A key contributor to fleet and family readiness is having a solid financial plan in place. Fleet & Family Support has a number of resources that can help you manage your money and inform you and your command about scams and policies that might affect your financial health.
The negative effects of poor financial health include diminished operational readiness, loss of security clearance, decreased choice of duty locations, administrative discharge, anxiety, stress, domestic violence, and wasted man hours. Sound personal financial management provides freedom of choice for service members and their families.
We have Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education (AFCPE) accredited financial counselors on staff to assist you! Our highly qualified Personal Financial Managers (PFMs) provide courses and individual consultations for personal financial management, as well as provide General Military Training (GMTs) and Command Financial Specialist (CFS) Training.
Personal Financial Management
Want to get the most out of your money?
Your Personal Financial Managers (PFMs) at the Fleet and Family Support Center will provide their best strategies to help formulate your plan to pay down debt, save for a big purchase or retirement, or invest for your future! Call our Centralized Scheduling line at 866-854-0638 to make your individual appointment and get ready to be financially fit now and for years to come!
Learn How to Destroy Your Debt
Feel like you’re drowning in debt. No matter how difficult your situation is-with some hard work and discipline, you CAN begin to gain control of your finances. Here are some beginning steps to start:
- Track your spending and find out where your money is going
- Develop a spending plan-one that is flexible, and focuses on increasing income and decreasing living expenses!
- Set Goals! Look at your list of debts and set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Action Oriented, Realistic and Timely) goals to pay them off!
- Use the “Full Steam Method”-
- You will pay your debts according to your spending plan.
- When a loan/debt is paid in full, Full Steam will use that payment amount or any portion left to apply it toward another debt!
- Plastic Surgery: it might be time to cut up those credit cards and close accounts to help keep you on track
Sign up for our Debt Rehab or Budgeting class and let our Personal Financial Managers share additional tips!
- Use the “Full Steam Method”-
Want to Improve Your Financial Fitness?
Have you come into some extra money (i.e. pay raise, bonus, tax refund) and itching to spend it on something you may not really need?
- ** The formula is: Save 25% ♦ Spend 25% ♦ 50% goes toward debt. **
- This spending formula may be a much healthier financial choice.
Come to our Getting a Refund? What’s Next? class to explore the best way to manage that extra money.
Why is Credit Important?
A credit score is a number assigned to you that indicates to a lender your capacity to repay a loan. This score helps lenders decide if they will give you a loan and the interest rate you will be charged.
Your Credit Score is based on:
- Payment history [35%] – Are you paying your debits on time?
- Amounts owed or credit utilization [30%] – Can you handle what you owe?
- Length of credit history [15%] – How long have you had and used credit?
- Type of credit [10%] – Considers the various types of credit accounts you have (revolving and installment) and whether you use credit appropriately.
- New credit or inquiries [10%] – Each time you apply for a new line of credit, it counts as an inquiry or a “hard” hit and multiple “hard hits” can potentially lower your credit score.
Come talk to one of our Financial Counselors or attend our myFICO Credit Score/Report class for more ideas.
Tips to Improve Your Credit Score
Ensure your credit report is accurate and up to date and develop a plan to correct any negative items that are affecting your score.
- Payment history: Make all payments promptly and stay within your limits. Use automatic payment plans or set up a bill-paying calendar.
- Amounts owed or Credit Utilization: Pay down your existing balances and try not to exceed 30% of the credit limit on a credit card. Prefer credit cards be paid in full every month.
- Length of Credit History: Don’t add any new accounts and do not close out long-term accounts. Establish new credit but only if you have little or no existing credit history.
- Type of Credit: Scores consider your mix of credit, revolving (credit cards, retail accounts, lines of credit) and installment (car loans, mortgage loans, student loans). It's not necessary to have one of each, and it's not a good idea to open credit accounts you don't intend to use.
Come talk to one of our Financial Counselors or attend our Credit…What’s the Big Deal class for more ideas.
10 Steps to Protect Against Identity Theft
- Shred All Identifying documents, bank slips, credit card receipts, etc.
- Shop Online ONLY on secure websites – Look for a padlock icon or “https” in the address bar to ensure your data is encrypted.
- Keep anti-virus and anti-Spyware software up to date
- Beware of Phishing Scams – Identity thieves will try and obtain your sensitive data, online or by e-mail, by disguising themselves as a trustworthy company, such as a credit card company or Paypal. Don't respond to any e-mail or click any links contained within it, even if it appears to be a legitimate.
- Ask about Identity Theft Prevention Procedures from your bank, credit card companies and even your employer
- Don’t fall for telephone scams – Never give out your personal information over the phone to someone who calls you claiming to represent a bank, credit card company, charity, or other organization.
- Check your Credit Report – According to US law (Fair Credit Reporting Act), every citizen is entitled to one free credit report each year. You can get the free report from the three major credit reporting agencies by going to Annualcreditreport.com. Verify that the information is correct and check for suspicious activity, particularly mysterious new accounts opened.
