We at Summit Credit Union believe strongly in grabbing the bull by the horns and really owning your life and your money, and we love to see that reflected in our members, our community, and especially our leadership.
That’s why we created the Females and Finance series to highlight women who are really “owning it” within the financial industry or within their own personal finances.
We thought we’d start the series by showcasing Kim Sponem, CEO and President of Summit Credit Union.
What does “Owning It” mean to you?
You have the power within yourself to own your finances and to create the financial life you want. That does not mean you have to have all the answers. It also does not mean it is easy. Things happen, things throw us off track, and you have the ability to adjust and get back on track. At Summit Credit Union, we are here to help guide you along your path. Reach out and let us help put together a plan. Then, you own your plan. It is up to you to make it happen and we are here to guide and cheer you on.
Tell us how you got to where you are today.
I was introduced to the credit union world right after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I studied consumer behavior with a marketing and personal finance emphasis. I have used that understanding to lead a credit union. Plus, I have a strong belief in helping our members improve their financial lives and building stronger communities where our members live.
What would you say are your most important lessons learned about finances?
It is easier to prevent financial problems than to fix them, but either way requires action. Find the job and career path where you will make enough to live and enough to do some things that you enjoy. Protect your earning power by continually learning, having a can-do attitude and positive thinking. Stop buying things before you can afford them or just because they are on sale. Set up your savings "buckets" and commit to regular contributions. Realize that you can get by on a lot less stuff; this may even make you happier. The more stuff you have, the more you have to take care of and the more it costs you.
What’s your favorite current financial education resource?
I read a lot of magazine and newspaper articles on financial management and tips including lifestyle changes and financial impacts.
At Summit Credit Union, we've created many different tips, tools, calculators and programs like Red Shoes and Project Money for our members. We have online financial education called Fool Proof for young adults or anyone wanting to learn more. Getting information from an entity you trust and is qualified is important and we are here to help!