The 86th Force Support Squadron Airman & Family Readiness Center conducted this year’s Military Saves Week, , from Feb 26 to March 2, an annual Department of Defense-wide program where facilitators encourage participants to take the pledge to save. Those who took the pledge will receive emails to keep them on track to achieve their goals.
Classes for the week covered topics like how to travel Europe on a budget, home buying, and retirement planning basics. All the information presented during the week and much more will continue to be available by appointment at the A&FRC, where licensed consultants are prepared to sit down with customers and guide them to their financial goals.
Ruthy Srun, 86th FSS A&FRC community readiness consultant, talked about the importance of being able to handle one’s finances.
“If finances are going wrong, it can impact relationships,” Srun said. “It can impact readiness. It can impact every single part of our lives, and we’re so scared to talk about it sometimes. Sometimes coming out and talking to a group makes people feel more comfortable receiving information.”
During her time at the A&FRC Srun has seen some financial trends.
“In the military, one of the biggest challenges we see is folks not understanding how to save,” Srun said. “We all have the ability to save, but sometimes it can feel overwhelming. Whether you start by saving $10 a month, or $100 a month—it doesn’t matter. Even starting small is going to go a long way.”
Srun encourages anyone to make an appointment at the A&FRC, regardless of status.
“We have folks of all ranks and grades coming in for financial assistance,” Srun said.
Srun said that sometimes people think the A&FRC’s financial counseling is only for those who are having trouble, but that is not true.
“We have a lot of folks come in because they want to be proactive,” Srun said. “They’ve gone as far as they know how to go, and they want to know what else they can do.”
As Srun explained, there’s always more to learn and she highly recommends even financially successful people to come get more information.
“You can always do better,” Srun said. “I feel pretty confident and successful myself, but I’m always the first to read an article about finances and go to a class on a topic I don’t know about. The way finances work changes all the time. Everyone, even experts, always need to get continued education on finances.”
Customers sometimes return to the A&FRC to give an update on how the information helped them. Some of those customers find the information so helpful that they want to help pass it along to others.
“One of our consultants here met with a customer about debt management.” Srun said. “The customer came back and said ‘this was incredibly helpful, and it really made a difference for me.’ Now she’s having us come out and talk to about 100 Airmen in her unit about finances.”
Srun said that people spreading the word and helping others get the same help is exactly what the consultants of the A&FRC want.
“We will come out to units and provide financial education if they invite us,” Srun said. “We’re happy to do that. We want to meet people where they’re at.”