- Protect your Social Security Number – Always validate the reason your SSN is needed and how it will be stored, shared and protected. Ask if there is another identifier that can be used instead.
- Safely store your Important Documents such as passports, birth certificates and social security cards
- Be mindful of your snail mail – Don’t let mail sit in your mailbox for too long and consider dropping sensitive mail off at a secure collection box or at the post office itself.
Literally, freeze your credit & identity theft in its tracks (one of the many ways you can be proactive and protect yourself and your credit).
For more information on protecting your identity, schedule an appointment at 866-854-0838, with one of our Personal Financial Managers today.
Start Your Savings Account Today
Here'e how you can proceed dividing your funds when your paycheck comes in:
- Always pay yourself 1st (treat your savings goal like any other bill)
- Make a plan how to save
- Create a budget to track what you spend & save (to allocate and have a plan for every dollar you get/own your money don’t let it own you)
- Set a Goal: what are you saving for (emergencies, retirement, car, home, vacation, belly button piercing, car parts, education, WHAT)? Set money aside regularly so you don’t have to use your credit cards.
- Start small--If saving 10% of your net income is a challenge right now, start with 3%!
- Meal prep/shop sales/discounts/etc.
- Save automatically
- Use the 24 hour rule for purchasing items (guarantee it will help you spend less and save more & have less buyer’s remorse)
- Save your loose change
- Try to save 10-20% out of each check (again if that is too much- start smaller: change, rounding up to the nearest dollar, etc.)
- Save your tax refund!
For more individualized tips on starting your savings, come and talk to one of our Personal Financial Managers or attend our Budgeting without Tears class.
PREPARING FINANCES FOR DEPLOYMENT
- Gather key estate-planning documentation such as your will. If you need assistance with this, contact the JAG legal office on base.
- Grant a power of attorney to your spouse or other family member who will be handling the finances.
- Update your beneficiary designations on your insurance and retirement accounts.
- Automate your bills, especially if you are a single Sailor.
- Contact your service providers to cut or reduce any services that are unnecessary during the deployment. This would include things like extended cable, internet, or cell phone service. Some cellular phone companies will allow service members to suspend service for up to 18 months.
- Adjust your auto insurance. If there is an extra vehicle that will not be driven, you may be able to get a discount if the car is not being used.
- Get the right insurance on your home or apartment. If you will be renting or subletting, make sure you have the proper coverage.
- Know the tax-filing rules. You do not have to file taxes while you're deployed to a combat zone, in fact, you and your spouse can file up to 180 days after you leave the eligible combat zone.
- Build up an extra emergency fund. It is always important to be prepared in the event of an emergency.
- Create a notebook of key information that may be needed in your absence. An inventory of your financial accounts, how to access them, and passwords should be a vital part of this notebook.
Buying a home is one of the most expensive and complicated purchases you will ever make. Here are 10 things to consider when buying a home.
- Are you ready to purchase a home? Things to consider:
- How long will you stay in the area?
- Do you have Job/income security?
- Do you have enough money set aside for expenses and upkeep of the home? Have a fully funded emergency savings. It is important to have 6 months’ worth of income saved up before buying a home…it’s not a matter of “if” something will happen with the home but more of “when.”
- What can you afford?
- Create a Budget so you know your price range!
- Know your credit score! Lenders look at your credit score to determine the rate on your mortgage loan.
- Get your FREE annual credit report at annualcreditreport.com
- Save for a Down Payment
- Many mortgage loans require 3-20 percent down payment on a home.
- Even if no down payment is required, making a down payment will help lower your monthly payments and leave you with additional funds to invest elsewhere. The more money you can put down will also save you thousands of dollars in interest over the long term. Also, consider using a mortgage calculator (beforehand) to play out different scenarios (down payments; 15 or 30 year fixed; interest paid over the long-term; total lifetime payment; etc.)
- Choose a lender that offers several loan options, is knowledgeable about those options, and takes time to explain them to you.
- Evaluate the different types of loans and choose the one that is right for you. If you finance a 30-year fixed mortgage loan, it is always a good idea to pay extra and have the intention to try to pay the loan off in 15 years or less. Paying your home off this early will save you thousands of dollars in interest payments over the long haul. Even if you can afford a 15 year fixed mortgage loan, it is still a smart option to finance it for 30 years fixed. When you finance it out longer this gives you more security if something happens in the economy, (so your payments are more affordable). Again, if you finance it out longer the goal is to still look at the mortgage payment in your head as a 15-year mortgage (and plan to double the 30-year fixed mortgage payment) to pay off the loan off in full in half the time.
- Find the right real estate agent for you who will help you find a home within your budget and parameters as well as help you manage the details of your purchase.
- Research comparable property values around the area so you can negotiate an offer.
- Always, always, ALWAYS get an inspection.
- Remember to purchase adequate home insurance to protect your home, possessions and liability to others.
To learn more about buying a home, attend one of our Home Buying classes or make an appointment with your Personal Financial Manager at 866-854-0638.
