The start of a new year can instigate the thought of setting financial goals and finding new ways to keep up with monetary decisions. This may sound like an easy task, but what rules define the best way to keep finances on track? What kind of budget is effective? When is the best time to start saving? Is Financial Support Available?
These are just a few of the questions answered as part of the Fort Bliss Army Community Service Financial Readiness Program. This resource provides advice and educational assistance on managing finances, eliminating debt, setting financial goals, and developing money management skills. Through the FRP, soldiers suffering from financial difficulties can also seek help through the army’s emergency aid program.
Despite all of the FRP services on offer, there is still an uncomfortable stigma about turning to consultants, said FRP manager Philip Chang.
As a veteran in the army, Chang said he remembered working with young recruits who did not know where to seek financial help and who felt uncomfortable receiving help from the military.
“It was so easy for these new soldiers to make big purchases and buy new cars,” he said. “Many of them were so excited to receive their first check and spend all of their income without taking the time to plan future bills and expenses.”
Chang added that when joining the military, many members of the military are usually careful to sign a vehicle and not read the fine print about the high interest rates that are incurred over the life of the loan. “It is only after the contract is signed that the soldiers realize they may have lower prices available,” he said.
“I’ve been where you are and I know what it feels like to get that first paycheck and want to spend it right away,” said Chang. “Now that I am part of the FP program, I see the importance of financial planning. Our first mission is to reduce the debts of soldiers and family members. We want to be their first way out – and never their last – strong finances are the basis for strong families. “
Military ID holders who enroll for the FRP are assigned an accredited, licensed financial advisor who focuses on debt management and basic banking resources. The program begins with an assessment worksheet listing expenses, savings, and income ratios.
Virtual classroom sessions provide information on saving and investing, planning savings goals, reducing debt, and saving for emergencies. Financial highlights describe budget management, building up credit, personal financial planning for use, transition and relocation insurance, and writing checks.
Marion Walker, a member of the FRP team, said requests for training and advice have increased since the COVID-19 pandemic began, but staff are fully prepared to continue to schedule appointments and walk-ins. She explained that all arriving soldiers will receive practical financial solutions and ways to avoid debt traps during their in-processing briefings.
“Managing finances can be very overwhelming,” said Walker. “I always try to ask each customer what money problem they want to address first, and then take it step-by-step to help them meet their financial goals.”
Active and retired Soldiers suffering from financial difficulties can also seek assistance through the Army Emergency Relief Fund, which provides assistance to eligible ID holders in the form of interest-free loans or grants based on financial needs.
AER loans can help with overdue bills, food aid, rent, emergency leave, medical and mortgage payments. In addition, any AER loan can be converted into a grant in whole or in part based on financial needs and income.
Raul Minjarez, deputy head of the AER, said soldiers do not have to go through their chain of command to apply for a loan and no appointments are required. In an emergency outside of business hours, the request will be forwarded through the American Red Cross. On average, loan applications typically take 24 to 48 hours, but times can vary.
Heightened the dangers of “payday loans”, Minjarez said he worked with soldiers who originally signed up for $ 100 loans. However, due to the hidden interest accumulation, more than $ 1,000 was raised within one year.
“With an AER loan, you will never pay back more than you originally asked, and there are never any hidden interest or fees,” he said. “It’s just about soldiers helping other soldiers.”
The Fort Bliss AER has served more than 3,000 soldiers, retirees and their families with interest-free loans or grants of more than $ 4 million per year.
To learn more about Bliss Financial Preparedness Programs offered through ACS, visit
||01/26/2021 3:52 PM
||FORT BLISS, TX, USA
||EL PASO, TX, USA
||LAS CRUCES, NM, USA
This work, Monetary Matters: The Bliss ACS Financial Readiness Program assists clients with training and provides AER assistance, by Stephanie Santos, identified by DVIDS, must adhere to the restrictions specified on https://www.dvidshub.net/about/copyright.