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Financial Fitness Coming Your Way

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 1, 2000 – In this day and age, one thing's for certain -- you need financial savvy to manage your money well. Besides familiar checking accounts, savings accounts and credit cards, there's online banking, debit cards and the lure of Internet shopping.

In an effort to help service members maintain financial fitness, DoD developed a CD-ROM-based personal financial management training program. DoD began mailing out 4,000 of the six-disk packages in late February to family centers and Army Community Service centers at 375 installations, said Ollie Smith, deputy director of the Office of Family Policy here.

DoD officials are considering distributing the training course to the Coast Guard as well, she said.

Family policy officials are also exploring the possibility of making more packages because of requests for additional copies. "One installation wants to put a copy in every incoming member's welcome packet," Smith said.

The CDs hold a self-paced, interactive course that provides the basic financial tools needed to make sound financial decisions. Smith said the course is geared to appeal to people aged 18 to 25 and features 11 stand-alone training modules:

  • "Principles of Personal Finance" highlights the benefits and positive outcome of effective financial management.
  • "Planning and Budgeting" provides tips on creating a family budget based on past financial experiences and future financial goals.
  • "Banking and Checking Accounts" identifies the various kinds of banking accounts and available options, and the responsibilities that go with them.
  • "Pay, Allowances and Benefits" explains the components of leave and earning statements and available money-saving benefits.
  • "Getting Insurance" discusses the value of insurance and its importance to members and their families.
  • "Using Credit Wisely" covers the pros, cons and pitfalls of using credit.
  • "Large Purchases" demonstrates how to be a "smart shopper" for large, expensive items.
  • "Fixing Financial Problems" offers tips on recognizing when you need assistance and how you can "break through" your financial problems.
  • "Saving and Investing" explains successful saving and investing techniques, strategies and benefits.
  • "Consumer Scams, Bad Habits and Getting Help" explores consumers' rights and protections, how to avoid being cheated and the dangers of bad financial habits.
  • "Relocation" includes an online calculator for estimating relocation expenses along with a Web site that offers relocation tips.

DoD officials are seeking feedback on the CD-ROM training. People can respond online or by using an enclosed mail-in survey form.

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Related Sites:
DoD 'Managing Your Finances' web site

Click photo for screen-resolution imageArt courtesy of the DoD Office of Family Policy.  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageArt courtesy of the DoD Office of Family Policy.  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageArt courtesy of the DoD Office of Family Policy.  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageArt courtesy of the DoD Office of Family Policy.  
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