The Army values financial health as an important ingredient to a successful life. Several programs are in place to help Soldiers and their Families stay financially healthy.
“The Financial Readiness Program helps Soldiers and Families deal with their finances,” said Federica LeMauk, Financial Readiness Program manager. “The two basic ways in which we’re doing that are through financial education classes and one-on-one counseling.”
The classes are for people who “want to know how to manage their money and how to make the most out of their money,” LeMauk said. The classes focus on different topics such as credit and debt management, retirement planning, budgeting for a baby, saving and investing, and taxes.
People can also call and make an appointment for a one-on-one counseling session.
“We can look specifically at what your income is, what your expenses are, and how you are managing your savings and your investments. We look at the specifics of your situation, and we find solutions to difficulties that you may have,” LeMauk said.
If a financial emergency hits, Soldiers and Family members can seek help with Army Emergency Relief. The most common categories of assistance are car repairs, housing and emergency travel expenses, said LeMauk, who is also the USAG Wiesbaden AER officer.
“A lot of things can happen, so AER steps in with an interest-free loan that a Soldier can repay over time,” she said. The repayment is automatically deducted from the paycheck.
“It gives Soldiers a second chance and keeps them away from financial institutions who could take advantage of a Soldier’s emergency,” LeMauk said.
AER is accessible without command involvement, unless the Soldier is still in the first 12 months of duty, she said.
This year, AER has added two new categories that are covered with grants. One is special needs. The intent is to provide assistance for special needs equipment and adaptive devices, LeMauk said. An example is the coverage of cranial helmets for children.
The other new category is immigration fees. The coverage extends to recently married active duty Soldiers with foreign-born spouses and children, LeMauk said.
It covers passport, immigration, visa, naturalization and biometric fees. It does not include routine passport fees not related to the immigration and naturalization process or registering a birth abroad to American parents. The intent is to promote Family unity and reduce the financial burden of maintaining two separate households, she said.
AER also offers need-based scholarships for spouses and children of active duty Soldiers who pursue their first undergraduate degree, she said.
For more information go to aerhq.org and wiesbaden.armymwr.com/programs/financial-readiness-program, call ACS at (0611) 143-548-9201 or email LeMauk at email@example.com.