"Nine out of 10 want information on credit. No. 2 is tips on saving and budgeting," she said.
She said people want to know how to get credit, improve their credit and restore a bad credit ranking. "They assume that once they mess up, they can't recover. There are ways to recover from a bad credit score."
Spotts said she wasn't prepared when she was first laid off at age 24. Though her degree from Hampton University in Virginia was in biology, she had worked for five years, getting promotions and more pay, for a national retail chain. The chain laid off 400 employees nationwide.
She had always "paid myself first" and put money away for a rainy day, just not enough. "You should have six months to a year's worth of savings, if you can," she said.
She believes everyone can save some amount, even if it's $5 a week. With automatic savings deposits from paychecks, "you don't miss it if it's automatically pulled out."
Spotts has three savings accounts: one for vacation, one for Christmas and one for emergencies. She just closed a fourth account in which she saved to buy her sister a computer as a high school graduation present.
The accounts were all with Fifth Third's Goal Setter Savings program, perhaps similar to what other banks offer. She sets a goal of how much money she wants to save for vacation. When she reaches that amount, the bank rewards her by matching the interest she's earned on her savings account.
Spotts said she enjoys showing people ways to save and budget their money. In the workshops she teaches, "People open up and talk. They have stories and life experiences that play into their finances."
She recalled reassuring one embarrassed woman who was divorced after 25 years of marriage. "She had never paid a bill or written a check," Spotts said.
She says the classes are a way for employers to show they care about their employees by helping them manage the main source of stress in their lives -- finances.
Spotts will also be among the bank employees giving free financial advice when Fifth Third brings its Financial Empowerment Mobile to Charleston. The 40-foot bus equipped with computers will be parked from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 19 and 20 at Abundant Life Ministries and West Virginia Health Right, 1534 Washington St. E.
On the bus, consumers will be able to get free credit reports, meet one-on-one with a banking expert, talk with a consumer credit counselor and conduct online job searches.
"September is going to be a busy month," said Spotts, who's also working on the finance part of a finance and health fair that a large employer is staging for his managers at the Charleston Civic Center.
If you don't find her at work, Spotts said to check out Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, in Huntington, where she is the pianist for eight choirs and the co-director of the youth choir. She also can be contacted at 304-353-4123 or sheila.sp...@53.com.
Reach Rosalie Earle at ea...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5115.