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Many times, financial difficulties are a direct result of a lack of knowledge and experience, especially for younger Airmen. Uninformed decisions made today can have a significant impact on an Airman's current readiness posture and impact his or her financial well-being in the future. Local Airman & Family Readiness Centers have services, resources and educational tools designed to enhance financial readiness and money-management skills.
Financial Readiness Campaign
To increase an Airman's ability to manage his or her personal finances, the Department of Defense initiated the DoD Financial Readiness Campaign in May 2003. The campaign is based on eight pillars of financial readiness:
Good Credit: Airmen and their families are encouraged to learn and apply appropriate and effective methods for obtaining, managing, monitoring and protecting their credit ratings.
Financial Stability: At the core of financial stability is creating and using a spending plan to help families examine and modify their spending habits. Spending plans assist families in learning to live within their means.
Routine Savings: When unexpected or emergency situations arise, it is extremely important that Airmen have sufficient money saved to cope with unforeseen circumstances. A systematic, regular and personal savings program is a central component of financial readiness. Savings can also play a key and decisive role in Airmen being able to achieve their financial goals.
Thrift Savings Plan: The Thrift Savings Plan is a federal government-sponsored retirement savings and investment plan. The purpose of the plan is to provide retirement income. In 2000, the National Defense Authorization Act extended participation in the TSP, which was originally only for federal civilian employees, to members of the uniformed services. Airmen should take advantage of the "miracle of compound interest" by saving/investing in their futures as early as possible
Low Interest Loans: In the event that Airmen have the need to borrow money, it is highly important that they are aware of some of the predatory lending practices that may trap them in "the cycle of debt." There are a number of viable options that are available.
Morale, Welfare and Recreation: In the Air Force, the force support squadron is responsible for MWR activities on your base. The force support squadron contributes to financial readiness by providing recreational and entertainment activities that appeal to Airmen and families while also being readily available and affordable.
Security Clearance: This is a paramount readiness issue. Failure or inability of Airmen to live within their means, satisfy just debts, and meet other financial obligations may indicate poor self-control, lack of judgment, or an unwillingness to abide by rules and regulations. Each of these categories can raise serious questions about an Airman's reliability, trustworthiness and ability to protect classified information. Airmen who are financially overextended are at risk of having to engage in illegal acts to generate funds. Learning effective money-management techniques allows Airmen to avoid potential security clearance-related problems.
Service member's Group Life Insurance: SGLI is a program of low cost ($.07 per $1,000 of coverage) group life insurance for Airmen on active duty, ready Reservists, and members of the Air National Guard. Additionally, Family Service members' Group Life Insurance, or FSGLI, is a program extended to the spouses and dependent children of Airmen insured under the SGLI program.
FRC National Partners
The Department of Defense has partnered with many federal agencies and nonprofit organizations to provide resources and support to the Financial Readiness Campaign. These partners are listed below:
Air Force Aid Society
The official charity of the U.S. Air Force. The society assists active-duty and retired Airmen, their eligible family members and other eligible people with emergent needs through counseling, grants, loans and referrals to other applicable agencies.
Association of Military Banks of America
A not-for-profit association of banks that operate on military installations, or are banks that serve military customers off-base, or military banking facilities designated by the U.S. Treasury.
Better Business Bureau Military Line
Dedicated to fostering fair and honest relationships between businesses and consumers, instilling consumer confidence, and contributing to an ethical business environment. BBB Military Line offers a variety of free consumer services and materials to military personnel, retirees, DoD civilians and their families.
Consumer Federation of America
An advocacy, research, education and service organization that gathers facts, analyzes issues, and disseminates information to the public, policymakers, and the consumer movement.
Defense Credit Union Council
An organization of 255 credit unions with more than 14 million members who are primarily from the Department of Defense. It is comprised of a seven-member board, with one representative from each service component and three at-large members.
Department of Labor
Fosters and promotes the welfare of the job seekers, wage earners, and retirees of the United States. Department of Labor oversight improves working conditions, advances opportunities for profitable employment, and protects retirement and health care benefits. It also helps employers find workers; strengthens free collective bargaining; and tracks changes in employment, prices, and other national economic measurements.
