NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Installation commanders are providing seminars, activities and education events to all Airmen and Department of Defense civilian employees in order to emphasize the importance of financial resilience.
The ultimate aim of the program is to make achievable recommendations to Airmen and their families, on how they can be encouraged to save and manage their finances for the long term.
“Largely, we are not doing enough as a whole to prepare our [children] to handle their finances responsibly,” said Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Lofgren, United States Air Warfare Center commander. “We don’t teach finances in our schools, and it’s not a required class for most degrees in college. For the most part, it is left up to the individual to learn proper financial management skills on his or her own. The complexity of our economy makes it even harder to do that.”
Due to the government shutdown, the financial resilience seminar that was scheduled for Oct. 2 was cancelled. Although there are limited outlets for Airmen to learn about finances, there is still a need for them to take the initiative to learn how to save money. A large problem among Airmen is credit card debt.
“Although credit stimulates the economy, credit is not money,” said Quan Franklin, 99th Force Support Squadron community readiness specialist. “Credit needs to be used judiciously. Many Airmen and their families are using credit for everyday purchases and basic living expenses which sometimes lead to overspending.”
Airmen usually have to learn how to properly manage their finances on their own. The Nellis Airman and Family Readiness Center can inform Airmen about financial problems through courses they offer.
“[The Airman and Family Readiness Center] offers a variety of financial classes and workshops to assist Airmen and their families in managing their finances,” Franklin said. “We offer classes on budgeting, savings, investing, credit and goal setting just to name a few. We also offer one-on-one financial consultation geared toward members’ individual financial situation. Our goal is to help members and their families maintain financial readiness and build resiliency by providing financial services to Airmen and their families.”
The key to budgeting is proper planning. Knowing what your finances look like is important to reach financial goals. Airmen should avoid putting themselves in a situation where they overspend.
With the holidays are right around the corner, Airmen might be tempted to buy gifts on their credit cards, which can lead to an increased amount of debt if not handled properly.
“Airmen tend to overspend by charging many of their gift purchases to their credit card,” Franklin said. “Airmen should be careful during the holidays of stores and malls offering special pricing and discounts on items in order to lure people to open new lines of credit.”
Many Airmen do not know consequences associated with having poor finances. According to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Article 134 states that dishonorably failing to pay debt has a maximum punishment of a bad conduct discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for six months.
“All Air Force personnel are expected to satisfy their financial obligations in a proper and timely manner,” said Master Sgt. Ashika Dyson, 99th Comptroller Squadron first sergeant. “It is imperative for members to seek help before they find themselves in serious financial hardship. Supervisors and First Sergeants will refer members to appropriate base agencies to assist, when it is brought to their awareness. As for Commanders, they will consider whether administrative or disciplinary action is appropriate when dealing with member’s financial irresponsibility’s.”
AFI 1-1 outlines failure to satisfy just financial obligations is not consistent with the standards of conduct expected of Air Force members. This is why it is important to maintain good finances.
Airmen are reminded that there are resources available to help. The A&FRC will be offering a Lunch and Learn Class on “Savings for the Holidays and Tips to make your Holiday great while staying on a Budget.” This class is being offered on Nov. 6 and is offered at 12 p.m. through 1 p.m. Members are also welcome to join the Airman and Family Readiness Center for a Lunch and Learn on Debt Management: The Power of Powerpay.org, which is being offered at on Nov. 13, from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
To register for classes and more information on future personal financial management classes, contact the A&FRC at (702)-652-3327.