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Specialists Armed to Help Shipmates Face Financial Challenges

Navy News Service

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Heather Hines, Commander Navy Region Southwest Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Commander, Navy Region Southwest Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) sponsored a seminar Oct. 2 in hopes of providing additional resources and expanding the knowledge of command financial specialist (CFS).

As the nation continues to experience various events that could have a negative impact on individual financial standings, approximately 60 San Diego-based CFSs attended the session which featured guest speaker Dan Iannicola, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Financial Education at the Treasury Department and Jeff Toney of Troops Against Predatory Scams (TAP$).

Some consumers, according to Iannicola, are confused about why they may pay a different rate for the same item another person may purchase. Just like making a purchase at a fast food restaurant, most consumers feel they should pay the same price as the customer in line ahead of him. With credit, that is not always true.

"When you get to the counter and say, 'I'll have what he had,' and the cashier tells you $10 and (the previous customer) paid $5, most people feel that is not right. With credit, we can do that. Is it discrimination? Yes, but it's a legalized way of basing things on your credit standings," he said.

Iannicola added that consumers need to be especially mindful of not only credit scores but of the long-term effects of making purchases using credit cards.

"The problem is all debt is not the same. If you charge a $14 pizza on credit card, over a 4-year period you have paid upwards of $90 for that pie," Iannicola said.

A bad credit score can even affect employment.

"If you are in really bad debt you may even run the risk of employers not offering you a job because of what bad decision you may have made in the past, said Iannicola."

The training armed CFSs with new tools and arguments to encourage Sailors to live within their means, control their budgets and avoid credit card debt.

"I hope that the command financial specialists will return to their commands and pass the word to their shipmates that good financial health is just as important as their physical readiness," Carl Weiscopt, director FFSC, said about the event, supported by the Joint Task Force on Financial Health.

"Whether it is improving their credit scores, learning how to save more for purchases and retirement, getting the best deal on a used car, finding out about other resources to stretch their budget or discussing how to better manage their money (spending plan), the CFS and [Navy Region Southwest] FFSC financial educators are here to assist them."

The session, held in direct support of Joint Task Force on Financial Health, also covered topics relating to predatory lending and the looming housing market.

Weiscopt added that with enough planning, Sailors will be able to prevent adverse actions.

"They also need to discuss their financial issues with the chain of command early so leadership can engage and assist them with the issues before they become major challenges."

The Joint Task Force on Financial Health (Southwest) is a group of military leaders and civilian financial experts tasked by Commander, Navy Region Southwest to find ways to improve the financial health of Sailors, Marines and their dependents.

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