Money matters today and tomorrow

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- If given a choice would the average person cut up a twenty dollar bill or a credit card debt?

Tech Sgt. Shawn Jones and Senior Airman Cory Nelson would keep the twenty dollars and cut up their credit card debt, and are learning how through the Airmen and Family Readiness Center.

"I plan on retiring in three years," said Jones, NCO in charge of supply and resources for the 366th Security Forces Squadron. "I figured I would need something to set me up for financial success."

Nelson is ready and able to become familiar with financial responsibility in order to aid him and his family for a successful future.

"I thought it would be best to start now while I'm young," said Nelson, first-term airman and vehicle operator with the 366th Logistics Readiness Squadron. "I want to make a better financial future for my family and me."

The 366th Force Support Squadron's A&FRC has dedicated financial counselors, Susan Rueger and Michelle Lippert, to assist Jones and Nelson with classes or one-on-one counseling for financial management.

"If the person is financially stressed, it bleeds into their work and personal relationships," Lippert said. "If we can help get their finances taken care of, they're more able to take care of the mission and other areas of their personal lives."

Rueger tells of a crowning jewel that all airmen, retirees, civilians and their family members can utilize: the "Credit When Credit is Due" class.

In this Department of Defense program, Airmen like Jones and Nelson will learn how to make a budget, what percent of their income goes to savings, filing bankruptcy, how to buy a car or house and information on credit reports.

Not only will they be learning these concepts, but will also be tested on them. Creditors will acknowledge the airman for taking the time to become smarter with their money; it will benefit them with future purchases.

"We send off a graduation list to the American Center for Credit Education," Lippert said. "The member gets mailed three post cards to send to credit bureaus and [the bureaus] place these cards into the Airman's credit report."

Classes like this are set up to include spouses as well as service members.

"I think it's important for both partners to be on the same page for financial success," said Nelson's wife, Shannon. "Otherwise it could cause a lot of tension in your relationship."

Jones' wife, Tanya, wanted to see how their money was being spent, in order to learn more about financial management.

"My goal is keep classes like this in place," Rueger said. "Interest in ones finances keeps this program running. Prior students showing and telling future students what they learned in class causes future students' interest in taking the class."

If keeping the twenty dollar bill and cutting up the credit card debt sounds like a good idea contact the Airmen and Family Readiness Center at 208-828-2458.