A key contributor to fleet and family readiness is having a solid financial plan in place. Fleet & Family Support has a number of resources that can help you manage your money and inform you and your command about scams and policies that might affect your financial health.
The negative effects of poor financial health include diminished operational readiness, loss of security clearance, decreased choice of duty locations, administrative discharge, anxiety, stress, domestic violence, and wasted man hours. Sound personal financial management provides freedom of choice for service members and their families.
We have Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education (AFCPE) accredited financial counselors on staff to assist you! Our highly qualified Personal Financial Managers (PFMs) provide courses and individual consultations for personal financial management, as well as provide General Military Trainings (GMTs) and Command Financial Specialist (CFS) Training.
Personal Financial Management
Fleet & Family Support Personal Financial Managers (PFMs) give service members the ability to be proactive with their financial future by giving them the tools to manage their finances and build a healthy financial future. Our PFMs focus on personal needs and tailor a plan to meet your family’s situation and goals.
To get a better understanding of your financial status, the Financial Planning Worksheet is available for an interactive way to organize your financial data.
PFMs can help you develop your personal spending and financial plan of action, as well as provide education on a variety of financial topics to include: Home Buying, Car Buying, Retirement Planning and Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), Career Status Bonus/REDUX, Credit and Debt Management, Consumer Awareness, and Identity Theft. They can also help you pull your credit report and credit score for free.
Group Instructions & General Military Trainings (GMTs)
Fleet & Family Support also offers group instruction for Financial Management. PFMs provide instruction on topics such as Home Buying, Car Buying, Retirement Planning and Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), Career Status Bonus/REDUX, Credit and Debt Management, Consumer Awareness, Identity Theft, and Million Dollar Sailor.
Million Dollar Sailor (MDS)
Million Dollar Sailor is a 2 1/2-day training program that provides service members and their families with sound financial management skills that they can utilize throughout their military career (and beyond) to achieve financial freedom. Million Dollar Sailor is an active learning experience, whereby attendees will be involved in multiple learning events that will enable them to practice and apply financial knowledge and skills. Topics covered include: Millionaire Money Management, Military Pay, Consumer Awareness, Credit and Debt Management, Home Buying, Car Buying, Insurance, Banking and Financial Services, and Building Wealth. Offered quarterly.
DoD Savings Deposit Program (SDP)
If you are deploying to a combat zone or in support of a contingency operation, you are authorized to make deposits (up to $10,000 maximum) through the Savings Deposit Program (SDP), and earn a guaranteed 10% interest per year. $1,000 in interest over a year is a pretty good return on your investment.
Military Saves is a DoD Annual Campaign designed to encourage service members to create or continue a personal savings plan. Service members just like you are proving you can build wealth on a military income. From junior enlisted ranks to stay-at-home moms, from teenage family members to senior military leaders, retirees, veterans and contractors, those who serve America are serving their futures by paying down their debt and creating savings to reach their financial goals. For more information, visit www.militarysaves.org and take the Saver’s Pledge.
Preparing Finances for Deployment
If you are scheduled for an extended deployment, chances are family members will need to take responsibility for the household finances. To ease the stress of the deployment, the following tips are offered as a starting point:
- Gather key estate-planning documentation such as your will. If you need assistance with this, contact the JAG legal affairs office on base.
- Grant a power of attorney to your spouse or other family member who will be handling the finances.
- Update your beneficiary designations on your insurance and retirement accounts.
- Automate your bills, especially if you are a single Sailor.
- Contact your service providers to cut or reduce any services that are unnecessary during the deployment. This would include things like extended cable, internet, or cell phone service. Some cellular phone companies will allow service members to suspend service for up to 18 months.
- Adjust your auto insurance. If there is an extra vehicle that will not be driven, you may be able to get a discount if the car is not being used.
- Get the right insurance on your home or apartment. If you will be renting or subletting, make sure you have the proper coverage.
- Know the tax-filing rules. You do not have to file taxes while you're deployed to a combat zone, in fact, you and your spouse can file up to 180 days after you leave the eligible combat zone.
- Build up an extra emergency fund. It is always important to be prepared in the event of an emergency.
- Create a notebook of key information that may be needed in your absence. An inventory of your financial accounts, how to access them, and passwords should be a vital part of this notebook.
- Source: Kiplinger/BBB Personal Finance for Military Families Magazine, 2009, Washington Editors, Inc.
Fleet & Family Support Personal Financial Managers (PFMs) facilitate Command Financial Specialist (CFS) Training courses and are available for Command General Military Trainings (GMTs).
Command Financial Specialist (CFS) Training
During Command Financial Specialist Training, your members (E6+ or E5 with a waiver) are trained with basic financial management skills and the understanding necessary to implement education, training and counseling at their command. Functions of a CFS include assisting the command in establishing, organizing, and administering the Command PFM program; disseminating financial management information within the command; maintaining current PFM resources and contact with Fleet & Family Support PFMs; providing basic counseling to command members as requested; maintaining records of training, counseling, and referrals; and ensuring confidentiality of counseling records.
Commands must have one CFS for 25 or more personnel, and one for every additional 75 personnel. CFS candidates are motivated and financially stable, and have at least one year left at their command. If you would like to become a CFS, make a request through your command. To register, please call 866-854-0638.
Quarterly Financial Forum
Every quarter Fleet & Family Support financial educators host a forum for senior leadership, career counselors, CFSs, and any interested party to stay abreast of financial topics affecting our military community. It also meets the requirement for continuing education for CFSs. Please contact your local Fleet & Family Support Center for dates.