By Mike Egami, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public AffairsDecember 22, 2009
SCHOFIELDAca,!E+BARRACKS, Hawaii - Committed to keeping Soldiers and their families strong, Army Community Service (ACS) offers invaluable financial readiness programs for the returning Soldier and family.
When returning from deployment, Soldiers are often faced with difficult financial changes. The loss of benefits such as Family Separation Allowance, Hazardous Duty Pay, and no longer being in a tax-free environment are some major changes.
Enter ACS accredited financial counselors, who offer personal financial counseling.
"We are accredited by the Association of Financial Counseling, Planning and Education and certified as financial planners providing education, not financial services," said Robin Sherrod, supervisor, Financial Readiness Program. "We meet with you one-on-one to discuss your current and future financial plans."
Financial readiness programs are viewed by ACS as being proactive, rather than reactive. The counselors' goals are to provide Soldiers with financial education before they get into financial difficulties.
In addition to financial readiness, ACS has created unique programs for couples to talk about money issues, investing in a home, identity theft, and financial planning for the next deployment.
"These are our ways of taking care of our military ohana in Hawaii," Sherrod said.
Other unique opportunities for the financially strapped family struggling during the holidays are the Holiday Food Voucher Program, which offers a $25 or more commissary voucher; the Emergency Food Voucher Program, for the less than fortunate who run out of food before the next paycheck; and the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, which offers supplemental vouchers at the commissary.
Financially struggling Soldiers and families are selected by an ACS unit service coordinator (USC) who works with unit commanders.
For additional information or to sign up for financial readiness classes, call ACS at 808-655-4ACSAca,!E+(4227), or visit www.mwrarmyhawaii.com.
(Editor's Note: This article ran in the Hawaii Army Weekly's redeployment insert, which was published Nov. 20. To see the entire insert, click here. The insert starts on page 14.)