By Staff Sgt. Mary McKnight
/ Published September 02, 2021
Reserve Citizen Airmen learn about financial readiness during a virtual Yellow Ribbon event Aug. 28-29. Yellow Ribbon events connect Airmen and their loved ones with valuable resources and information to help the have successful deployments. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mary McKnight)
Do you use coupons? Do you spend less than $200 eating out a month? Do you have enough to pay off your credit card right now? Do you use an investment professional for your finances?
These were a few questions asked during the “Minimize Your Life, Maximize Your Financial Future” briefing, given to pre-deployers during a virtual Yellow Ribbon event, August 28-29.
The focus of this briefing was to help pre-deployers set a financial goal for themselves, discuss expenses, identify ways they waste money and ways to minimize spending.
According to research and trends amongst the wealthy, those who answered yes to the questions above are on the right path to becoming a millionaire, says Stacy Naughton, chief executive officer of Five by Five Clear Solutions, LLC.
Regardless of the answer, Naughton and her co-presenter, Chief Master Sgt. Laura Morales of March Air Reserve Base, California, and chief financial officer of Five by Five Clear Solutions, provided tools to get and keep Airmen on the right track to a more secure financial future.
“With the discipline of small changes, we can make a huge impact towards saving money,” Naughton said.
One of the pre-deployers attending the event disclosed his need to knock down credit card debt.
“I took a pay cut after a recent career change that lead to credit card debt,” said Staff Sgt. Meshach H. Barker, from the 560th Rapid Engineer Deployable, Heavy Operational Repair Squadron, Engineer at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina. “After this briefing I’ve learned how to cut back on wasteful spending and I’m looking forward to eliminating debt during my deployment, raising my credit score and purchasing a home upon my return. This briefing was the motivation I needed going into a deployment,” Barker said.
In addition to making the pre-deployers take a hard look at their current financial situation, Naughton and Morales also provided the participants a budget calculator on an excel worksheet, a word document that outlines a realistic view of financial goals and online resources available with a quick internet search.
Staff Sgt. Courtney D. Owens, a pre-deployer with the 315th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, said she liked the SMART acronym, which means share your financial goals, monitor your spending, ask yourself, remove excuses, and time. Owens said she also found value in several of the other tools that were presented.
“I am glad that I decided to participate in the Yellow Ribbon event,” said Owens. “Even with it being virtual, I am taking away some good information. Information that I can not only take and apply to myself while deployed, but information that I can take back to my unit. It’s just good information to have, deployed or not.”
Some of that information included facts, such as: 93 percent of millionaires use coupons, millionaires spend less than $200 per month on eating out, 73 percent of millionaires can pay off their credit card balances right now and 60 percent of millionaires use investors.
Per Naughton, the biggest shocker was the fact that a third of millionaires make less than six figures per year.
Morales says although most don’t join the military to get rich, with strategic planning and intentional financial actions, it’s attainable.
“We can do it even while in the military, guys. It’s not farfetched,” said Morales.
To summarize the briefing Naughton highlights a quote by self-help guru Randy Gage.
Gage said, “If you refuse to set a bold goal for your financial future, you’re really setting a goal anyway: to keep things the way they are.”