4 How can you manage change?

Sherry Tucker,
Chief Financial Officer and President,
WellLife Network, Inc.

Our recent merger was a catalyst for us to look for ways to make our retirement plan a stronger benefit. In the process, we realized that we needed to streamline and simplify the four different plans in place across the two companies. The many regulations and compliance issues involved meant that a high degree of expertise in plan design was required. When we vetted different retirement plan providers, Mutual of America stood out: their team presented some solid ideas related to structuring the plan within the parameters of our funding.

One of the things that has been remarkable throughout our relationship with Mutual of America, which goes back to 1987, is their customer service — they have always gone above and beyond what we’ve experienced with other companies. When we needed to educate employees about the plan changes that were coming with the merger, the Mutual of America Regional Office team conducted meeting after meeting at each of our 50+ locations, making sure that our staff of 1,800 was well informed, understood the benefit and had their questions addressed. It was handled beautifully.

What came out very clearly in this process is that Mutual of America is an extremely strong partner. Out of their long experience working with nonprofits, they appreciate and respect the important work we do. They also appreciate our need to be very careful about how we allocate our resources. Mutual of America not only helped us give our employees an added benefit to help them save for their retirement, but also helped us ensure that the plan would be understood and well received so that our people know how much we value them.

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My job isn’t about completing a transaction; it’s about establishing a relationship with each employee at WellLife Network.

Sam Tejada,
Participant Account Representative,
Queens Regional Office,
Mutual of America

When an organization goes through changes, it creates some stress for everyone — those at the top are looking at costs, administrators wonder about systems integration, and the rank and file want to know their needs are being considered.

Each of our Regional Office representatives specializes in a specific area of support for a plan. As a Participant Account Representative, my job is to meet with employees on-site, wherever they work, whatever hours they’re available, to familiarize them with the plan provisions. When I do group meetings or work with people individually, I discuss the importance of saving for retirement and how the plan works and walk people through the steps they need to take to achieve financial security for their future.

Most folks don’t know how much income they’ll need in retirement or how much to save to get there. So I show them how to use our Retirement Income calculator so they can see an illustration and understand how much they’ll need in retirement and how much $10 in plan contributions today can grow in 10, 20 or 30 years. Then I show them the difference it would make down the road if they increased their contributions by a small amount every year. It’s simple, it’s graphic and it works.

Most people have to juggle multiple financial demands, so budgeting and managing debt can be a big concern. A lot of times, to save enough for retirement, they will need to make lasting changes in the way they manage their money. That’s not easy and not always fun. But I try to show them the benefit in terms of gaining some security in retirement.

I enjoy my work as a Participant Account Representative because I can help someone be better off in the future. Many folks, especially those at the lower end of the pay scale, are amazed that anyone would want to talk to them about their finances. They’re used to financial representatives ignoring them because they don’t have a huge amount of money to invest.

But that’s not how we think. No one here works on commission. My job isn’t about completing a transaction; it’s about establishing a relationship with each employee at each client. I want them to trust me. I want them to call me. I want to keep meeting with them from the time they start working until they retire, just so I can see that I made a difference.