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Back to News & Media Charlea and Bernard

Salon workers learn about myRA® from a savings mentor

Surprising options

Charlea Primus started working at Visions Hair Salon in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, when she was 21. As both a young professional just starting out in her career and the mother of a young child, Charlea's focus was on immediate needs, such as finding a place to live and arranging transportation to and from work. She wasn’t thinking about putting money away for the future.

Soon, however, Charlea discovered that Visions owner Bernard Grant had a personal mission to help his employees get smart about their finances. Within Charlea's first few weeks of employment at Visions, Bernard encouraged her to start building a nest egg by opening a myRA, a retirement savings account developed by the U.S. Treasury.

"I was excited to hear about myRA, because I thought I'd never have this opportunity working in a hair salon," Charlea says.

A portrait of Bernard Grant, owner of Visions Hair Salon

"Saving and accumulating is such a foreign concept to people."

- Bernard Grant, owner of Visions Hair Salon

A savings mentor

Bernard's personal interest in saving began at the age of 12, when he joined a Christmas savings club that encouraged him to put away $1 each week and then returned the savings with interest at the end of the year. "To get a check in the mail with your name on it for $55 was wonderful," he says.

Bernard quickly learned the value of paying himself first, and discovered that even a small amount of money adds up over time.

Later, Bernard continued saving while in the military. His experiences instilled in him the value of financial discipline, and the desire to encourage others to do the same.

Various factors prevent Bernard from offering a retirement plan to the staff at Visions Hair Salon. As a flexible starter savings option with no minimum contribution requirements, no fees, and no risk of losing money, myRA is a great fit for both Bernard and his employees. In just over a year, Bernard has helped more than a dozen people -- both employees and customers -- open myRA accounts.

“Saving and accumulating is such a foreign concept to people,” he says. “I’m excited about myRA because people can save a little bit at a time, and hopefully build a habit.”

A portrait of Charlea Primus, manager and stylist at Visions Hair Salon

"I never thought I'd be where I am today. I feel very responsible."

- Charlea Primus, manager and stylist at Visions Hair Salon

Taking charge

Charlea has now been saving with myRA for nearly a year and is excited to watch her balance grow. She adds to her savings through direct deposits from her paycheck, and is proud that she’s taking charge of her financial future.

By allowing her to deposit as much or as little as she wants, myRA offers Charlea the freedom to increase her rate of savings as she advances in her career. “I like that I can save as much as I want into myRA and increase it as I want,” she says.

She already plans to increase her savings from $25 each paycheck to $50, and hopes to eventually transfer her myRA savings into a private sector account.

After obtaining her cosmetology license and working at Visions for six months, Charlea purchased a car and rented an apartment. Now, four years later, she’s in a position to prepare for her long-term financial future. Thanks to Bernard’s passion for educating his employees about personal finance, she’s already taken the first steps with myRA.

“Don’t give up,” Charlea advises those who think saving isn’t possible. “I never thought I’d be where I am today. I feel very responsible.”

Last updated 02/14/2017