For September’s edition of Females and Finances, we are proud to feature Renee Moe, the president and CEO of the United Way of Dane County. Renee’s father taught her how to be financially savvy from a young age, and now she’s using that knowledge to help Dane County residents overcome poverty and gain economic stability. Keep reading for some of Renee’s personal financial insight and find out how she’s helping members of the Madison community Own It!
What does “Owning It” mean to you?
“Owning It” means understanding priorities and goals, and aligning day-to-day decisions to achieve those priorities and goals. Deciding on those priorities is often the hardest part. Once you know, it’s easy to take action and monitor learning and success.
Tell us how you got to where you are today.
My parents, teachers, friends, colleagues and mentors have played a huge role in my life. Growing up around the globe, getting a great education and meeting people who believed in me and inspired me helped me gain life experience, skills and most recently the role of president and CEO at United Way of Dane County.
What would you say are your most important lessons learned about finances?
When I was just learning to talk, my dad started asking me: “What is the most powerful force in the world?” And before I ever knew what it meant, I was taught to respond, “Compounding, Daddy!” My parents always encouraged me to save, matched my first paycheck at the age of 14 so I could start a retirement account (my income was about $150 that year) and taught me about credit.
Key mantras around our house are, “Don’t spend more than you have,” and “Be intentional about saving, spending, investing and giving.” It’s been a lot of fun talking about money and finances with our 6-year-old and 4-year-old. And yes, they both know what “compounding” means, too!
What’s your favorite current financial education resource?
In addition to lots of online resources that are just a Google search away, there are great books, blogs, podcasts and resources to help individuals get smarter about managing their finances. And there are so many local resources and individuals who can help. You don’t need all the answers, you need the courage to ask the questions!
At United Way, we facilitate pathways out of poverty to build a Dane County where all can succeed in school, work and life. Tying education, income and health together is incredibly important to build economic stability, particularly for young families. Managing a household budget with limited resources is tough work. From that discipline can come enormous stability — a launch pad for a family to achieve its greatest potential and contribute their many assets back into the community.