Setting myself up for financial success

MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- Finances, one of those topics we tend to avoid in public situations. We cringe at the thought of someone ever seeing what we spend our money on. It’s a subject that brings about various fervid complications.

Why? Why does money have to be a subject seen as taboo? From a young age we are taught it is rude to ask someone how much money they earn.

It is the type of thing that separates us in comparison to someone else. When we do decide to discuss money, we tend to only talk about it in a round-about way; how to make more of it, getting more from our taxes and investing to name a few.

When the subject changes to personal finances, we are more prone to stay quiet or even go as far as avoiding eye contact.

Society has placed this stigma on money that if we have more of it we will be happier. This way of thinking has in turn resorted to “get rich quick” schemes.

When we begin to understand the value of money, then we can address the issues we have in our lives that affect it.

I decided I really wanted to start understanding my money. My husband and I plan to have kids at some point in our lives, buy a house and eventually plan a life outside the military.

I took the next step and attended a financial workshop offered at the base, called “Command Your Cash.”

During the presentation, I learned the importance of short-term, intermediate-term and long-term goals.

My husband and I set financial goals all the time; one of which is that we plan on paying off about $9,000 in debt by 2017.

An old saying is, “if you plan to fail, you fail to plan.” The one thing we always failed to realize when setting financial goals was the glue. What I learned is that to be successful financially you must establish a goal, plan out a time you want to accomplish it, decide on the amount needed to make it happen and remember the importance of why you are accomplishing it.

Sticking to a financial goal takes discipline and self-control. Creating a monthly spending plan can help you be aware of what is coming in and going out.

My husband and I use an electronic spending plan to easily help with changes in our income.

Growing up, I have always heard that credit cards were bad. I didn’t get my first credit card until I was 21. This was of course after consulting with my parents and becoming wiser about the value of a credit score.

My parents told me if I wanted to get a credit card, it would be wise to buy something that was not overly expensive, so that I was able to build my credit and pay it off in about five to six months. Following this practice, today my credit score sits at 716.

During the presentation, the briefer explained how to build a good credit reputation by paying all of your bills on time, avoiding opening new accounts too rapidly, limit your debt by avoiding maxing out your credit cards and do not co-sign for anyone.

He also spoke on the importance of having insurance. Whether it is car, homeowners or renters, make sure you are covered. Case in point - having car insurance does not protect your personal belongings if they are stolen out of your vehicle, renters insurance does, so it is important to know specific coverage of each policy as well.

He went on to discuss the vitality of protecting your identity against fraud. Identity theft happens if someone gets ahold of your personal identifiable information to include, social security numbers, birthdates, bank account information and even names. For example, while in the military I received an email notification of possible fraud with my information being shared to another unsecure email address. After I reviewed my credit report, no suspicious activity had occurred.

If you think you could be a victim of identity theft, be sure to contact your financial institution and the three consumer reporting agencies and place a fraud alert for your credit reports. The active duty alert remains on your credit report for one year, unless it is requested to be removed.

The presentation also touched on being smart about making major purchases, saving and investing, planning for retirement and estate planning to make sure your family is taken care of when you are gone.

The financial readiness presentation taught me a lot about myself and my personal finances. My final takeaway is to set myself up for success now so my family will not have to worry later.



USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.