FORT KNOX, Ky. –
Future Soldiers will now receive financial management training prior to attending Basic Combat Training, as the first in a series of classes throughout their careers designed to help Soldiers avoid financial troubles while securing a better financial future.
Financial management training has long been offered during Future Soldier training programs, but the class is now mandatory and includes money tips, retirement options, and information about the differences between the Montgomery GI Bill and the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which Soldiers must make a decision about once they reach BCT.
“Young Soldiers may experience financial troubles early in their career simply due to a lack of experience dealing with money,” said Ken Kispert, the Programs Division Branch chief in Army Recruiting Command’s Plans and Operations Directorate. “Once a steady paycheck starts coming in, they may spend extravagantly, make large purchases with horrible interest rates, and end their first term of enlistment not much better off than when they started.”
According to Kispert, who oversees USAREC’s Future Soldier training programs, the Army collaborated with the USAA Educational Foundation to create the training site financialfrontline.org, as well as a series of personal financial management classes spanning a Soldier’s entire career.
In addition to information about the two GI Bills and retirement options, the financial management training for Future Soldiers covers the following five tips:
Clean up your cash flow.
- Pay off debt.
- Put money toward savings.
Open a checking and savings account.
- Choose the bank or credit union that fits a Soldier’s needs.
- Build an emergency fund.
Minimize or avoid debt.
- The goal is less debt.
- The Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act can help lower interest rates, once on active duty.
Be smart about cars.
- Soldiers can’t bring a car to Basic Combat Training, and potentially not to Advanced Individual Training, either.
Start planning for your future now.
“Classes begin with a series of short videos covering getting ready for basic training,” Kispert said. “The videos discuss choosing a bank, avoiding debt, saving for retirement, and the Blended Retirement System. They also walk the Soldier through the differences between the Montgomery GI Bill and the Post 9/11 GI Bill, so they can make an educated decision once they reach BCT.”
Army senior leaders understand financial health supports mission readiness. Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy signed a memorandum Jan. 13, 2021, for the Army to provide financial literacy training throughout Soldiers’ careers and at points of major personal life events, such as promotions, marriages, births of children, divorces, pre- and post-deployments, and before retirement.
“We want to set Soldiers up for success from the very beginning of their careers,” Kispert said. “These classes are one aspect of ensuring our Soldiers are in the best shape possible for successful careers.”