Letter to Airmen: Personal Financial Management

Gen. T. Michael Moseley, USAF Chief of Staff and Michael W. Wynne, Secretary of the Air Force

Air Force Mission success begins with you – the individual Airman.
All Airmen must possess constant professional and personal situational
awareness to ensure positive impact on their unit’s mission. Although
we often see our professional life in a very disciplined way, we
sometimes don’t realize how our personal well-being affects our job
performance. Being on solid financial footing is one way you can
positively affect your life.

For example, hurricane season is now upon us. We urge you, particularly
if you live in an area prone to nature’s fury, to examine how prepared
you are to protect your family financially. One of the lessons learned
from the past year’s natural disasters is that after the disaster is
not the time to assess your insurance needs. Too many of our teammates,
including retirees, were caught unprepared and now are bearing an
avoidable financial burden.

All Air Force members, whether living on base or off, should consider
their family’s needs for adequate personal property (renter’s)
insurance. Make a detailed inventory of your personal property – even a
simple videotaping could help. If you are a homeowner, consider
purchasing flood insurance. Finally, don’t forget comprehensive
coverage for your cars (liability insurance won’t pay for a
storm-damaged vehicle). Remember the adage, “chance favors the

Once you have protected your family through insurance, turn your
attention to other facets of personal financial management. Air Force
Family Support Centers possess a wealth of information to educate you
on the many tools available to help you manage debt, begin saving,
protect against identity theft and secure your family’s future. Your
local JAG office can help with consumer and debt problems as well.
Moreover, every Air Force base offers beginner financial classes to
help you setup a realistic household budget, live within your means,
and learn the basics of taxes and investing. Though it seems like a
long way off, investing today will help you maximize the cumulative
effects of a disciplined savings plan for your family.

As John Wayne once said, “The fastest way to double your money is to
fold it over one time. Then put it where it will grow.” Along those
lines, the Air Force offers the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) which allows
your money to grow tax-deferred while being automatically deducted from
your pay through allotments – this is an easy way to invest your
money systematically.

We want confident and proud Airmen. When your personal life is in
order, you are a better warfighter for the Joint Team. Gaining and
retaining control of your family’s personal finances will provide you
the right situational awareness to truly focus on the professional side
of your life. If you want to be secure tomorrow, the time to start
acting is today!