By Shawn MorrisJanuary 11, 2008
FORT DIX, N.J. (Army News Service, Jan. 11, 2008) -- Suze Orman delivered a high-energy crash course in personal finance Jan. 11 at Fort Dix's Timmermann Center.
It was standing room only as nearly 1,000 service members and civilians spent an hour listening to Orman's patented blend of home-spun horse sense and time-tested techniques.
"When you are happy, when you are powerful, when you are secure in who you are, then you are ready to make money," she explained.
Orman should know, having authored six consecutive New York Times bestsellers and hosting the weekly Suze Orman Show Saturday nights on CNBC. The two-time Emmy Award winner is one of television's most popular personal-finance gurus.
Orman kicked off her appearance with an enthusiastic, "Hooah!" promising to "make sure everybody leaves this place 'Army Strong.'"
"Whenever I'm asked to serve those who keep me safe, it is the greatest honor," Orman told the crowd. "What you give us is something money could never buy, and that's our freedom."
"Our men and women in the United States military have what it takes to not only save lives, but to save money," she added.
Orman spoke of eliminating credit card debt, building a better credit rating, the benefits of investing in real estate and the Thrift Savings Plan, and other topics of concern to service members and civil servants.
She also autographed 700 copies of her latest book, "The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous and Broke," which were given free of charge to those willing to complete both a Military Saves "Saver Pledge" card and a Fort Dix Army Community Service (ACS) Community Needs Assessment form.
"Military Saves supports our troops and their families by involving all levels of leadership in an intentional, sustained effort to create a culture that encourages our members to save and build wealth and avoid the downward spiral of debt," said U.S. Undersecretary of Defense David S. C. Chu in an Oct. 17, 2007, memorandum. "We know that financial readiness affects military readiness by reducing stress that can distract from the mission."
"Changing our financial culture is a formidable task and requires everyone to take personal responsibility for adopting a 'military saver' lifestyle," he added.
Orman's appearance at Fort Dix is scheduled to be broadcast on CNBC to coincide with Military Saves Week 2008, which runs Feb. 24 through March 2.
"I am so happy we were able to get her here to stress these points to the Soldiers," said Bobby Brown, Personal Finance Management/Army Emergency Relief officer with Fort Dix ACS.
Brown deals with Soldiers in need of financial assistance on a daily basis, including many National Guard and Reserve troops who have been mobilized for active-duty service.
"At that point, life changes," he explained. "You're going to get paid whatever your rank is. You have to make a big adjustment."
"You must make a lifestyle change once you're activated," he added.
Changing one's lifestyle to achieve financial freedom is something Orman advocates.
"The more money you make, the more money you spend; that needs to change, and that needs to change today," she said. "It is your duty to make sure you give as much attention to your money as you do your mission."
"When you do it with your heart and you do it with integrity, you can accomplish anything," she added.
Heart and integrity are traits with which many of the audience members are familiar, and most seemed pleased with the opportunity to spend time with Orman.
"I'm really familiar with her strategies and tips, but to hear it live, it has a different impact on you. She's very motivating," said Pfc. Leon Weathersby, Fort Dix Warrior Transition Unit.
"I thought it was an outstanding event," said Air Force Lt. Col. Troy Sanders, McGuire Air Force Base comptroller. "We have a responsibility for our financial security. It's part of being a good military member."
"This would be very helpful for the younger Soldiers who are piling on debt," said Staff Sgt. Franklin Peterson, 191st Military Police Company.
"A lot of civilians think military (members) make a lot of money. That's just not true," explained Patricia Arnold, a retired civil servant. "More people should think about their future than about today."
(Shawn Morris serves on the Fort Dix garrison public affairs staff.)