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NEWS | April 5, 2007

Expert shares secrets with future military millionaires

By April Blumer 37th Training Wing Public Affairs Office

Fear is the No. 1 reason most Americans never reach their financial goals, according to a financial expert who spoke with the military community March 30 at the Gateway Club on Lackland AFB.

"Financial success is not determined by how much money you make. It is determined by how much courage you have," Kelvin Boston said to the 280 military and civilian attendees from Lackland, Randolph AFB and Fort Sam Houston during his 45-minute, "Moneywise in the Military" presentation.

Mr. Boston is from the PBS series "Moneywise" and author of "Who's Afraid to be a Millionaire?"

One factor in the courage equation is setting economic policies in the home. This bold step takes the control out of the hands of the impulse shoppers and non-incoming earning children in the home.

However, Mr. Boston, warns, "Just because you're single or because you're bringing home the money, don't think that you are setting the economic policy in your household.

"I have some single male friends. They love to live in beautiful condominiums. They like their big, expensive cars. They like to spend a lot of money on clothes. And they're doing this purposely to attract the single woman. So who's setting the economic policies in that household? The single woman. And the lady's not even in the household yet."

Sarah Shirley, the director of the Military Saves program, also addressed the audience during the morning session of the daylong event, sharing information of the new Department of Defense debt-reduction program.

Military Saves is a campaign to help military members get out of debt and save money by educating participants and encouraging them to set and work toward debt-reducing and savings goals.

Through the educational aspect of the program, Ms. Shirley works to ensure military members know about the Savings Deposit Program.

When an Airman receives orders to a combat zone, he can participate in SDP, a DoD savings account. The SDP pays 10 percent interest for the entire deployment, plus an additional 90 days. To sign up for the program, Airmen should contact their finance office.

The audience had two hours to address subject matter experts during the second half of the event. Experts on credit reports, bankruptcy, predatory lending, home ownership, retirement and financial planning fielded questions during hour-long blocks.

An exhibit floor was open throughout the daylong event in which more than 15 financial and governmental agencies provided educational material, including the Texas State Securities Board, U.S. Small Business Administration, Military One Source, USAA and various credit unions.

April is Financial Literacy Month. The program was part of Military Financial Readiness Day.

Programs like Moneywise in the Military is part of the DoD's attempt to help those on the DoD payroll succeed in their missions and careers.

"If you're worried about finances, you're not focused on the mission," said Leslye Arsht, Military Community and Family Policy deputy undersecretary of defense. "Financial readiness equals mission readiness."