'Readiness Challenge' Events to Help Families Manage Finances

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 28, 2008 - Installation commanders from all military services and the Defense Department will begin conducting "Financial Readiness Challenge" events nationwide next week to help military families deal with the effects of today's economy.

Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., will host the first event Nov. 5 in partnership with the deputy undersecretary of defense for military community and family policy.

Together, installation commanders and DoD will bring a full range of local, state and federal resources to help military personnel and their families manage their finances effectively, officials said.

Event planners said the Financial Readiness Challenge events -- being conducted for the first time -- are paving the way for an expanding series of customized financial outreach efforts that address the unique issues military communities face.

"Each event is designed to help service personnel and family members make direct contact with local, state and federal subject matter experts -- financial counselors and educators," Lynda C. Davis, deputy undersecretary for military community and family policy, said. "These experts will provide information and assistance on such topics as budgets and spending plans, stretching your dollars to make ends meet, credit management, debt elimination, car buying, housing loans and foreclosures, savings and investments, and financial, estate and retirement planning."

Financial Readiness Challenge events include keynote speakers such as Public Television's Kelvin Boston and author and lecturer Brooke Stephens, as well as others who address topics such as credit scores and myths, the perils of debt and getting what you need and want in today's economy.

Hands-on workshop sessions will provide information on debt elimination, investing, car- and home-buying strategies, the Thrift Savings Plan and retirement planning, building a better budget and spending plan, paying for college, identity theft, credit reports, and what to do in today's economy, officials said.

Certified financial planners and counselors will answer questions and provide counseling services. Sign-ups for private counseling appointments will be available prior to and during each event.

Special financial education programs for children will be available at some Financial Challenge events, including Sammy Rabbit for younger children, Junior Achievement for older students and Jump $tart for all ages, including college. Child care by pre-registration also will be available at some events, officials said.

All workshops, counseling services and light refreshments will be provided at no cost to military personnel, their families and organizational representatives.

Financial Readiness Challenge events are scheduled at the following installations:

-- Air Force: Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., Nov 5; Beale Air Force Base, Calif., Nov. 13; Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., Nov. 14-15; Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, week of Dec. 8; and Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., week of Feb 25.

-- Joint commands and Army: Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base, Wash., Dec. 4; Fort Belvoir, Va., Jan. 24; and Fort Polk, La., March 7.

-- Navy and Marine Corps: Base Consortium in San Diego Region, Calif., week of Feb. 25; Base Consortium in Norfolk, Va., Feb. 25; and Naval Base Kitsap, Wash., Feb. 23.

(From a Defense Department Office of Military Community and Family Policy news release.)

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