FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- It’s important to “pay oneself,” even in a tough economy, according to Army Community Service officials.

Paying oneself involves setting money aside out of each paycheck in order to have a “backup plan” for emergencies, said Mike Burden, ACS Financial Readiness Program manager.

“Whether it’s a money market account, savings account or (Certificate of Deposit), what’s important is that they are putting money into some type of savings,” he said. “It’s always best to plan for those possible emergencies.”

Emergencies can happen at just about any time, Burden added. When a Soldier is deployed and a spouse is left home to handle all the finances, stress can pile up, especially if there isn’t enough money to handle those potential issues.

“When a Soldier is worried about his or her finances back home, that Soldier won’t be focused on the mission,” he said. “That’s a problem for everyone. That’s why communication is one of the most important factors in being financially stable.”

Being able to communicate more frequently and with better technology has helped keep many old problems from hanging around and even heading some off before they become real issues, he added.

“Soldiers have so many more communication options now than they did just a decade ago,” he said. “The Internet is also helping to let them know about potential scams that might come their way. That’s something that can really hurt their credit scores if they get caught up in that.”

Burden explained that there are lots of different companies who offer “free” credit reports and even some who say they can help fix credit scores within “just 30 days.”

However, if Soldiers were to seek actual advice from real and certified financial counselors, like the ones found in ACS, they would find out that fixing a bad credit score will take longer than 30 days, he added.

“We’re all certified financial counselors here and we can help by showing any Soldier or spouse who might be having credit problems what their options are,” he said. “We don’t make the decision for them. They are adults and have to decide for themselves what to do with their money, but we can show them all the best options and make suggestions based on their situations.”

For more information on keeping good credit and handling other financial issues, call 255-9631 or 255-2594.

Page last updated Wed July 27th, 2011 at 00:00