By Karl Weisel (Wiesbaden Family and MWR)June 18, 2019
WIESBADEN, Germany - People sometimes wonder why they don't teach financial readiness in high school. For all of the academic know-how acquired through the formative years, learning how to manage one's finances is not a requirement for graduation from high school.
"It is critical that Soldiers, and all individuals for that matter, understand the importance of establishing sound personal financial habits early in their careers," said Roy Kaiser, a personal financial counselor with Wiesbaden Army Community Service.
"Whether it is the need to establish and maintain an effective budget and spending plan to minimize debt or the need to begin building retirement assets for a comfortable retirement, far too many individuals do not receive this type of training until it is too late," said Kaiser. "Catching up (building financial resources for retirement) is difficult for those who delay even a few years."
As most people know, Army Community Service offers a wealth of free classes aimed at helping community members become more financially literate.
"Additionally, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016, which established the Blended Retirement System, revolutionized how the Army conducts financial literacy training," said Federica LeMauk, ACS Financial Readiness Program manager.
While ensuring that Soldiers were fully informed and educated about the new Blended Retirement System took priority under the auspices of the new guidance, Army officials have been equally engaged in increasing efforts to ensure that military members receive the "16 Touchpoints" (personal financial training) now required throughout a Soldier's career, LeMauk explained.
As part of the overall holistic approach to helping individuals gain the skills and information needed to ensure financial security -- including individual counseling, inprocessing training and unit training -- ACS will be offering six recurring one-and-a-half hour "Financial Touchpoint Training" sessions throughout the year covering various financial concepts. The sessions, open to all interested Soldiers, civilians and family members, will be held on the first and third Tuesdays of the month in Room 007 in Building 1023 West on Clay Kaserne.
LeMauk pointed out that the classes are mandatory for some Soldiers at different points in their careers.
Making the Most of my Thrift Savings Plan (mandatory for Soldiers as Vesting in TSP)
Financial Planning, Investment Options and Tax Considerations (mandatory for Soldiers as Soldiers Entitled to Continuation Pay)
Steps to Financial Planning, Saving and Investing (mandatory for Soldiers up to E-5 and 0-4 being promoted)
Credit, Debt Management and Major Purchases (mandatory for Soldiers at their first duty station and any Soldier experiencing financial difficulties)
Love and Money: Financial Education for Couples (mandatory for Soldiers getting married or in a new relationship)
Budgeting for Baby: Financial Planning for New Parents (mandatory for Soldiers/Spouses expecting the first baby)
"The fundamental concepts presented in this series of mandatory and voluntary training provide an initial base of knowledge for those early in their careers, as well as key information needed by those progressing through careers," said Kaiser.
"The training is equally important to both those who intend to retire from the military and those who intend to re-enter the civilian workforce after completing their military commitment," he added.
Community members can call ACS at (0611) 143-548-9201 or visit the Wiesbaden Family and MWR home page at wiesbaden.armymwr.com to view the calendar for details on upcoming classes.
"Your personal financial managers and counselors are available through your Family Center for education and training at each stage of your journey," according to Office of Financial Readiness officials. "Turn to them to learn more about money management, including saving, investing, retirement planning, and credit and debt management."
Financial Readiness Information is also available through the Military OneSource home page at http://www.militaryonesource.mil/financial-and-legal.