New IndySaves Coordinator Has Passion for Job
New IndySaves Coordinator Has Passion for Job
October 8, 2002
The Indianapolis Star
by CHRIS O'MALLEY
Susan Fucik once sold swimsuits to school teams. Hated it, especially the locker room visits.
But that was as easy as dog-paddling compared with her new gig: selling a public swimming in debt on the idea of putting money into a savings account.
Not only that, she is making the case during a 40-year low in interest rates, when many bank savings accounts pay less than 1 percent. "This has been a passion of mine. I'm a big believer in the need to save,'' said Fucik, who last week became the first program coordinator of Indy Saves.
An effort of 40 business, government and community groups, Indy Saves seeks to help residents build wealth by saving money or erasing debt, or both.
Fucik is upbeat because she knows there are people who, through necessity or sheer desperation, also are passionate about improving their finances.
In recent years, Fucik worked as a counselor at Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Central Indiana. She also was a program assistant for family resource management at Purdue University's extension service.
"If people could learn how to manage their money, it would probably eliminate half of their stress right there,'' Fucik said.
"What gets people into trouble is that they have no savings for emergencies. What I'm trying to get people to understand is that emergencies are a fact of life."
Among Fucik's goals are to get more people enrolled in Indy Saves and to raise money to expand the program.
It has signed up 137 participants since its launch last April, mostly by word-of-mouth and by brochures distributed at public events.
Many are saving money for education or a down payment on a home.
Or they're trying to cut debt -- the flip side of building wealth.
"My goal is to get out from charge-card debt. I just really want to be in a cash basis. It's really burning at me,'' said Indy Saves participant Sonia Murphy of Indianapolis. She has a plan to be out of debt in less than three years.
Indy saves matches participants with coaches who help them set goals but don't provide financial counseling, per se; participants are directed to other sources if they need more extensive help.
"Part of our role is to act as a clearinghouse because there are so many wonderful groups in Indianapolis that nobody knows about,'' said David Bixler, president of investment advisory firm Capital Strategies Inc. He organized Indy Saves after hearing of similar programs in Cleveland and Kansas City.
Indy Saves members also receive a newsletter four times a year and may attend a number of financial seminars.
So far, the program has enlisted eight volunteer instructors, many from financial-services companies. Bixler said that in order to keep advice objective, coaches are forbidden from pitching products of their companies.
Indy Saves operates on a shoestring budget of less than $30,000 a year. National City Bank provided a $15,000 grant to launch the program in April, with help from the Consumer Federation of America.
For more information about Indy Saves, call 1-317-262-1706.
Call Chris O'Malley at 1-317-444-6081.
What: Program to help Indianapolis-area residents save money or cut debt.
Who's eligible: Open to anyone
How it works: Participants agree to save at least $10 a month. May also buy savings bond or make a debt payment. Participants are assigned "coaches'' to help them establish a goal.
How enroll: 1-317-262-1706
Where to save: For Indy Saves participants, several financial institutions offer special products or waive fees usually charged on savings accounts with modest balances.
First Indiana Bank: Deposit Anytime 18-month variable-rate CD. Requires $10 minimum deposit.
Huntington National Bank: Premier Savings account with no mininum balance to open, no service charges.
Irwin Union Bank & Trust Co.: Irwin Saves account with $10 minimum deposit.
National City Bank: Indy Saves Statement Savings. No minimum balance to open, minimum balance fee waived for 18 months.
National Bank of Indianapolis: Circle Savings. No minimum balance, no service charge for first 12 months.
Near Eastside Community Federal Credit Union: Savings with no membership or monthly service fee; $5 minimum deposit.
Union Federal Bank: Statement Savings requires $10 to open. Minimum balance fee waived for 12 months.
Union Planters Bank: Statement Savings waives balance fee for 12 months.
Department of Treasury: Minimum initial deposit of $25 for Series EE Bond that matures at $50.
Primary Press Contact
The Consumer Federation of America
Attn: America Saves Campaign
1620 Eye St NW, Suite 200
Washington, DC 20006
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