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Home : News : News
NEWS | Dec. 31, 2019

Learn to keep debt, budget under control with JBSA financial wellness classes

By Lori A. Bultman 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Bad credit? Out of control debt? Having trouble living within your means? Or, maybe you have everything under control but would like to know if you could be doing things better.

The Joint Base San Antonio Military and Family Readiness Centers have the perfect financial wellness classes for you.

The centers offer a wide variety of classes that are open to Department of Defense identification cardholders, to include:  debt and credit management, how to budget, understanding your credit report and score and many more. Classes are offered throughout the year and are intended to teach attendees how to get their debt under control, manage their credit score and create a spending plan they can live with.

“The ‘How to Budget’ course is the first one people should take,” said Roy Bolton, JBSA-Fort Sam Houston community readiness consultant. “If they don’t have a budget prepared, how do they know what they can afford? How do they know they can buy a new car or a house if they don’t know what they have to spend?”

Without adequate planning, making a big purchase can put folks into a downward spiral quickly.

“They buy a new car and don’t have the money to pay the note, gas, insurance and tag, so they end up getting an emergency or payday loan. Then, they fall behind and can’t catch up,” he said. “Not everyone needs an expensive car or a large house.”

The MFRC also offers a “How to Buy a Car” class to assist with calculating the actual cost of owning a car.

“I would like to see more people in these classes,” Bolton said. “I would like to see more spouses attending as well.”

Bolton said it is important that couples come in together to learn how to share information and plan purchases together.

“We would rather see them work together,” he said. “If we are only seeing one and not the other, how can I help them budget and plan. Both spouses should know what is going on with their finances. One might deploy, and the spouse needs to know how to make things work while the other is gone.”

It is also important for children to understand the family’s finances.

“I leave it up to the parents to decide how involved their children should be in the family’s finances, but it is important that they explain to their children what they can and cannot afford,” Bolton said. “It is hard to say that to your children, ‘We cannot afford to do that,’ but sometimes it needs to be done so they understand.”

“The intention of these classes and workshops is to help people learn,” Bolton said. “Everyone came from a different background; everyone has different ideas of what is important. We do not judge or make assumptions. We are here to assist and find the most efficient way to do things financially by creating a plan through the use of budget worksheets. The results of this planning will assist with establishing short-, mid-, and long-term goals. We also get people to think about paying themselves first and generating a retirement plan.”

Bolton also assists participants with planning for raises and windfalls.

“When you get a raise, you should not think about spending it,” he said. “The whole purpose of the courses offered by the MFRC is to get people to think differently about money. You have to figure out what you can spend, what you should save, and much debt you can pay off with a raise.”

Bolton encourages people to attend the centers’ financial wellbeing courses before they have a dilemma.

“It is much easier to resolve an issue early, rather than wait until it is affecting your job or security clearance,” he said. “We encourage anyone who feels they could benefit from these courses to call and register now, before they get overwhelmed.”

For those who are unable to attend a scheduled class, community readiness consultants are available for one-on-one sessions, or they can provide training at unit locations.

“We are ready to assist and provide all of our training individually or in a classroom setting,” Sarah Henson, JBSA-Randolph community readiness consultant, said. “We realize that, due to mission requirements and time constraints, attending classes at our centers may be challenging, so we are prepared to bring these classes to the units. We want to make sure we are doing all we can to meet the needs of our military members and their families where personal finance is concerned.”

For a full list of available classes, to register, or to schedule an on-site training, call JBSA-Fort Sam Houston at 210-221-2705; JBSA-Randolph at 210-652-5321; or JBSA-Lackland at 210-671-3722.