Community encouraged to build wealth, not debt

| February 22, 2017 | 0 Comments
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS —During Military Saves Week, Feb. 27-March 4, the Army community is encouraged to take save for the future. (U.S. Army photo by Kristen Wong)

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS —During Military Saves Week, Feb. 27-March 4, the Army community is encouraged to take save for the future. (U.S. Army photo by Kristen Wong)

By Karen A. Iwamoto
Staff Writer

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Readiness is a cornerstone of the Army and it applies not just to combat, but also to financial planning.

Financial troubles can affect a Soldier’s security clearance and personal life — both of which affect the ability to complete the mission.

ACS support
However, Soldiers and their families don’t have to go it alone. They have independent advocates in the form of five Financial Readiness specialists at Army Community Services. These officers can help them with everything from debt consolidation to portfolio management — and a consultation with them is free and confidential for Soldiers and their families.

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Staff members of the Financial Readiness Program at Schofield Barracks is promoting Military Saves Week from Feb. 27-March4. Army Community Service is offering financial counseling, classes and other events to help service members and their families manage their money. (U.S. Army photo by Kristen Wong)

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Staff members of the Financial Readiness Program at Schofield Barracks is promoting Military Saves Week from Feb. 27-March4. Army Community Service is offering financial counseling, classes and other events to help service members and their families manage their money. (U.S. Army photo by Kristen Wong)

“Sometimes it can be hard to save when we’re surrounded by messages and marketing that is constantly telling us to buy,” said Financial Readiness specialist Scott Brown. “I like to tell my clients to focus on putting their money in things that will increase in value.”

Budget!
To start off, Brown and his colleagues can help their clients establish or re-establish budgets.

“One of the surprises of doing a budget is seeing what you actually spend money on,” he said. “You might be surprised to see how much money goes into eating out and to subscription services like Netflix, Hulu, etc. These aren’t big costs but over time they add up.”

From there, they can move on to setting goals and saving to meet those goals.

“One of the things that people who live paycheck-to-paycheck have in common is they don’t have long-term vision,” Brown said. “I like to help my clients set goals. Hopefully they’ll be inspired to save, whether it be for their kids’ birthdays, for a new car or a trip to the Big Island.”

Once clients have established a budget and are successfully putting aside some money for longer-term goals and emergencies, Brown and his officers can guide them through the ins and outs of credit cards and provide advice about investing in stocks.

They also help clients whose credit scores need repair by running credit reports, validating the debts owed and negotiating payment plans.

Brown said he understands that delving into an individual’s finances is personal and, in some cases, uncomfortable. But he urged those who may not know where to start to call for a consultation because the discomfort usually fades to relief once clients take the initiative to gain control of their finances.

“Thinking you’re alone and never going to be able to get out of debt is the hardest part,” he said. “But you are not alone.”

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Category: Community

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