As a banking center manager, I understand the importance of knowing your financial health. In our modern world, finances are part of everyone’s life. With advancements in technology, it can be difficult to navigate through the services available or know where to start! People without a bank account or credit history are often disqualified for auto and mortgage loans and may be denied employment in certain industries. It is more common for a person to have borrowed money and mismanaged their finances, resulting in bad credit.
I was guilty of the latter scenario. While my parents were teaching me, you work for your desires and the “extra things”. I was not taught to budget for needs and save for the future. I had to learn this the hard way. In college I was offered a credit card and it came with some fun loot and an unreasonable credit limit. Of course, I maximized this card pretty quickly. I didn’t want to tell my parents what I was doing and tried to make payments from my checking account (together with my parents who provided the needs fund) and quickly started putting it in in the open, so they soon found out I was overwhelmed. I found myself looking for a job and had to work to pay for this card while finishing my last year of college.
Fast forward about 25 years, I started working for Great Southern Bank and have used this lesson in many shared experiences with my clients and interactions within the community. Through our connection to the Ozarks Community Partnership, I got involved in their financial literacy class and often attended their “Ask the Expert” section. In this environment, an honest discussion about personal finance allowed students to ask questions that would help them make informed decisions. Over the weeks, I could see the students’ confidence increase as they learned to take control of their financial future – starting with creating a budget, opening a bank account and starting the steps to improve their credit score. credit. It is by observing this transformation that I love to help with financial education!
I enjoyed sharing my knowledge and enthusiasm for showing others the life changing benefits of financial literacy. It’s so rewarding, and the free time my company pays to participate is such a show of support! I have presented to various local agencies, such as Harbor House, Lakeland Behavioral Health, Springfield KCCC, Cox Health Employees, Credit Worthiness to Students, and participated in an Adult Financial Planning Panel at the County Library by Greene. I also shared lessons on savings and “deferred gratification” with elementary students in Ozark and Springfield as part of the ABA Teach Children to Save program. I was taken by surprise once when a young student asked me for my autograph! At that point, I knew I was making a positive impression and hopefully fostering positive financial habits among our younger citizens.
In conclusion, I love what I do as a profession and love to share it with those in need and make a positive economic impact in our community right here in Springfield.
Sarah Justice is the Director of the Great Southern Bank Banking Center and regularly volunteers to teach the basics and importance of financial literacy.