NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. – Starting in basic military training, through technical school, to their first duty station and beyond, Airmen are advised to stay in control of their finances.
According to Air Force Instruction 36-2906, Personal Financial Responsibility, military members, “will pay their just financial obligations in a proper and timely manner.”
Becoming financially irresponsible comes with consequences, especially in the military.
Master Sgt. Cristy Anderson, 53rd Test and Evaluation Group first sergeant, says leadership does not want to get their Airmen in trouble. Instead, they encourage them to contact their leadership before there is a financial problem so administrative punishment doesn’t become a factor.
“We can’t make someone do an allotment, we can’t make you pay your bill, [or] order you to do that. But if you’re not going to do it, there will be a consequence,” she said.
“We want to help you; we want to get you on the right road to success. If we continue to have a problem, then some people may document a verbal [counseling], and if that still doesn’t fix it, you are looking at a [letter of counseling], [letter of reprimand], or all the way up to an Article 15.
“Discipline is progressive, you may find yourself discharged and out the gate” Anderson said.
Letting your finances get out of hand and falling into trouble can not only affect your military career, but it can affect your life outside of uniform as well.
“[Financial trouble] can harm your credit score, and these days your credit score means a lot,” said Quan Franklin, airman and family readiness center community readiness specialist. “A poor credit score can affect security clearances, loans, rent applications and more.”
If you find yourself in financial trouble, there are programs and strategies in place to get you back on track.
“Once you set a goal and determine that this is what you want to do, what you need to do to get to where you want to be, then it is possible,” Franklin said. “It first starts with the individual.”
“A lot of times a lot of problems can be solved by starting a budget” she added. If you need help preparing a budget, the AFRC can assist you.
Preventing financial problems is your best defense, but if you find yourself facing money problems, keeping your leadership informed and being open to help can prevent many consequences.