Military Saves Week highlights financial awareness

25 Feb 2010 | Lance Cpl. Santiago G. Colon Jr.

Military Saves Week is a national campaign that encourages service members to increase their financial readiness by saving money, reducing debt and building wealth over time. In support of Military Saves Week, Cherry Point Marine and Family Services organized events to bring financial awareness to military families aboard the air station this week.

Included in the events was guest speaker Barbara Bennett, an investor education specialist from the securities division of the North Carolina Secretary of State. Bennett covered several subjects including personal financial literacy, smarter investing and ways to raise credit scores.

Though the week highlighted important financial issues, Walt Golding, a personal financial counselor with Marine and Family Services, said it is important  Cherry Point residents knows his office offers multiple financial classes and personal counseling to assist military families in improving their fiscal situations year round.

According to Golding, the Marine and Family Service staff’s desire is to help service members and families build wealth instead of debt.

“A lot of service members I counsel are in financial trouble,” Golding said. “They mainly have problems with managing money or have negative credit reports.”

Golding said there are steps people can take to resolve their monetary issues.

“There are four steps that help people become financially responsible,” Golding said. “Develop a plan, which is essentially a budget, put $1,000 in an emergency fund, pay off their debt, and increase their savings to cover three to six months of family expenses.”

Saving money and paying off debt may seem like a daunting challenge, but Golding explained his job is to help military families get started on the right track.

“I have many years of experience helping service members,” Golding said. “As financial counselors, we train multiple times a year to help with finances.”

According to Golding, fiscal problems are as much a mission readiness issue as they are a personal issue.

“Finances can affect military careers,” Golding said. “If they are having financial problems at home they may become distracted at work.

“It can also affect gaining a security clearance, which some service members need.”

Despite focusing on fixing bad financial situations and credit, Golding said he is fully prepared to assist those Marines and Sailors who may not be struggling but wish to increase their wealth or just organize their finances.

“It’s not just service members with financial problems that come in,” Golding said. “I am ready to assist those who want to begin to build wealth.”

Golding said he encourages service members to join one of their many classes or get counseled on a one-on-one basis if they are interested in improving their financial readiness. Both of these services are offered by his office.

“We have many classes and not enough people take advantage of them,” Golding added.

Some of the classes include basic savings and investing, home buying and selling, basic budgeting and debt reduction.

For more information on signing up for a free financial class or counseling, call 466-6757 or visit the Cherry Point calendar Web site at

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point