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My friend and fellow girl banker, Shelly Loftin, SVP, Retail Banking, Payments, and Lending at the American Bankers Association is popping up once again as a guest blogger here on the Girl Banker blog. This time, Shelly is sharing her own saving story as the SAVE10 campaign is nearing launch on October 10th. Regardless of your own savings story, take a moment to read what Shelly has to say and educate yourself about the SAVE10 initiative. It could change your life! 

Why Women Should Start Saving Money Now
Girl Bankers, women in business, women everywhere, take note!  The time to save is now.  Right now.  I understand you don’t think you need to, or you don’t feel like you make enough yet, or you have plenty of time.  All of those things may be true, but do yourself a solid favor and start right now, with Save10. What is Save10 you might ask? Save10 is a campaign to empower Arkansas women to save for life and retirement. It is a specific call to action for women to commit to saving at least 10% for retirement.  The campaign officially launches on October 10th, 2019.

Having a solid savings strategy could turn out to be helpful when you least expect it, which is why I am sharing the cliff notes version of my savings story here.   Both of my parents worked hard growing up. My mom was an entrepreneur and my dad was a preacher and teacher.  We were your stereotypical middle class family of four and my parents worked day and night to provide for our family.  They taught us from a young age to save 10%, give 10%, and have faith.  I listened (at least to the “Save 10%” part), and when I became eligible for my first 401(k) as a working teenage teller, I signed up to contribute and never looked back.  It was a minor, seemingly inconsequential moment in my young life that I am now keenly aware of and grateful for.  As an adult, I have come to learn that my parents’ approach to finances was not necessarily common and I am very grateful they shared it with me early on so that I started my career with funding retirement and savings as standard procedure.

This is the point in the story where you expect me to tell you that I am so grateful for that advice because I am now loaded, retired to a charming beach community, sipping umbrella drinks, meditating daily, and bedazzling accessories for fun at age 36, right?  Not exactly. Fast forward 15 years to a girl banker with a career, a husband, two kids, a mortgage, and two pugs.  One random day, my seemingly “charmed” life, where every step was calculated for maximum productivity and potential happiness, turned into a really bad Lifetime movie. When I say bad, I mean the producers at Lifetime likely wouldn’t have believed it. It was unbelievable, painful, awkward, embarrassing, humiliating, shameful, etc.  Any adjective you want to throw at it would stick. The bright spots: my kids, my family, my career, and my savings. Is that shallow?  Quite possibly, but when facing a future that looked completely different than what I had originally planned, the fact that my retirement savings I’d contributed to for my entire working life remained intact gave me both solace and courage.

The support of my family along with the choice to save 10% provided me with the courage to make hard decisions, to handle the consequences of the choices I faced, and the confidence that I was strong enough to survive. I could be a working mom, fully support my family, save money and learn to manage everything on my own.  It’s a work in progress and there are certainly opportunities for improvement, but I remain passionate about saving for retirement and life’s little or big emergencies to this day. Everyone has a story and several chapters that are yet to be written.  Make saving for retirement part of your story as soon as you can.

I share this simplified version of a life story to illustrate the concept that life throws you curve balls, regardless of how well-planned your life might be.  And when it does, you need a financial safety net, and the only person who can provide you with backup plan you can be 100% comfortable with is you.  Accept that now and start saving 10% or whatever percentage you can save for retirement and be proud of yourself for preparing for the future – whatever that future may look like.  You can visit womensfoundationarkansas.org/save10/ for more information and to join the ranks of the financially empowered women currently taking the Save10 challenge.  Be the voice of taking charge and control of your future. Save. Then join the chorus of other women savers here.  You can also join a Facebook group where women share their financial advice, hopes, fears, and successes.

Did you know:

Shelly Loftin
SVP, Retail Banking, Payments, Lending

About Shelly In Her Own Words | I live in a world of branding, banking, and boys. I am a banker who was promoted to a customer then turned ABA team member who believes banking and education should be fun, simple and helpful. I am a mom to two superheroes, ages 7 and 4.  My career started in the nerve center of the bank, the proof department, when I was 15.  I learned to run a sorter, key like a champ and became fascinated with how banking worked. After a few years of keying, balancing and counting zeroes, I held multiple retail roles including teller, customer service representative and financial service representative before I transitioning to the marketing side of banking. For the past 14 years, I have worked on branding, marketing and retail in several positions at various community banks.  Prior to going to the American Bankers Association, I was Chief Administrative Officer at Bear State Bank. Connecting brand, culture and customer experiences across channels is what I love. I am a cultivator of member happiness, passionate about improving the experience banking business, a brand ambassador, training enthusiast, conference concierge, design fanatic, team builder and infographic nerd. Covey facilitator, creative collaborator, culture advocate, professional learner and happiness sharer. I’m forever a Bear, as there are always trails to blaze and pawprints to explore. Oh, and a millennial. Kind of. Solving problems collaboratively is my preferred way to work and I am a strong supporter of communication.