America – a “Spending” culture

  • Published
  • By Ruthie Wisdom-McMeans
  • Airman & Family Readiness Center
"Spend, Spend, Spend. It's the American Way" was the title of an article published in the New York Times in 2012. The article purported that spending is seen as a virtue in our collective, patriotic American consciousness.

I am a financial counselor with the Airman and Family Readiness Center here, and I find this assessment of our culture to be somewhat depressing.

A few years ago a commercial aired that reflected the "spending culture" of America: a man with a big smile on his face said, "I am Stanley Johnson. I have a great family! I have a great four-bedroom house in a great neighborhood. Like my car? It's new! I am even a member of the local golf club. How do I do it? I am in debt up to my eyeballs! I can barely afford my finance charges! Somebody help me!" If you saw the commercial you might have chuckled, but perhaps it left you feeling a little sheepish when you realized the truth in it.

If you don't want to be like Stanley Johnson or the 40 percent of Americans who spend, spend, spend without saving a penny for retirement, then you are probably ready to take a pledge - a pledge to save!

A pledge that falls in line with the core values of the Air Force: handle your financial affairs with Integrity, make Sacrifices today to secure your future, and show Excellence in your ability to manage money and build wealth.

Airmen can pledge to save any time, but an extra emphasis is placed on saving during the Military Saves Campaign. The campaign runs Feb. 24 to March 1. During the week, Team Vance members are encouraged to visit, the Military Saves website, to complete an electronic pledge card.

This year's theme is "Set a Goal, Make a Plan, Save Automatically."

By pledging to save throughout 2014, you will in turn receive Military Saves articles with valuable tips on saving money and building wealth.

As a financial counselor I can help you determine your financial goals and create a plan to reach them. I suggest starting your savings as a habit by saving a little each month. The long-term benefits of saving a little each month can be seen as you financial nest grows. I can help you create a budget and develop an efficient system for paying down debt, so you can start paying yourself instead of creditors.

In addition, I can explain the Thrift Savings Plan and tell you how to start investing in it. I can even pull your credit report and credit score for free, so you can gauge your current financial health. Give me a call at 213-7517 to set up an appointment, and go to the Military Saves website to take the pledge to save in 2014!