Military Saves classes teach dollars, cents

BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., -- The Beale Airman & Family Readiness Center is hosting a day of free financial classes March 1 in recognition of Military Saves Week.

In its sixth year, Military Saves Week is an Office of Secretary of Defense initiative designed to help military members and their families with their financial goals, including building savings and decreasing debt.

In order to address the financial concerns of the Beale community, the A&FRC tailored the classes by evaluating what issues people are making appointments for and what trends they see.

"In the last year, we've seen financial appointments go up 35 percent, but that's not always a bad thing. People are coming in for Thrift Savings Plan or Savings Deposit Plan; people are hungry for this information. People are requesting information on debt management, building an emergency savings in this tight economy and couponing," said Liz Kim, A&FRC financial counselor.

The classes being offered are "Money Personalities" from 9 to 10 a.m., Powering Down Debt and Powering up your Savings" from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., and "Smart Shopping Strategies" from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. Classes are a la carte, so members can sign up for any class of their choosing; there is no requirement to take them all. If there is enough interest in the new classes, the A&FRC will hold the classes again. In addition to the adult classes, the A&FRC is hosting a youth financial awareness class titled "Where Does Money Come From?" from 3:30 to 4:15 p.m. at the Youth Center.

"One of the classes is Money Personalities; it's an interactive class that helps you find out what type of personality you have when it comes to money," said Kim. "This is a good one to bring your partner too because it helps to talk about money in relationships and to know what your strengths are together, especially when each partner is a different money type."

The Shopping Strategies course goes over how to save money using reward cards, coupons and rebates.

"I got excited about that class, because I've always been a couponer, lifelong and I see the value of it," Kim said.

One of the biggest financial concerns Kim sees is the lack of emergency savings. In the past year, she has seen several people come in for a Falcon Loan Program, which allows Air Force personnel to receive an interest-free loan of $500 or less through a streamlined process.

"A military member can only use that option twice in their Air Force career and what we're seeing is Airmen who have already used their total allotment," Kim said. "What that tells me is people don't have $500. It's so important to have an emergency savings; that's the premise that I want to teach people."

For more information on the Military Saves classes, or to sign up, call the Airman & Family Readiness Center at 634-2863.