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Member Story: Nora Kato

nora kato and her family

Nora Kato is the wife, mother and grandmother anyone would want.

When it comes to money and savings, the Hawaii State FCU member since 1971 has done an admirable job managing the finances for several generations of her family.

Her husband of 46 years basically handed her his paycheck from Day 1, telling her to take care of the bills and be sure not to bounce a check. “He doesn’t even know what’s going on in the account and how much we have in savings,” she said with a chuckle, adding that she has never bounced a check all these years and always balances their checkbook to the penny.

Nora, who is a regular at our Kaimuki Branch and loves stopping in to see the staff, also has the reassurance that Hawaii State FCU will take care of her husband should she pass first. She knows he’ll need a little helping hand should he have to start managing his money on his own.

The Katos have two daughters and three grandchildren. And Nora started a savings account for all three grandkids since their birth, starting with an initial $1,000 deposit. With each Christmas and birthday, she adds another $500. On top of that, she sets aside $25 a month for each child in a separate account. When that reaches $1,000, she plans to meet with one of our financial advisers to discuss putting the money into a college-savings account.

While Nora said she gets a lot of good advice from our financial advisers when it comes to saving for education, she’s been a role model for her own children. She taught her daughters to always pay off their credit card bills every month to avoid high interest fees, and said she doesn’t believe they ever had a check bounce either. And she said she’s proud of her daughters for not touching any of the money that’s been set aside for their children. Even when the grandkids get a little extra cash for Boys Day and other occasions, they tell their mom, “Mom, I guess I know it goes into my savings.”

At one point, Nora had even opened an account for her father to help him manage his money, making that four generations of the family’s finances that she’s had a hand in. It was only deserving when Nora and her husband applied for their first personal loan at Hawaii State FCU. The reason? To get Nora a bigger diamond.

Congrats to Nora for being a shining example for her family on saving for the future, and for having her Hawaii State FCU family right there for every step along the way.

WP of Marketing, Allison Maertens headshot

About Allison Maertens

Allison Maertens is the vice president of marketing at Hawaii State FCU, one of the largest credit unions in the state. Allison joined HSFCU in March 2013 and oversees the credit union’s marketing and financial education efforts. Under her leadership, the credit union underwent a rebranding initiative in 2014. Allison leads a team responsible for advertising and public relations, online marketing, and member communications and events. She graduated from the University of Hawaii with two bachelor’s degrees – one in journalism with an emphasis on public relations, and one in ethnic studies. She earned her master’s degree in communication management from the University of Southern California.

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