JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas –
Through the Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Military and Family Readiness Center Financial Readiness Program, anyone with base access can develop a budget and become better educated about wise financial practices.
Various stages of education are offered through the program, from basic classes on car-buying and how to develop savings, to advanced concepts such as establishing a Thrift Savings Plan.
The goal is to make sure Airmen have the financial tools and knowledge necessary to implement a successful and significantly stress-reduced lifestyle, Criselda Smith, JBSA-Randolph MFRC community readiness consultant, said. This task is accomplished by making sure Airmen feel secure in their knowledge of monetary decisions so they may focus on their Air Force mission.
With so many people lacking education on financial management, the readiness aspect of the program is to help Airmen avoid budget problems and to develop financial stability, Mike Bell, JBSA-Randolph MFRC community readiness consultant, said. Classes focus on basic things that make a big impact.
"A lot of people learn more through in-depth, one-on-one budgeting appointments," Smith added. "We break it down and show them where paychecks are being spent and people are often shocked about where their money goes every month. We develop realistic goals to effectively manage a budget at that point."
Despite the effectiveness of individual counseling appointments and education from classes, Smith said many hesitate to participate due to the private nature of finances.
"I think oftentimes the biggest dilemma we have is that finances are understandably personal," she said. "However, the environment the financial team tries to create is one where people can come in and be honest and really set themselves up for success."
Direct advice about important monetary decisions is not a service included in the financial readiness program.
"We can't point people any one direction regarding their financial decisions," Bell said. "We simply let them know what their options are and how to view them productively."
Smith said "planning ahead" now with a variety of different options to compensate for continually changing circumstances is essential to maintaining solid finances in the future.
"Many people are reactive with their finances, and our goal is to get them to be proactive," she added. "Learn about it before you're paying for it. We want to make sure people who come to us are ahead of the game."
For more information about classes offered through the financial readiness program, or to set up an appointment for financial counseling, call the MFRC at 652-5321.