Financial readiness training provides peace of mind to Soldiers, spouses
July 12, 2012
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (July 12, 2012) -- For incoming Soldiers, ranks E1 to E4, financial readiness training is a must -- both figuratively and literally.
The training falls under the Army Community Service's Financial Readiness Program.
"Our mission is to get Soldiers, their Families, civilians and retirees to focus on improving their personal finances and making informed decisions on how to get their money to work for them -- not against them," said Mike Kozlowski, personal financial readiness specialist for ACS.
"Money impacts our lives in some way every day, ranging from making a decision on where to go for lunch to paying our bills -- and everywhere in between," said Kozlowski. "However, for most people, personal finance is little more than a mathematical 'mystery tour.'
"The purpose of the financial readiness training class is to provide Soldiers, and their spouses, with a practical approach to personal financial management so they can gain control over their finances and manage their money more effectively," he added. "Soldiers experiencing problems with their personal finances reduce the mission readiness of their respective units."
Financial readiness training is an eight-hour program that is mandatory for first-term Soldiers ranking from private to specialist or corporal, and it must be completed within 60 days of inprocessing. Lately, however, the office has had trouble getting Soldiers to fulfill this requirement in a timely manner, according to Mike Burden, Financial Readiness Program manager.
"We don't exactly have the easiest time marketing the class to Soldiers," said Burden, adding that the office currently sees Soldiers come in within 60 days of inprocessing at a rate of about 20 to 25 percent.
Incoming Soldiers are not the only Fort Rucker residents eligible to enroll in this class, however.
"Since 'repetition is the mother of all learning,' all Soldiers who feel the need to re-acquaint themselves with the basics of personal financial management should attend this class," said Kozlowski.
"Doing so also puts them in touch with Financial Readiness Program counselors who can provide them with one-on-one financial instruction and counseling, ranging from debt management and budgeting to investing and retirement planning," he said.
The Financial Readiness Program has also made this class available to both civilian contractors and Department of Defense employees, and strongly encourages military spouses to attend.
"In our varied counseling experiences we find that effective communication between spouses about money concerns is crucial to effective personal fiscal management," said Kozlowski, adding that the easing of marital tensions over "money fights" is a significant reward when working with couples.
"Here at ACS's Financial Readiness Program, I would have to say that I gain my reward from a smile on the face of a client who finally understands his or her financial problems always have workable solutions," said Kozlowski.
"The majority of 'working out' your personal financial difficulties and challenges is caught up in your mindset about the thing. It's all about hope -- and my job is to convey it to my clients so they can continue along the path that leads to financial freedom in their lives," he said.
To learn more about financial readiness training, call (334) 255-9631 or (334) 255-2594, or visit the office in Bldg. 5700, Rm. 390. Classes are normally presented the first Friday of each month -- except on holidays -- from 7:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. in the Soldier Service Center in Bldg. 5700; however, this month's session is scheduled for July 13.