We are pleased to share the money memories of Kate Welker. Kate is a CFP® at Rooted Planning Group, and also works as a tax preparer. She earned a bachelor’s degree in financial planning from Alfred State College and has been in the financial services industry for 15 years. She spent years working in a world that only focused on investments and found herself constantly wanting to do more for her clients. Investments are a piece of the puzzle according to Kate, but she wants to look at the big picture made up of all the pieces. Kate is a busy mom who loves to travel, get lost in books, and savor time with family.
DAUGHTER OF SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS
Leslie: Tell us about your family and community while you were growing up.
Kate: I grew up in Hornell, NY, a tiny and close knit community in Western NY. My parents were both small business owners.
PRIORITIZING FAMILY MEANT MANAGING FINANCES CAREFULLY
Leslie: What was one of your first money memories?
Kate: My early memories around money involve being careful with it. My parents chose their small business and other career choices in order to make family a priority, but that also meant managing finances carefully.
IMPORTANCE OF SAVING & DONATING
Leslie: What was your first experience saving?
Kate: I have two prominent in my mind. The first was getting my passbook savings account and getting the book stamped at the bank. It was fun for me to add money to my account, get that stamp, and see it grow. The other is when our church had these little church shaped banks that we could save money in and then bring our donations to the church to help with a goal. I remember it was fun asking for extra tasks to earn a few coins, even pennies, to be able to add to the bank and then donate. It taught me this lesson. No matter how small the donation might be, it could be put to work and good use.
SAVING FOR A CLASS TRIP…LIKE SAMMY!
Leslie: What was your first job?
Kate: At 12, I got a paper route and babysat every opportunity possible. I don’t remember making much from the newspapers, but it was steady income. I think I generally saved my paper route money in my savings and used my babysitting money for the fun stuff. Having a savings goal helped me be more motivated. My school had an opportunity for some students to go on a trip to Boston, but it was expensive and going to cost several hundred dollars. My parents told me I could go if I worked and paid for it. I was able to save up the full amount of the trip plus a nice amount to use for spending while I was on the trip.
THANKS MOM & DAD
Leslie: Did you parents talk to you about money?
Kate: Money was talked about in my household and we were taught a lot about personal finance, but it was never in a direct way. It was everyday lessons in watching how money was managed or discussing something as it came up. One of the most valuable lessons that frustrated me as a teenager, but I am so thankful for now, was if I wanted something I had to work and save for it. My parents provided well for us, but for the extra expenses – movie tickets, makeup, the fancy shampoo, CDs – we had to find the money ourselves for that.
GRADUATED DEBT FREE
Leslie: What was one mistake or “boo-boo” you made as a kid, teen or college student with money. And, what was one smart money choice you made?
Kate: One of the money mistakes was spending auto insurance claim proceeds before they arrived. Someone ran a red light and hit me. I was fine but my car was damaged. While the insurance was processing, I took money from my savings to pay for the repairs to get my car back. I was a little spend-happy with some additional funds thinking I would be reimbursed for everything. That was a lesson in money and insurance. It was a very drawn out process. And, I ended up still having to pay for some of the work.
The smartest money choice I made was choosing to go to a state college with a full scholarship. I had offers and the academics to go to a private, big name school, but I looked at the financials and chose the scholarship. Between the scholarship and working through college I had no student loan debt.
SPENDING AND SAVINGS
Leslie: One question we ask everyone is: If you could only teach a child one money habit, what would it be and why?
Kate: It is important for kids to split their money between saving and spending. Saving is important, but it is long term which is difficult for children. Having a little to spend now tends to keep the long term savings going.
START TEACHING AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE
Leslie: Is important to teach kids about money? Why? At what age should parents start?
Kate: Yes, it is something they will deal with literally everyday of their life. As early as possible.
Leslie: Do you think personal finance should be taught in schools?
Kate: Absolutely, again because it is something dealt with every day and effects their future.
ANALYZE DEBT AS MUCH AS ACADEMICS
Leslie: What are your thoughts on student debt?
Kate: Be smart with it and look at the long term. An education is so valuable, but the debt aspect is often just signed off on without ever thinking about what this will actually look like after graduation. Know how much it will compound to be and what the payments will look like. Understand the frustration of paying what is more than some mortgages to barely make a dent in the principal. I would love to see the same time and attention, if not more, paid to analyze the cost and long term debt effects of a college as there are in looking at the academics and experience of a campus.
LEARN MORE ABOUT KATE
To discover more about Kate visit www.rootedpg.com