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  • Floral design and gift shop
  • Ypsilanti, Mich.
  • 21 employees

Norton's Flowers & Gifts finds saving sweet

As a 47-year veteran of the floral industry, Tim Galea has done it all. He started working as a "jumper" – a kid who would run flowers from the delivery van up to the houses, when he was fourteen. Later he worked as a driver, designer, and eventually became owner and CEO of Norton's Flowers and Gifts, a 123-year old business with locations in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, Michigan.

Tim knows what it's like to work hard all day, and he's recognized that saving money at work isn't always easy. In order to help his small business employees start thinking about retirement, he introduced his employees to myRA® from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, a simple, safe and affordable way to start saving for retirement.

"I was very excited about myRA," Tim said. "This is an opportunity for us for which I am very grateful – there are no downsides for us or our employees. There really are a lot of upsides with this program." In particular, myRA has no fees, no required minimum contributions and no risk of losing money. For their part, employers pay nothing and do not administer or contribute to employee accounts.

A portrait of Tim

"As a business owner, it was exciting to be one of the first in the nation to share myRA"

Tim Galea, CEO and owner

Arranging for savings

Cat Jensen, a 26-year-old sales associate at Norton's, has been working in the Ypsilanti store for almost two years and signed up for myRA as soon as she heard about it. Cat was intrigued by myRA's flexibility, which encouraged her to sign up.

"I have a lot of bills: car payments, student loans, utilities, rent, all that," Cat said. "It was hard to think about saving for the long-term before, but it's never too early to save for retirement. With myRA, the money is out-of-sight, out-of-mind, and I can just let it grow."

Employees like Cat can choose how much to contribute to accounts that will earn interest and grow risk-free, up to $15,000 or for 30 years, whichever comes first. They can then transfer or roll over their savings to a private-sector Roth IRA, where their savings can continue to grow. myRA is actually a Roth IRA, and shares the same annual contribution limits, withdrawal rules and tax advantages of that retirement plan.

"Like a lot of small businesses, we can't pay our entry-level positions a lot of money," Tim said. "The great thing about myRA is that I was able to tell employees that they could put away something as small as $2 or $5 per paycheck, and that it's always accessible. They'll realize how much it can grow and want to save more."

Delivering the message about myRA

In addition to posting materials from around the Norton's stores, Galea printed off informational packets and handed them to each one of his employees individually. He then held a meeting a few days later to walk through the materials and answer any questions his employees had.

Tom Stimpson, an 8-year Norton's employee, was the first to sign up for myRA after Galea's introduction. To him, automatically saving $50 per paycheck is a great way to save beyond his traditional savings account, and the enrollment process was fast and easy.

"I bought my first car by saving a chunk of money every week on my paper route," Tom said. "With myRA, I can do the same thing for retirement savings, and it's nice to know that my money is growing each time I get paid."

What others are saying about myRA

portrait of Wendell

myRA is a wonderful opportunity for a community of employees

-Wendell K.
Portrait of Audrey

I like the idea that someday I’d retire…

-Audrey G.
Last updated 11/02/2015