2 How does Mutual of America
support customers through retirement?

Judith Anderegg and David Pelto,

How do we get to travel all the time and do what we want now that we’re retired? Number one, we invested wisely; number two, when everybody else was using their pay raises to buy bigger homes, we took our pay raises and increased the amount of money we put into our Mutual of America products.

Our relationship with Mutual of America goes back 35 years, from our early days as teachers. Our local representative, Dennis Dudley, has taken a lot of time educating us, and he’s never pushed us to buy anything. We totally trust him. Some friends of ours have financial representatives who are always trying to convince them to buy into some pie-in-the-sky idea rather than saying, hey, let’s be realistic about how the markets actually work. Our Mutual of America representative provides us with the tools we need to plan for a secure retirement.

When Dennis suggested we speak with Zohreh about our retirement plans, we didn’t hesitate. Zohreh asked us for all our financial information, and out of that, she created a complete financial report and went over it with us page by page. She did a really clear job of explaining how we could do things better now that we’re retired. Every year, we review our plan with her and talk through any changes we’re considering  —  like setting aside savings for charitable giving.

Zohreh helps us to visualize our lives years down the road, and that has been just wonderful. It makes us feel very confident in the choices that we make about how to live now.


The way that David and Judith have achieved financial independence in retirement is a perfect example of the positive lessons we try to instill in individuals early in their careers.

Zohreh Ghaissari,
Vice President, Regional Financial Consultant,
Mutual of America

The way that David and Judith have achieved financial independence in retirement is a perfect example of the positive lessons we try to instill in individuals early in their careers. Being able to retire on your own terms isn’t necessarily about making a lot of money; it’s about learning how to manage it and being disciplined.

There’s a lot of anxiety around financing retirement today, a lot of unknowns. That anxiety is so much greater when people don’t have a clear idea of how all the pieces of their financial lives fit together and the impact that Social Security, taxes, health and family circumstances can have on their retirement savings.

The financial consulting services Mutual of America offers our customers are an extension of the education that our Regional Office representatives provide. I think it’s one of the most important services that any company can offer, for a lack of financial planning and knowledge about money in general are the reasons for the tough choices many people have to make in retirement.

I create a detailed financial report that gives people a complete view of what they have, what they will need to finance their retirement and whether their savings and investments are positioned appropriately given their age and long-term objectives. I then present different options they can choose to incorporate into their plan to reach their retirement goals. Every year, I help them revisit their plan to see if their assumptions remain in line with their objectives. I do that for customers for as long as they’re with Mutual of America, all the way through retirement. And they don’t have to wait until it’s time for their annual review to call me with questions.

Since financial consulting services are provided at no additional charge, clients want to know how I am paid. It’s reassuring for them to learn that I am paid a salary that isn’t dependent on them buying anything from me. That’s what sold me on Mutual of America — that, and the positive change I can make in our customers’ lives