Dare to Save: Ronda Wagner, Unitus Community Credit Union

Sometimes, a dare from a mother is all it takes to help you achieve a savings goal.  Ronda Wagner’s mom encouraged her to cook and bake.  As she reached the point of having her own kitchen, Ronda’s mom informed her that she was not really a cook till she had a Kitchen Aide mixer.  “One of my favorite savings goals was to save for that Kitchen Aide mixer.  I knew they were spendy, like $300, but my mom inspired me to do it.  Once I got my first one, every Christmas my sister would bring her mixer over and we’d make different kinds of cookies.  I also learned that my best peanut butter cookie recipe can burn it out, so I’m on my second one now!”

As the Manager of Member Loans at Unitus Community Credit Union Ronda knows the power of membership.  “It’s funny that in a credit union the members take care of the staff.  Early in my career, my first credit union job was at the police and firemen’s credit union.  The retired firefighters would tell me ‘You can’t afford not to save’.  They told me I had to pay myself first, and save 10% of my salary.  I had a hard time believing them at first, but I was their project; they broke me in to what it means to be an adult.  Now, if I find a friend or relative who does not have an emergency savings account, I tell them the same thing-You can’t afford not to save.”

“One of my happy thoughts is my first memory of savings.  When I was a kid we’d ride horses, and after our 4-H club meeting my grandmother would take us to Dee’s In and Out for a swirl ice cream cone.  The change from buying the ice cream cone would go into the little silver piggy bank my grandmother gave each of us.  When the piggy bank was full she would take me down to deposit the money in my own bank account.  I still have that silver piggy bank.”

Today, Ronda faces the same challenges many parents face, “my girls think it’s cool to spend money.  They started out saving well, and have savings accounts, but I’d like them to save more regularly.  They don’t want to spend their own money, so they try to convince me to spend mine!”

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