Department of Treasury
The executive agency responsible for promoting economic prosperity and ensuring the financial security of the United States. Some of the department's basic functions include managing government accounts and the public debt; supervising national banks and thrift institutions; enforcing federal finance and tax laws; and investigating and prosecuting tax evaders, counterfeiters and forgers.
Employee Benefit Research Institute and American Savings Education Council
A nonprofit, national coalition of public and private-sector institutions that share a mission of undertaking and supporting initiatives aimed at raising the public awareness about necessary steps to achieve long-term personal financial independence. The website has a number of educational materials for Americans covering all aspects of financial management and wealth development. The site's "Ballpark E$timate" takes complicated issues like projected Social Security benefits and earnings assumptions on savings, and makes them easier to understand.
Federal Citizen's Information Center
Publications.USA.gov is operated by the Federal Citizen Information Center, U.S. General Services Administration. It serves as a central source of information about federal government financial publications helpful to citizens. Publications.USA.gov replaces FCIC's former website Pueblo.GSA.gov and makes it even easier than before to find government publications.
Federal Deposits Insurance Corporation
An independent agency created by Congress that recognizes the importance of financial education, particularly for people with little or no banking experience. The Money Smart financial management training program was developed to help adults outside the financial mainstream enhance their money skills and create positive banking relationships.
Federal Reserve Board
"The Fed," as it is called, offers comprehensive personal financial education. Topics include consumer banking, consumer protection, economics, home mortgages, interest rates, loans/credit, and other general information.
Federal Trade Commission
The FTC is the nation's consumer protection agency. It enforces federal laws that protect consumers, and empowers them to exercise their rights, plus educates them to spot and avoid fraud and deception.
The FTC estimates that as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year. While some identity theft victims can resolve their problems quickly, others spend hundreds of dollars and many days repairing damage to their good name and credit record.
InCharge Institute of America
The InCharge family includes InCharge Education Foundation, which provides award-winning products and materials that support the personal financial literacy needs of consumers worldwide, and InCharge Debt Solutions, which provides professional credit counseling and education services.
Jump$tart Financial Smarts for Students
The average student who graduates from high school lacks basic skills in personal financial affairs management. Many young people are unable to balance a checkbook, and most simply have no insight into the basic survival principles involved with earning, spending, saving and investing.
National Endowment for Financial Education
NEFE's mission is grounded in the beliefs that regardless of individual background or income level, financially informed people are better able to take control of their circumstances, improve their quality of life, and ensure a stable future for themselves and their families.
National Military Family Association
Helps people understand their finances, save money, and invest for their future.
North American Securities Administrators Association
The oldest international organization devoted to investor protection. A voluntary association whose membership consists of 67 state, provincial, and territorial securities administrators in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada and Mexico.
Securities and Exchange Commission
Protect investors; maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets; and facilitate capital formation. The laws and rules that govern the securities industry in the United States derive from a simple and straightforward concept: all investors, whether large institutions or private individuals, should have access to certain basic facts about an investment before buying it, and so long as they hold it.
The Service Members Civil Relief Act
A review of the financial and legal protections provided to service members under the Service Members Civil Relief Act.
Social Security Administration
Advances the economic security of the nation's people through compassionate and vigilant leadership in shaping and managing America's Social Security programs.
U.S. Department of Agriculture Cooperative State Research Education and Extension Service
Advances knowledge for agriculture, the environment, human health and well-being, and communities by supporting research, education, and extension programs in the Land-Grant University System and other partner organizations. The service offers information on financial security, farm financial management, and environmental and resource economics.
Women's Institute for Financial Education
The Women's Institute for Financial Education is the oldest nonprofit organization dedicated to providing financial education to women in their quest for financial independence.
National Military Family Association Joanne Holbrook Patton Military Spouse Scholarship Program
The National Military Family Association's Joanne Holbrook Patton Military Spouse Scholarships are awarded to spouses of uniformed services members (active duty, National Guard and Reserve, retirees, and survivors) to obtain professional certification or to attend post secondary or graduate school.
(Updated as of August 2014)