Building a Strong Foundation

If there is one thing every young person should know about saving for future goals like retirement, it’s that getting an early start is one of the best ways to set yourself up for success. To understand how, meet Hope Morgan.

When Hope Morgan began her career at South Central Regional Medical Center 11 years ago, she immediately signed up for all the available benefit programs except one: her employer’s 403(b) plan.

“Retirement wasn’t on my mind at the time, not with rent, everyday bills and other expenses chipping away at my paycheck,” said Hope. “But the invitations to Mutual of America’s enrollment meetings kept coming, and eventually, I decided to go listen to what they had to say.”

What Hope learned that day completely shifted her mindset about saving for retirement. “Tina Robertson, our local Mutual of America Participant Account Representative, talked about how time can play a crucial role in the ultimate value of your savings and why the steps you take today can have a huge impact on your quality of life in the future. I decided to put time on my side; I enrolled in the hospital’s 403(b) savings plan that very day.”

Since then, Hope has consistently contributed to the plan, taking full advantage of her employer match and utilizing Mutual of America’s online resources to track her progress. “Mutual of America has a choice of tools and calculators on their website that can take you through the entire retirement journey. By using these, I can determine things like how much I need to save to retire comfortably and how an increase in my contributions will affect my paycheck.”

3 Quick TipsQuick Tips


  1. Don’t let “life” get in the way of your “someday.” Spend less than you make.

  2. Take full advantage of your retirement plan, and contribute at least enough to qualify for any matching contribution your employer may offer.

  3. If you’re already enrolled in your plan, bump up your contributions at least once a year or whenever you get a raise.

Hope also tracks her progress online to measure how she’s doing financially in reaching her long-term goals. “I go to the My Account section to check my account balance details, recent transactions and allocations. I especially like that I can see my personal rate of return and how contributions coming into my account impact my account balance in the funds. When I meet with Tina or one of her coworkers, we use that as a starting point for discussing whether I’m doing everything I can to maximize my plan.”

Hope credits having easy-to-understand account information as well as Mutual of America’s personal approach to participant education for helping her to become more confident in managing her retirement savings.

I know that by getting an early start, my money will have more time to grow for my future. And it all started the day I enrolled in my employer’s retirement plan.”

– Hope Morgan

“When I enrolled in the plan, I opted to direct my contributions to a very conservative investment option. Tina eventually took me through an investment questionnaire that helped me to focus on the right target-date fund for my goals, time frame and feelings about risk.

“With her help, I’ve become more comfortable with the idea that I have enough time to ride out typical downturns in the market on my road to retirement. I also know that by getting an early start, my money will have more time to grow for my future. And it all started the day I enrolled in my employer’s retirement plan.”