Rito G. Vallez Jr., the Financial Readiness Program Manager with Army Community Service at White Sands Missile Range, NM, said he serves because he wants to make a difference in someone’s life.
Vallez, who started his job as a Financial Counselor at WSMR January 2021, said he wants to help educate Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Retirees, DoD civilians and family members to be financially savvy.
His job includes counseling Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Retirees, DoD civilians, and family members on debt management, credit repair, the Thrift Savings Plan, and provides assistance with creating a budget.
Vallez said his goal for the WSMR community is to increase the financial literacy across the board.
“I want to hopefully make a difference in their lives in a positive way by increasing their financial literacy so they understand the importance of managing personal finance.”
One of the ways he plans on accomplishing that goal is thru an idea he came up with which he calls Financial Readiness Fun Fact Friday, where he will be presenting a financial readiness fact in the hopes of peaking interest for people to come see him and get more information from the program.
He also teaches classes and goes out to the individual units and organizations on post to make presentations.
Vallez helps clients with their personal finance and helps them understand credit, how credit works, and how to attain and keep a good credit score.
“We often get young Soldiers and for many this is their first job, so they have never really had any income coming in,” Vallez said. “Many times they don’t know how to manage it, so we help them establish a budget.”
Vallez said he teaches them to prioritize by teaching them to pay yourself first, put some money aside, create a savings account and an emergency fund.
Vallez, who served in the Army for over 20 years, said he can relate to the Soldiers.
“I understand what they are going through. I understand what it is to PCS from one place to another and to deal with things that may come up,” he said. “I’ve walked in those shoes and I understand.”
In his spare time Vallez enjoys riding motorcycles and spending time with his grandchildren.
One thing he would like everyone to remember is: Pay yourself first and plan for the future.
Speaking on financial planning, Vallez said that many people put it off and the next thing you know you are 54 years old and you look back and realize that you wish you would have made a financial plan.
“The earlier you start planning and investing, the better off you will be in the future.”
“I can relate, because I made those mistakes,” he said. “I’m here to help.”