Money management key to a happy military family

Staff report

November is Military Family Appreciation Month, a celebration of the Military Family in which the Department of Defense and the nation honors the commitment and sacrifices made by the families of the nation’s service members. We offer the following to raise awareness on matters of importance among Kentucky’s unsung heroes.

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Money is often cited as the number one problem when it comes to preserving domestic tranquility. Money builds us up and it brings us down. Some think it is the key to happiness; the mismanagement of it is most certainly key to our misery.

2012 Military Cheer-40

Not everybody has a Santa to bail them out during the holiday spending season. Good money management can be the greatest gift your family can receive. (Kentucky National Guard file photo)

In the military community money is a huge factor when it comes to wartime deployment. Adding to those hardships are complications arising from pay issues, particularly during the recent sequestration and federal shutdown.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that the Kentucky National Guard recognizes these challenges. Regina Harris is an accredited finance counselor on staff with the Family Programs as a personal finance counselor. Let’s see what she has to say about money and what to do about it.

So what exactly is your job?

My official mission is to assist service members with any personal financial issue that arises in their or their families lives. I strive to let them know that my services are free, anonymous and confidential.

Is this strictly a National Guard program?

While I work with National Guard Family Programs, I’m available to help any military service member, active duty and reserve force. We support Kentucky’s entire military community.

What are some of the financial challenges military families face?

Couples don’t always see eye to eye on finances. It helps to have a neutral person assist or guide them to making sound financial decisions; establishing that neither person is right or wrong. We can always realize outlandish financial decisions without any other input.

It’s not just married couples, either. Single service members often need someone to talk with about financial accountability. I can do that for them. Service members sometimes want guidance on budgeting, buying a car, buying auto or life insurance, buying a house, getting into an apartment, child support, preparing for a Furlough or answering a Security Clearance inquiry. Also, relieving debts, saving for emergencies and retirement are worthy topics.

Does a military service member have to be in trouble to use your services?

No, you do not have to be in financial distress. A personal finance counselor may be the only phone number you have to connect you to other resources; we gladly connect. Even when things are going fantastically well financially we can be a sounding board to help you plug any possible financial oversights or to agree with your plan.

Do you ever visit units on site?

Yes, I’m happy to provide financial briefs at the unit level. I regularly attend Yellow Ribbon ceremonies and I’m available for other events as well.

It’s my pleasure to help service members feel good and in control of their money. It’s my passion to serve, it’s what I do and it’s why the DOD has provided these person financial counselor services for you.

If you need help with your finances or just have general questions contact Regina Harris at 502-548-4836 or rharris@mflc.zeiders.com

 

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