Get financially set with ACS class
March 15, 2012
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (Mar. 15, 2012) -- Almost everyone can learn something at Army Community Service's upcoming "Where's Your Money?" class, scheduled for 6:30-8 p.m. on March 22 at the Bowden Community Center.
Mike Burden, the ACS financial readiness program manager, said the class will cover topics such as credit, mortgages, automobile financing and credit cards. The class will include information about getting out of debt, as well as principles that will help Soldiers and Family members stay out of debt.
"The class is for everybody, regardless of (their) financial situation," Burden explained.
He said many Soldiers start receiving their first regular paycheck when they join the Army, but most of them have little experience managing that kind of money. Sometimes, when they start receiving that check, Soldiers will buy an expensive car or something else they really don't need.
"Sometimes people do things they regret… and get themselves in debt," he said.
This leads some people into what Burden calls "the cycle of debt." If a person is short on cash, they'll use credit to cover the difference. This increases the debt and usually starts the cycle over. Burden said he will discuss this cycle in the class.
"I think people will get the most value out of what we do during the questions part of the class," he added. "I'll say something about credit scores and someone will ask a question and then that generates other questions."
Burden said he likes for the audience to participate in the class, even if that means they disagree with him, because he likes to hear about the experiences of others.
"Even though we are certified financial counselors, we don't know everything," he said.
The class was scheduled after normal working hours to make it convenient for Soldiers and spouses to attend together, Burden said.
"Some people have actually walked to the community center," he said. "We try to make it as painless as possible. It's very casual."
After the presentation, if people want more personalized assistance, they can make an appointment with Burden or one of the other certified financial counselors in ACS. This gives Family members an opportunity to speak with an adviser in private.
"It's embarrassing for people to come talk to a total stranger about personal finances because they have problems," Burden said. "But it doesn't take more than a day or two to get an appointment and it's all confidential."
Burden said he had even met clients outside the office if coming to ACS was a concern for them.
ACS certified financial counselors provide classes almost every quarter. Some the other classes offered are about home buying and selling, investing and the Thrift Savings Plan.
For more information, or to register for the class, call 255-9631.