OAK HARBOR, Wash. (NNS) -- Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) hosted a Command Financial Specialist (CFS) class at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island May 10-14.
The purpose of this class is to educate future specialists about finances and how to help other Sailors within their commands understand their finances and how to handle tough financial situations.
"This is a five-day course, and we host this at the FFSC every quarter to Sailors who have been selected by their command to do financial counseling at their command," said Kathleen Johnson of Nazareth, Texas, a Personal Financial Management (PFM) head at FFSC. "This week the Sailors are gaining education on how to actually make that happen. They're getting basic knowledge. They're getting their responsibility and how to do financial counseling; they're getting the tools they need to perform their jobs as command financial specialist."
Over the course of the five-day class, future financial specialists learn about personal finance management, establishing a spending plan, managing credit, Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), car buying, saving and investing and retirement planning.
"I took this training in order to help my fellow shipmates and their spouses on financial management and making sure that if they ever have money problems, we can help them get out of it and prevent them from getting into that situation in the first place," said Aviation Ordnaceman 1st Class (AW) Andrew Delange of Thibodaux, La., assigned to Tactical Electronic Attack Squadron VAQ 129.
One of the main tools a CFS uses to help other Sailors is a financial planning worksheet, which displays income, debt, savings and living expenses.
"We see a lot of people not knowing where they're spending their money, not understanding that they need to live within their income," said Johnson. "A lot of folks are deep in debt because they adopted a lifestyle that they cannot maintain at their current income, so what we are seeing is not a money problem but a behavior problem,"
Some of the class participants are not only learning to help members of their command, but themselves as well.
"During the course it taught me to look at my finances better and how I was using my money, and as a supervisor, it would help me to pass on that knowledge to my junior Sailors," said Master-at-Arms 1st Class Raymond Manibusan of Barrigada, Guam, assigned to base security. "I learned about financial planning; the work sheets and tools offered here helped me break down all my finances, showing me exactly where my money was going and being wise about my spending."
By using pay and allowances wisely, having a spending plan and adequately preparing for financial responsibilities during one's career, Sailors can improve their personal financial readiness.
"We have an interactive class this week, and it's a small one, which makes it nice and what I've seen so far is the Sailors are absorbing the topics and asking excellent questions. It's one of the best classes we've had," said Johnson.
Although the CFS training course is designed for Sailors E-6 and above, Johnson recommends Sailors E-5 and below go to the million dollar program. "Our million dollar program is open to all hands including spouses, and it is an abbreviated version of what our command financial specialists are getting this week...it gives them everything they need to know, from creating a spending plan to credit management, debt management and car and home buying, to saving and investing and retirement planning, and any financial situation you may face."
By using the knowledge, tools and resources available, Sailors become better equipped to build future wealth, emergency savings, lower personal debt and ensure mission readiness.
"I definitely learned a lot about finances and my spending habits and would recommend everyone in the Navy to go through this course, I wish I knew what I'm learning now 13 years ago before I joined the Navy," said Barrigada.
For more news from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/naswhidbey/.