VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
At the start of a new year people often set goals for themselves, go to the gym more, eat less fast food, or save money. The Airman and Family Readiness Center, here, may not be able to help anyone work out more or eat less junk food, but when it comes to saving money, they are a veritable bank of information.
With tax season approaching and annual raises hitting people’s bank accounts, it is important to have a plan in place for saving all that extra money or paying off debt.
“Very often we find that people need a personal budget, they need to be aware of what they are spending, where it’s going and an overall picture of their finances,” said Sue Voshell, 30th Force Support Squadron personal financial readiness manager. “It makes such a big difference. Our Airmen are at all different levels of preparation, some have never had an ongoing paycheck and for others, it’s old hat and they have done it for years.”
Regardless of the Airman’s experience with financial readiness and planning, the resources are easily available.
“Have specific goals in place, whether it is to pay off the car, or pay off a specific credit card,” said Jimmy Camacho, 30th FSS Air Force aid officer. “You can talk to almost anybody, and if they don’t have a plan for the money it just gets absorbed and not used for a specific purpose. Plan for the money – pay a bill, take a vacation. The hardest thing with financial planning is having a goal. We can help them set that up here and check in to make sure they are on track. It is easy to do if you set a goal.”
Having the ability to plan for the short, medium and the long term will help put things into perspective, enabling better execution of the objectives.
“Make sure that you have addressed the short, medium, and long term goals,” said Voshell. “With our long term goals we want to make sure we have considered retirement, if you stay in of course we have the Thrift Saving Plan that is available. But before we start saving we need to make sure we have eliminated any large debt. On our Thrift Savings Plan we are netting maybe five percent interest on our investment, but on our credit card we are paying 15 percent interest on the debt we owe.”
Setting specific goals will help you accomplish them, be they financial or otherwise.
“Think of something specific that you want to achieve, like ‘I want to save 1000 dollars by the end of the year’ or ‘I want to pass my promotion test’,” said Voshell. “These aren’t pie-in-the-sky ‘I’d like to be a millionaire’ goals. With specificity we can ask ourselves, ‘how much time do I have?’ and ‘what do I need to succeed by the timeframe I have?’ We really encourage taking the bigger goal and breaking it down to realistic objectives.”