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Military OneSource Tip of the Week - It's Time for Your Annual Financial Check-up!

Source: Military Community and Family Policy (MC&FP) Weekly eNewsletter

The military's personal financial management programs can help you learn how to reduce debt, save more, and keep your finances in order. They can also help you get on your feet, start investing for the future, and be more financially sound.

  • Give you personal finance basics. Counselors can go over your finances and suggest ways to pay down debt. They can also teach you about savings, investments, and making a family budget.
  • Help you file consumer complaints. If there's something on your credit that you don't think is correct, you can go to your financial management counselor for help.
  • Offer up-to-date savings advice. The programs can give you information about Savings Deposit Program for eligible deployed personnel and investment programs like the Thrift Savings Program.
  • Help you deal with credit issues. Counselors can help you write letters and contact creditors to repair your credit and help you clean up your credit report.
  • Talk to you about consumer laws. Consumers are more protected than they think. Counselors can help you understand consumer rights and how to get the best interest rates on loans (although they can't offer legal advice).
  • Help you with banking matters. Everyone has done it: a check bounces, and the fees add up. Counselors can help you avoid undue charges by helping you keep your accounts current.
  • Talk with you about whether or not to make large purchases. If you're thinking of buying a car or getting a personal loan, a financial counselor can talk with you about whether this step makes financial sense for you right now.
  • Help you plan to save for a home or car. If you decide to make a large purchase, but don't have the finances for it, a counselor can help you make a plan to save.
  • Plan for the future. If you're having a baby, you can talk to a counselor about the best options for a savings account or college fund for your child.
  • Prepare for relocation. Be prepared for your next Permanent Change of Station move by saving and by researching your home options. Your counselor can help you make financial decisions to ease the transition.

Programs by Service branch

Check with your Family Support Center for information about your Service branch's financial management program. You can also learn more from your Service branch's family support website:

Army
Army Community Service (ACS) Financial Readiness Program
(click on "Family Programs and Services" and "Family Programs")
Each command has a Command Financial Specialist (CFS), and Personal Financial Managers (PFMs) are available through the Army Community Service Center.

Marine Corps
Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS) Personal Financial Management Program
Provides financial education and counseling through Personal Financial Management Specialists at local Marine Corps Community Services centers and Command Financial Specialists within commands. Classes and workshops cover issues such as financial planning, investment planning, money management, and retirement and estate planning.

Navy
Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) Personal Financial Management Program (PFM)
(click on "Personal Finances")
The PFM provides education and personalized financial coaching to service members and families; help with financial planning, credit/debt management, CSB/REDUX, the Thrift Savings Program, car buying, insurance, savings and investments, deployment cycle finances, home buying, and personal banking.

The program also provides education forums at career intervals, including Recruit Training, Initial Skill Training, Petty Officer Indoctrination, First Term and Mid-Career Exploration Workshops, Transition Assistance Program, and Pre-Retirement seminars.

Air Force
Airman and Family Readiness Centers can guide you to resources that help you manage debt, begin saving, protect against identity theft, and secure your family's future. Air Force bases offer beginner financial classes to help you set up a budget, live within your means, and learn the basics of taxes and investing.

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