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All My Findependent Women, Throw Your Hands Up at Me!

(Findependent: Financially independent)

By Ana Montoya, Director of Community Outreach


It's Women’s History Month (insert girl power here)! At Rock Valley Credit Union, we celebrate and recognize the contributions of remarkable women throughout history and that of our own employees. These trailblazers have paved the way for future generations. Because of their bravery and sacrifices, now more than ever, more women are in leadership roles across all industries, and this has resulted in more women becoming household breadwinners, and financial decision makers.  

Who Runs the World? Girls!

Despite these accomplishments, inequities in finances continue to be an issue. It may be surprising for many to hear, but 40% of single women have less than $100 in their savings, compared to 26% of men. In addition, women have saved an average of $57,000 for retirement, much less than their male counterparts who have on average saved $118,000. Since the onset of COVID-19, more than 2.3 million women have left the workforce, compared to 1.8 million men. But, when it comes to managing a family’s daily finances, 90% of that is being done by – you guessed it, women!

This got us thinking at RVCU, what can we do to help women make savvy financial moves? We asked our own in-house experts, Financial Coach Melissa Engelkes and Accounting Assistant Tracey Koppen-Davis to share their best advice. Here’s what they have to say:

Save for Retirement Sooner Than Later

"My best financial advice to give anyone, but especially for women, is to make sure you prepare for retirement early on. I wish I had started doing this sooner. I know it can seem impossible when you feel like you’re living paycheck to paycheck, but if your employer offers a 401K program – enroll as soon as you can. It comes right out of your check, so essentially you can set it and forget it. I also know that when you are young, retirement seems so far away and you think, “oh, I can do that later.” Truthfully, I have seen way too many people struggling later in life because their only source of income was Social Security – that’s just not enough,” says Accounting Assistant Tracey.


Be Independent and Build Credit Early

"To build credit, start with a credit card and pay if off monthly. We recommend only using it for smaller purchases like gas and groceries, so you can be sure to pay it off every month. Don’t close the card, keep it active so you have credit available to you at any time. To boost your credit even further, you can also get a small personal loan, but ensure you pay it monthly and on-time. If you are not sure where to start, come talk to us, we are happy to help,” says Financial Coach Melissa.

Emergency Savings

You name it – we have seen every kind of emergency happen! Tracey wants to remind you that, “You’re not alone, we have also been there too! Things like a car repair, an emergency visit to the vet, a sudden job loss, or illness can really put your finances in a bind. To save for those rainy days, set up automatic deposits to go directly into a savings account. Even a little goes a long way.”

FREE Resources Just for YOU

Need additional assistance? Check out these money management resources, complementary of RCVU:

  • Banzai – A free financial education online resource that uses short articles, lifelike scenarios, and simulators to help you become financially savvy.
  • Greenpath – Receive FREE one on one financial expert help. No matter your financial goals – budgeting, saving or managing debt – this program is the real deal! 
  • RVCU Financial Counselors – Member perk alert! Our trusted team of financial counselors are passionate about empowering and educating our members. Take that next step and make an appointment. Your future self will thank you!

Rosie the Riveter said it best, “we can do it.” You can too! There is an entire team of wonderful financial experts here at RVCU ready to help. Call us at 815-282-0300 or click here to schedule an appointment. You can also check out our savings account options today to get started.