'Financial readiness is mission readiness'
Story and photo by Spc. Michael V. Camacho
139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs/p>
CONTINGENCY OPERATING LOCATION SPEICHER, Iraq — Soldiers with the 264th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion at Contingency Operating Location Speicher, Iraq, attend personal financial management classes held by the unit’s chaplain here three times a week.
The comprehensive program is geared toward Soldiers both stateside and overseas, said Capt. Myron Johnson, the 264th CSSB chaplain. These classes use financial adviser David Ramsey’s “Financial Peace University: Military Edition.”
“By the end of the course you learn about mutual funds, mortgages and all the major financial burdens,” said Johnson, a Springfield, Mo., native.
Finances are an important factor for Soldiers, in both their careers and their personal lives, he said.
The 13-lesson course breaks down personal financial management into a discipline, said Capt. Patrick Henrichs, 70th Transportation Company commander and a Seattle native. Soldiers learn to manage money more efficiently and not waste their earnings, he said.
“It teaches them they can make it on what they get paid, that they can survive without making mountains of dough,” said Henrichs.
In addition to the classes, students do homework and reading assignments to help them understand and apply what they learn in class, Johnson said. The course lessons are also on MP3s Soldiers can listen to while they are on missions, said Johnson.
An important step learned early in the program is making a reserve fund, said Johnson. This is money set aside for emergencies, so Soldiers will always be able to pay their bills. This alone can take major stress off the Soldier and their loved ones, he said.
The course is presented in an easy to understand and practical way, said Johnson. Soldiers pick up on it quickly and appreciate the value of the training, he said.
Henrichs said the Soldiers in the course wished they had this kind of training earlier in their military careers.
“I’ve seen Soldiers who finish a deployment with $10,000 and spend it in a month, which does not benefit anybody in the long run,” said Henrichs.
These classes help Soldiers manage their money, get out of debt and avoid monetary stressors. Developing proper financial management skills takes time and understanding, but offers a priceless lesson, said Johnson.
“Financial readiness is mission readiness,” he said.