Things to Consider for Your Financial Future
It’s not just a nice thing to have – it’s essential for protecting and growing your wealth.
Insurance works on the "principle of transfer of financial risk from the insured to the insurer." As an insured, you pay premiums to receive compensation from the insurer, in case of occurrence of an unforeseen event. So, having insurance reduces the financial burden on your shoulders.
To learn more about insurance, come talk with one of our Financial Managers or attend our All you need to know about Insurance class at the Fleet and Family Support Center nearest you.
Do you want to be a millionaire? Blaze your own trail? Start while you are young and use the power of compound interest!
Compound interest is interest earned on money that was previously earned as interest. You'll start earning interest on your initial deposit, and you'll earn interest on the interest you just earned! It’s the money your money makes, which makes more money.
Come to one of our Million Dollar Sailor classes and learn how to save now for a VERY rich future.
Are you investing in TSP?
For federal employees or members of the Armed Forces, the Thrift Savings Plan can act as a supplement to your pension, much like an IRA. Key benefits of the TSP include the simple yet sophisticated investment options, the extremely low investment costs, and the option to choose your tax consequences. It’s much like a 401(k) you’d receive from working at a company in the private sector; one that offers low cost lifecycle funds, bond funds, and index funds.
If you are in the blended retirement system (BRS), did you know that you can receive automatic contributions of 1% and agency-matching contributions up to 4% of base pay.
Having a plan to manage and increase your contributions annually for your TSP can pay off in a huge way. Your Personal Financial Manager will teach you a plan that uses forgotten money to make a difference now and in retirement.
To learn more about TSP/IRAs and other investment opportunities, attend one of our Investing 101 classes or make an appointment with your Personal Financial Manager at 866-854-0638.
What is the Blended Retirement System?
The Blended Retirement System utilizes the Thrift Savings Plan, a Career Continuation Bonus, and a pension.
Officials estimate that at least 75% of active duty service members will receive some form of retirement benefits under the new plan as opposed to the roughly 17% who receive benefits under the previous plans. The difference comes from the Thrift Saving Plan contributions made by the government, which would start after the service member has completed two years of service. Under this plan, the only service members who wouldn’t receive benefits would be those who serve fewer than two years.
To learn more about the Blended Retirement System, please make an appointment with your Personal Financial Manager at 866-854-0638.
Fleet & Family Support Personal Financial Managers (PFMs) facilitate Command Financial Specialist (CFS) Training courses and are available for Command General Military Trainings (GMTs). Please contact the Centralized Scheduling Office at 1-866-854-0638 or FFSP.CNRNW@Navy.mil to request a GMT.
During Command Financial Specialist Training, your members (E6+ or E5 with a waiver) are trained with basic financial management skills and the understanding necessary to implement education, training and counseling at their command. Functions of a CFS include assisting the command in establishing, organizing, and administering the Command Personal Finance Management (PFM) program; disseminating financial management information within the command; maintaining current PFM resources and contact with Fleet & Family Support PFMs; providing basic counseling to command members as requested; maintaining records of training, counseling, and referrals; and ensuring confidentiality of counseling records.
Commands must have one CFS for 25 or more personnel, and one for every additional 75 personnel. CFS candidates should be motivated and financially stable, and have at least one year left at their command.
If you would like to become a CFS, make a request through your command. To register, please call: 866-854-0638.
Per OPNAV 1740.5D, each command is required to maintain a minimum CFS-to-client ratio of 1:75.
Even under COVID-19 restrictions, CFS registration requests are still being accepted. Please email email@example.com or call 866-854-0638. The CFS course is a full 5-day (40 hours) in-person requirement and offered at each of the NRNW Fleet and Family Support Centers on a quarterly basis.
A CFS must successfully complete the CFS Refresher Training, at a minimum of every three years. To be eligible to take the one-day CFS refresher course – instead of the five-day CFS training class – the CFS must have:
- Completed a minimum of four one-on-one financial counseling appointments and/or personal financial management trainings or briefs for the command, division, department, or branch.
- Attend at least two quarterly area wide CFS Awareness forums, CNIC PFM Webinars, PFM Classes at FFSC, or MFLN webinar pre-approved for AFC CEU’s per year. AND
- Have a current CFS Certification. ***
In 2020, the CFS must only submit two years of proof of certification. Beginning in 2021 and beyond, the CFS must submit three years of proof of certification and complete pre-work to the CFS instructor to qualify to attend the 1-day refresher course. If the CFS has not met the requirements, they will need to attend the full 5-day CFS course.
To sign up for the one day refresher course, the CFS will e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org:
The email and packet must include:
- First and Last Name
- Rate and Rank
- PRD (Month/Year)
- Preferred e-mail
- Requested CFS refresher class dates (primary and alternate)
***NOTE: In light of current COVID-19 circumstances, all CFS whose CFS certification would expire between Feb. 1 and Sept. 30, 2020, can complete the 1-day CFS Refresher course to renew their certification. All other prerequisites must be met and recertification must take place by Nov. 30.