aspects of Truman, it would have been hard to pick one specific area to designate!"