An old phrase tells us that “For the love of money is the root of all evil.” Although it’s a commonly held opinion that greed can lead to a path of corruption and harmful behavior, I’m not here to share my viewpoint on moral standards. Instead, I want to tell you why money is your friend and not your foe or evil at all.
Because a lot of people understandably feel that it’s no one else’s business how they manage their money, for many, it is a sore subject that should stay a private matter.
When I grew up, I think it was considered even more taboo for people to talk about money than it is nowadays, and my parents didn’t care to get into it with me.
Most of what I learned was on my own, the hard way. So when I joined the Air Force in the mid-’90s with practically no financial knowledge, I was more prone to making mistakes.
As a new Airman, I remember hearing how I’d better pay all of my bills promptly and responsibly, and if I screwed up, I was in trouble.
I somehow did OK with basic financial survival as an Airman, but was neither financially disciplined nor savvy when it came to saving any money.
After not being able to buy a plane ticket to go home when I wanted to one year, I realized that I needed to thrive instead of just barely survive financially.
Today, there are some great resources to help an Airman do just that — thrive.
That extra help is primarily through the Airman and Family Readiness Center and Military OneSource, where military members can get a wide array of financial assistance.
But before we can run, or thrive, we have to learn to walk, or survive.
When I think of what it means to survive, I consider how I am no longer surprised by the number of Airmen I come across who either don’t know about or choose not to utilize their financial helping resources until it’s too late and they are in major financial stress.
Although I can relate to the majority of them in some way shape or form from when I was a bit younger, there is simply no reason for them to let it get to that point.
If you are one of those Airmen of any rank living tightly and barely making it from paycheck to paycheck, swallow your pride and make an appointment with the A&FRC to get a budget created.
It’s free of charge and the experts there will help see you through your plan of action.
Aside from a budget, they can advise you on creating an appropriately sized emergency fund to take care of those unexpected expenses like when the transmission in your car decides to go out or when you need to take that flight home on short notice.
Having that stash of money at your disposal can really be a stress relief and just one less thing you have to worry about in your hectic daily life.
Some financial gurus will even advise you to create that emergency fund first. The A&FRC or OneSource is the place to ask that question. Also, don’t forget about that credit card or other debt you’ve incurred.
Considering that most Americans have credit card debt, you guessed it; A&FRC and OneSource are the places you can get help.
To recap, if you utilize your helping resources, live within your means, have some emergency funds put aside, mitigate or eliminate your debt, and are still able to build up a sizable savings account, you should inquire about investing in the Roth Thrift Savings Plan or any number of other long-term investment choices.
If you get to the point of accomplishing all of that, then you can finally take a vacation to Italy or Costa Rica without charging it all on your credit card; and you should take that vacation, because you truly earned it.