/ A Wisconsin Credit Union Advises on How to Take Control of Finances

A Wisconsin Credit Union Advises on How to Take Control of Finances

Kim Sponem, CEO & President
Summit Credit Union
At its core, financial wellness is all about putting yourself in the best position possible to have your money work for you, instead of you working for your money. Here are a few tips to get you started on the road to financial wellness.

  1. Know Your Big (Financial) Picture

To get an idea of where you stand financially, step back and look at your big picture. Start by asking yourself a few questions:

  • How much total debt do I have?
  • What are my long-term goals?
  • What are my total monthly bills, including debt?
  • Which expenses are needs? Which are wants?

Answering these questions will help you determine how much room you have in your budget after your bills and planned savings for your long-term goals.
When you understand your full financial picture, you can make decisions with more confidence and less stress. Then you can actually enjoy impromptu purchases on running shoes or that getaway to Door County.

  1. Start Saving

I’ve yet to hear anyone, ever, say, I wish I had waited to start saving. There’s never a better time to start than right now! is often how people overcome living paycheck to paycheck, giving them more financial peace of mind and power. Even if your retirement is far away, starting early gives your money that much more time to grow.
Also, if an emergency occurs, you’ll have funds set aside for unexpected expenses. Now you’ll be fully prepared for those flat tires, unforeseen medical bills or random home repairs like frozen pipes or a new washing machine!

  1. Combine and Conquer Debt

Having to make multiple loan payments each month can be overwhelming. You may save money on interest and late fees, and reduce the stress of juggling multiple loan payments by combining your debt into a single consolidation loan.
You can do the same for managing credit card debt. Transferring multiple credit card balances into one may help you save money on interest rates and, even better, pay down that debt faster!

  1. Determine Wants vs. Needs

While we’ll always encourage you to account for your needed expenses first, it’s just as important to plan for other spending. Proper financial planning helps guide your spending, whether you’re eyeing a weekend trip to Wisconsin Dells or a retirement cottage in the north woods.
As you navigate purchasing decisions, just remember you can never spend your way to wealth.

  1. Get the Kids Involved

It’s never too early to start laying the foundation for financial wellness. Coach your kids around important money skills by using real-life scenarios. Giving your child an allowance that they’re in charge of is a great way to start teaching them about money management at an early age.
You can also create situations to serve as teaching moments about tradeoffs. For example, they can choose to spend money on a Packers jersey but that will take away from their spending money for the Devil’s Lake camping trip at the end of the summer—they can’t have both. And, we’ve given our kids a set amount of money on family vacations so they could practice spending decisions. They also know that what they don’t spend, they can keep.
These lessons can serve as helpful reminders for you, too!

  1. Never Stop Learning

Like other things in life, financial wellness is an ongoing process. Even when you feel comfortable with your financial standing, it’s important to continue seeking new knowledge and information about how you can maintain or improve your finances.
For more resources and tips, visit the Money Smarts page at and check our events calendar to find upcoming seminars where you can ask questions and learn from our financial experts!
Achieving financial wellness provides a sense of security, confidence and clarity that alleviates daily stress. It’s a boost to your mind, body and spirit. Financial wellness is liberating!
Following these simple steps can help you on your way to living a financially healthy life!

The WCA Group Health Trust was created when county officials joined together to create an employee benefit program that would meet the unique needs of local governments. Today, their founding principles still remain at the core. WCA Group Health Trust is governed by officials from participating units of government and school districts, making the organization more responsive to local healthcare needs.

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