November 2012

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Page 37 of 99

work up the ladder What's in her Wallet? Sponem opens up about her money strategies and how she saves and spends (yes, always in that order) How I save: The very first thing I do when I get paid is save. Before I have access to my pay, I have money auto- matically deposited into my retirement savings. WINNER READERS' CHOICE FINANCIAL ADVISOR Money Matters By Kelsey Bewick If you ask Kim Sponem, president and CEO of Summit Credit Union, she'll tell you there's more to her role than helping customers keep an eye on their bottom line. Through pro- grams that offer clients a chance to tackle their biggest financial hurdles—from never-end- ing debt to stagnant savings—Summit has become a go-to resource for building healthier financial lives, one goal at a time. Tell us about the programs Summit Credit Union offers to boost financial well-being. Project Money is a contest to see who can reduce their debt and increase their savings the most by working with a financial coach. The second component involves keeping personal blogs, which allows other people to go online and learn from them along the way. We also just launched a program called Red SHOES, which is designed to help women develop a plan to save their first million dollars so they can retire in the way they intend to. Why has Summit gone beyond standard banking services to shine a spotlight on financial health? It's at the core of our mission to help our members improve their financial lives. The only way you can truly, consciously [do so] is if you're given the knowledge, tools, expertise and guidance. What kind of financial concern have you heard a lot about lately? People with children are always torn between saving for their retirement and saving for col- lege. You need to save for your retirement first because you cannot borrow into retirement. Don't sacrifice your retirement for your children's college—find other ways to help them if you can't do both. 36 BRAVA Magazine November 2012 Summit Credit Union Runners Up: BRAVA readers' top pick for sound financial advice, Summit Credit Union helps customers see beyond the checkbook to the bigger picture UW Credit Union Laurie Droster, The Droster Team Then when I get paid, deposits are automatically made to our kids' College 529 accounts and to these three accounts: 1. A long-term savings account. I build this one up and then invest the money, build it up again and so on. I do not spend this money, but invest it in what I hope will earn more over time. 2. A travel account. Because we like to travel, this account ensures we have money available when the opportu- nity comes. 3. A short-term savings account for bigger items I hope will not come up often. I build this account up and then use it for things that come up, like buying something for our home or a new car, repairs, etc. I also have a money market account for taxes and incidentals. I maintain the minimum balance and add to it each month. I approximate what I will need for taxes and put enough away each month to cover that, as well as extras like birthdays, back to school shopping and the holidays. How I spend: What is left over after saving stays in my checking account. From there, I pay insurance premiums automatically. Every week I withdraw a specific amount of cash (the same amount every week). From that, I pay for groceries, eating out, clothes, baby- sitting, cleaning, some gifts and even kids' allowances. I use my credit card for gas and pay it off every month by electronic transfer, so I earn airline and product points, too. With this system, I know exactly what I am spending every week. Most of the time, I have a little extra to put toward the weeks I have more expenses than usual. WINNER READERS' CHOICE READERS' C Photo by Shanna Wolf

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