DoD-Sponsored Financial Seminar Matches Dollars With Sense

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 2, 2006 - About 200 military and family members received money management tips from a famous financial expert during a Defense Department-sponsored seminar held here at Walter Reed Army Medical Center Sept. 30.

Kelvin Boston, host of the PBS television series, "Moneywise," employed his debonair, animated personality to reach listeners during his "Moneywise in the Military" discussion at the Mologne House conference center on the Walter Reed campus.

Regaling attendees with personal anecdotes, Boston provided motivation for people to handle their financial affairs better. He offered credit management and personal savings tips, as well as investment advice.

The daylong event offered additional seminars on credit reports, fraudulent and predatory lending practices, bankruptcy, personal financial planning, savings accounts, investments, home ownership and other topics.

Four more financial management seminars will be held at other military installations in the months ahead, said Barbara Thompson, the director of DoD's military community and family policy office.

"The department has made financial readiness one of its key critical components of mission readiness," Thompson explained. "We recognize that if a servicemember is not financially ready, then, they may not be mission-ready."

DoD has partnered with 26 organizations to develop a service-wide campaign to educate military members about proper money management practices and making wise financial decisions, Thompson said.

"Our focus is to change the culture, to make sure that military members reduce their debt, choose low-interest loans and also look at long- and short-term savings to be prepared for emergencies and for building wealth," she said.

Isaac Templeton Jr., heads the Army's financial readiness program that's run by Army Community Services. Templeton said he was "thrilled" that more than 200 people attended the seminar.

"To see that many people come out on a Saturday morning and be interested in financial readiness is something that we've been working toward over the years," Templeton said. He called the session part of ongoing Army efforts to introduce effective money-management practices to soldiers and their families.

Military families who are financially solvent have "a tremendous impact on the readiness of the forces" and troop morale, Templeton noted.

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