March 23, 2012

Programs help students find financial peace, resiliency

Sgt. Kelvin Ringold
From left, Tracey Clark, Army Family Team Building and Action Planning coordinator; Stacy Jones, Army Community Service director; Evelyn Uncel, financial counselor and outreach coordinator; Elma Estrada, Survivor Outreach Service coordinator; and Russell Carey, Relocation Mobility and Deployment specialist, offer classes and programs that help develop resiliency in Soldiers, spouses and family members.

Among all the problems that the general public faces, the most overwhelming can be the ones that deal with financial issues. For service members and their loved ones, finding ways to cope with these issues is a crucial part of everyday life, and Army Community Service gives them the extra help they need.

The ACS center here on Fort Huachuca offers the Financial Peace University program to service members, retirees, guardsmen, Department of the Army civilian employees and family members of the aforementioned in an effort to help them achieve financial freedom and peace of mind.

The FPU program is a free, 13-week financial training course held at the Murr Community Center, and taught by world-renowned financial guru Dave Ramsey.

“We are giving people the opportunity to take advantage and learn from this financial expert,” said Evelyn Uncel, a financial counselor at ACS.

Registration for the next FPU will begin around mid-June, and the class is scheduled to be held from 5:30 ““ 7:30 p.m. every Thursday beginning Aug. 16 through Nov. 8.

Ramsey starts with the basics such as how to save money, how to set up an emergency fund and how to budget, Uncel said. Then he advances into saving for a child’s college education, purchasing a home, investing and using the Thrift Savings Plan, she said.

Army Maj. Jennifer Butler, the officer in charge of the 11th Signal Brigade Public Affairs Office, is an alumna of the program.

“I think the best part about the class is how he teaches,” said Butler.

Even if someone has financial knowledge when they begin the class, Ramsey teaches it in a way that refreshes the basics and introduces more advanced money-managing tips, she said.

On the economy, the class would cost upwards of $300. Not only is it free here, but those enrolled receive a free calendar, FPU hardcover book and access to the website. ACS will even provide free child care for those attending the class.

“We love to take care of people,” Uncel said. “If they don’t walk through the door, we can’t help them.”

Another beneficial program offered by the ACS is the Resilient Spouse Academy which is scheduled to be held May 7 ““ 11 from 9 a.m. ““ 3 p.m. in the ACS conference room.

The Resilient Spouse Academy teaches people what their bad thinking habits are, and how to handle different situations, said Uncel.

“This is a perfect segue for spouses that take Financial Peace University to not only learn financial resilience, but also personal resilience,” said Uncel. “You get this phenomenal training from Financial Peace University to get yourself financially secure, and then the Resilient Spouse Academy teaches you how to manage yourself.”

Even though many servicemembers, government employees and their family members are feeling the financial strain of these hard economic times, they do not have to go it alone.

ACS is providing them with programs that help ease financial stresses and help these individuals achieve not only financial success, but also provides them with the means to take charge of their lives.

“These programs not only teach people how to control their money, but also helps them to control their lives,” said Uncel.

Those interested in learning more or signing up for the program can call ACS, 533.2330.

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