RED CLOUD GARRISON SOUTH KOREA - Warrior Country Soldiers received a wealth of information from Army Community Services and their finance team during a financial conference June 19 at the USAG-Casey Digital Conference Center. The conference, which lasted the entire day, included two guest speakers, Peter Bielagus, a financial coach for young adults, and financial consultant, and Kelvin Boston, financial journalist and author.

Bielagus held a class titled: "Saving Money, It Really Matters," and had a simple lesson, start saving money early. Bielagus explained how important it is to begin saving early and how all young people need to be smart with their money by telling a personal story.

During Bielagus' time in college, he had thousands of dollars saved but in six months he was in credit card debt owing more than $5000. "Start before you need to start," is Bielagus' message about when people should begin saving.

"Many people want to save money for their future, but so many of them make up excuses saying 'it is not a good time right now,'" Bielagus said. "When is a good time to build your financial career' Start before you need to start. The average American starts saving at age 35 and at that point in their life, they have already missed a big payoff."

Boston began his briefing with a simple question: who's afraid to be a millionaire' Boston's inspirational class was given to two groups: one for leaders, and one for lower enlisted Soldiers.
Boston said most Americans are not millionaires because they are afraid of making large financial investments; they are afraid to give their hard earned money away to something they do not understand.

The next reason Boston gave for his theory of why Americans are afraid to be a millionaires is they do not have control of their personal economic policies.

"Most people want to blame the government or the president, but really it is not any of that, it is you not taking control of your personal economic policies," Boston said. "Is President Barack Obama at the car lot with you telling you to buy a new car' You need to set your personal economic policies and not make excuses about why you do not know what is going on with your money. The president is not in charge of your money, neither is your spouse nor the guys on television telling you about Wall Street. You are in charge of your economic policies."

Boston, who joked around with the Soldiers in his class, praised the Soldiers, and also gave them more insight about the financial benefits of staying in the Army,. Boston, asked one of the younger Soldiers in attendance, a private, how much he thought retirement pay was worth. The Soldier answered he was not sure and Boston said to the private, "most Soldiers, when they retire from the Army, find new jobs (i.e., contractor, government, law enforcement) and do not spend their retirement pension. For those who use their money in that manner, their pay is worth more than $3 million."

"I feel I need to tell you about these benefits and programs which will help you financially," Boston said. "Because you defend our country, I would love to see you achieve the American Dream."