By Pam Tucker
Fort Detrick Army Community Service
Given the current state of the economy, achieving overall financial independence is a growing concern for many in the Fort Detrick military community.
The Fort Detrick Chapel and the Army Community Service's Financial Readiness Program have partnered together to assist Service members with the ultimate goal of financial success by offering the upcoming Financial Peace University on the installation.
The FPU is a 13 week course structured to assist couples and encourage positive behavior with accountability and support while taking into consideration the military lifestyle.
Created by Dave Ramsey, the FPU course's basic premise is for families to "act their wage" when it comes to spending. The plan works while utilizing good ol' common sense stuff that our grandparents did when they were growing up.
If you don't have the money to buy something, then don't buy it until you do. If you follow Ramsey's plan you will become debt free and lead a more stress free life.The course includes seven "baby steps" for success:
* Deposit $1,000 into an emergency fund
.* Create a "debt snowball"-meet the minimum payments on existing balances and then pay an additional amount to the smallest. Once that balance is paid off, use the minimum and the additional amount to pay down the next smallest.
* Make yourself a fully funded account, with enough money for three to six months of expenses, or $10-15,000. This can cover medical emergencies, car problems, or other unforeseen expenses and prevent one crisis from developing into an overall money crisis.
* Invest 15 percent of your funds toward retirement. The course recommends the Thrift Savings Plan and Roth Investment Retirement Accounts.
* Open a college fund for your children.
* Pay down your mortgage.
* Remember to bless others with your wealth.
The FPU has been well-received at many military installations worldwide. There are many overall success stories from the program with one of the biggest occurring at Shriever Air Force Base, CO, in 2007.
A class of 40 was able to eliminate over $200,000 from their collective debt after taking the course. This result is not uncommon.The FPU is being offered on the installation 6-8 p.m., Tuesdays from Jan. 11 through April 4, at the Balfour Beatty Neighborhood Center.
Call the ACS FRP (301) 619-3455/3456/2197 for more information or to register.