YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea - Amid continuing concern about the financial world, Army Community Service invited two renowned financial planners, Kelvin Boston and Peter Bielagus to offer financial advice to the Yongsan community.

A three-hour 'Moneywise' presentation attracted more than 50 people in the ACS building June 17. Boston originally launched his tour in 2000 with the intention of empowering average Americans with financial information, he said.

Boston emphasized that military service members were in an ideal position to become financially successful.

"In the U.S. people are getting laid off right now," he said. "But you have job security with pay raises and a potential pension plan after 20 years of service."

The three most important factors in becoming financially successful are facing the fear of losing money from an investment, being in control of your economic policy, and observing others that have become successful, Boston explained.

"Here's a rule of thumb," he said. "I call it the power of ten: save ten percent of your income, for an annual ten percent return for ten years."

Some of his other advice included taking advantage of military benefits, saving, and getting a college degree.

Bielagus set the theme of his lecture as 'being ready [financially] before you need to be.' He suggested two ways to become financially prepared for a better future: building good credit and having a budget plan that works.

"Credit ratings can affect your future in a variety of ways," he said. "Employers look at your credit rating before hiring, banks look at your credit ratings to determine your interest rates on loans, and insurance companies look at your credit ratings to set the right premiums."

Bielagus outlined six ways of increasing one's credit scores:
* Fix mistakes on your credit report
* Pay off debt
* Establish a consistent payment history
* Stop applying for new credit cards
* Don't cancel credit cards, they will lower your score
* Set your children as authorized user of your credit card, which will allow your children to inherit your good credit score

He also encouraged the audience to refrain from unnecessary consumption. He advised Soldiers and Family members to make a list of what they want, what they do not need, and what they are actually spending money on.

"By making such lists, you'll realize that you are spending too much money on thing that you don't need," he said. "Instead of saving money for things that you really want like a car or a house, you'll notice that Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts, Krispy Kreme and Marlboro are taking a chunk out of your budget."

A lively question and answer session followed the presentation.

"I think today's presentation was great," Brady Lawrence, a retired Servicemember who attended the lecture, said. "Presentations like this help raise the quality of life for Soldiers and their Families."

"We are a home of the free because of the brave," Boston said in closing. "American would not be here if it weren't for your sacrifice. This is our way of paying back for your service. We want to raise you up because you have raised us up."

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