On Tuesday, Nov 20 our host Aaron Perry speaks with Kim Sponem, CEO and President of Summit Credit Union, to speak about the Project Money program. Launched in 2009, the program has had 16 family participants so far. Each year, four contestants are selected to compete for $10,000, and the remaining three receive $2,500. The contestants work with coaches provided by Summit Credit Union, to increase savings and decrease their debts. They also blog about their experiences, providing personal testimony and tips for saving money and reducing debt. “We want the community and our other members to learn from their experiences as they are going all. In addition to these 16 families we have had thousands of followers of these families over the years,” Kim explains. Kim reports that this year’s participants have already increased their savings by $25,000 and decreased their debts by $33,000.
Participants have praised the program, saying that they feel a much stronger control over their finances. Some participants have even said that it has helped with their family communication, since financial issues can create a large strain on families and marriages. The participants also develop strong connections with the coaches, who play an important role in helping them take charge of their finances. Kim says that the upcoming holiday season can pose a challenge for people trying to save or stay on track, “through all the higher unemployment people have experienced, I think we are seeing people be more cautious.” She recommends that everyone have an emergency fund, of at least $500, although the amount needed will vary based on each person’s needs and lifestyle. “$500 in a savings account, it has been shown, is enough for those unexpected surprises to prevent people from going to payday lenders, for example, and pay really high interest rates on those types of loans.”
Kim says that the need for better money management or saving transcends specific income levels, “You can be a high earning individual or family, and at the end of the month, not have anything saved. We work with people wherever they are.”
Visit summitcreditunion.com for more information.
Listen to the entire interview here: