VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – The root of all evil? The door way to success? Freedom? Money has been called many things, and proper management of it is crucial to success in the Air Force.
For many new Airmen, this is the most money they will have earned so far in their working careers, said 2nd Lt. Kyle Caldwell, a student pilot. With this influx of income, the importance of balancing expenses and saving for retirement becomes essential for future success.
The Vance team that helps Airmen get on the right financial track is from the Airman & Family Readiness Center.
“When it comes to saving money, I always tell people to think of the future they want,” said Angel Dominguez, a community readiness consultant at the A&FRC.
The A&FRC is the place to learn how to budget money properly, get educated on the options available for retirement and figure out a quality savings for Airmen and their families.
“Gaining knowledge in money management and retirement saving can help Airmen by creating a happier, less stressful and more exciting future,” said Caldwell.
Dominguez and Paul Williamson are the A&FRC members who teach budgeting and investment counseling. While they have different styles of teaching, both are committed to helping everyone that comes through their doors.
Dominguez asks each person how much they know about the saving and investment plans that are available to them. He then goes on to describe each plan in detail, highlighting the benefits, differences and the possible combinations that lead the best outcomes.
Figuring out which saving and investment plan to go with is important, but to fulfill that plan Airmen must first figure out where their money is going and how they can save more of it, said Dominguez. That is where learning how to budget comes into play.
A budget saves money by showing people where they are spending their money so they can understand their spending habits, and see how best to utilize their paychecks, said Dominguez.
The A&FRC has two budgeting processes that are offered to everyone. There is the quick two-page budget for the person who is already good at managing money and just wants an idea of where they are spending each month.
The other is much more in-depth, but offers an overview of where paychecks are being spent and how they could be utilized better.
“We sit down and go over bills, receipts, income statements and even spouse’s information if (the Airman has) one, to create the best budgeting plan for them,” said Dominguez.
There are many instances where the A&FRC team recommends Airmen write a budget and talk about investing. Those instances include when they arrive at their first base, leave the dorms, get married, have a child or buy their first house.
“It’s painless,” said Senior Airman Jared Wyaco, an aerospace physiology apprentice assigned to the 71st Medical Operations Squadron. “Once you learn to spend money constructively, you do not have to live on pennies.”
The Airman & Family Readiness Center is open Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. “But we operate on ‘Moonlight Savings Time,’” said Dominguez. “We are here to serve when you need us.”
For more information and to set up a budgeting appointment, call the A&FRC, 580-213-6330.