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Females & Finances: Sarah Best

sarah best

This month’s Females and Finances features Sarah Best, a learning and development specialist right here at Summit Credit Union. Sarah coaches Summit employees, helping them reach their full potential and in turn help improve members’ financial lives. Keep reading to learn more about Sarah and her success!

What does “Owning It” mean to you?

“Owning It” is all about empowerment. It means taking control, creating a plan, using your resources and holding yourself accountable. You can choose to “Own It” when it comes to your personal finances, your goals, career,

Tell us how you got to where you are today.

I started at Summit Credit Union when I was a senior in high school, and in the blink of an eye, here I am twenty years later. Growing up, I didn’t have a strong pull toward a specific career path but always knew I wanted a profession that would allow me the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others and considered pursuing teaching or nursing. After graduating from UW-Madison with a communications degree, I came to the realization that I had the opportunity to help others, both members and employees, in many different capacities right here at Summit. In my current position as a learning and development specialist my role is to coach, develop and empower our employees to bring our mission to “Improve our members’ financial lives to help them reach their dreams” to life.

What would you say are your most important lessons learned about finances?

The two most important lessons I’ve learned are first, know where your money is going and second, plan for the unexpected. Statistics show that a large percentage of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck regardless of how much money they earn and most have no idea where their money is going each month. A bill here, a trip to Target there, a meal out, a cup of coffee … it all adds up. It’s hard to make changes when you don’t know what needs to be changed. Commit to tracking your spending for one month … it’s incredibly eye-opening! Taking it a step further, there’s a strong emotional tie to spending, and behavior change is difficult but often needs to be addressed. It’s also important to have money set aside in an “emergency” savings account to cover expenses that come up unexpectedly, like a new refrigerator or flat tire repair. I’ve had both come up in the past few months ... life happens! The truth is most “unexpected expenses” can be somewhat anticipated. If you don’t have money set aside, it’s very likely these expenses will end up on a credit card (or you’re eating out of a cooler and driving on a spare) which can result in a cycle of accruing and paying down debt.

What’s your favorite current financial education resource?

I stumble across new financial education resources every day and am somewhat of a hoarder when it comes to financial tips and resources. Summit’s website is excellent resource and one I emphasize with employees and members. One of my new favorite resources is Money Minder, a new tool I just recently started using. Money Minder gives Summit Credit Union members the ability to manage and track all aspects of their financial lives. From creating a budget and tracking spending to setting goals and balancing bills and income, Money Minder gives me the ability to view all of my financial accounts in one place. This tool saves me time and helps me save money, so it’s a win-win.