The Airman and Family Readiness Center (A&FRC) at March Air Reserve Base, Calif. is offering free personal financial readiness services to the March military community, which is good news for those who want to maintain or start a foundation towards financial goals.
Pamela D. Plick, a certified personal financial counselor with the March A&FRC, has been assigned to March since February to provide financial readiness to service members and their families through face-to-face private, no-cost, and confidential financial services, including: education and training, financial counseling, consumer advocacy, and referrals.
Making sure that servicemen are accountable for their finances is important to making sure that long-term financial goals are met whether they are just starting out, in the middle of their careers or are planning to retire soon, said Plick.
"I think everyone should come at least once, mainly the younger service members," said Plick, "what I'm finding is they are needing to have a budget in place so that they are planning for the long term."
According to Plick, her consultations on the Blended Retirement System have been educational and influential in getting the word out and allowing for better understanding of the nuances of the upcoming decision next year whether to elect to stay with the current system or move to the new one. She said many are not contributing to retirement because they don't understand where the money is going or how to allocate their investments. Helping with the long term view and assisting with retirement decisions is only one of several of the services offered.
"I help put a plan in place to find a solution to whatever it is that is needed," Plick said, "I do that by acting as a consumer advocate for the members. If they have an issue with a creditor, I can help them on how to get the situation resolved. We can look at freeing up funds that can be reallocated to an emergency fund, and if they have a family, make sure that they have insurance or an estate plan in place."
Each financial counseling session is normally an hour, which consists of a short interview and discussion of financial documents and goals or issues. Beyond the initial fact-finding, where the situation or goal is discovered, Plick assigns "homework and tasks" to be done for later follow-up sessions where a plan is fine-tuned and a schedule is made. Plick said that most consultations last two to three sessions depending on what type of assistance is needed.
She is passionate about working with service members because she grew up in a military family and she is a veteran herself said Plick. She said her background makes her tuned into the special challenges that military families face when it comes to planning for the long-term and building wealth and she is hoping more members take advantage of the free service.
"Even if they think a situation is good they should sit down with me," said Plick, "and maybe we can make a good [financial] situation better."
Plick's office is located inside the Airman and Family Readiness Center, Bldg. 214. If you have questions or would like to schedule a counseling session, contact her at (951) 655-5350 or PFC.March.USAFR@zeiders.com.