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MCCS trying to make finances as easy as 1, 2, 3

For people who are not financially savvy or are drowning in debt, keeping a good handle on their finances can become a real burden.

Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Community Services can assist through its free personal financial assistance programs. MCCS Marine and Family Services offer programs to service members and families that focus on financial education, counseling and information.

“One thing most people don’t realize is that living paycheck to paycheck is a self-inflicted problem,” said Beth Middleton, personal financial specialist, Marine and Family Services, MCCS. “Everyone needs to know how to manage finances because they affect every aspect of life.”

Financial classes are offered every Friday at 9 a.m., in building 13150, which emphasizes education on personal fiscal needs. The sessions are designed as a series; however, all classes are not mandatory.

The first course is a basic budgeting class, held the first and third Friday of every month, which focuses on organizing finances, establishing goals, saving and developing a realistic spending plan.

The second course is a class focused on investing, and is held the second Friday of every month. This course teaches the various ways to build your wealth through investments.

The last course, held on the fourth Friday of every month, keys on credit management. It explains what credit is, the importance of good credit and how to build or repair credit.

“One of the most important things to know and understand, in addition to a budget, is credit and the impact it has on everyone’s life,” Middleton said. “Credit will decide whether you can receive a loan for a car or house, rent an apartment, and in some cases determines if one is eligible for certain career paths.”

“Many Marines and sailors can be affected by their credit when a security clearance is required,” said Gerald A. Williams, financial management consultant, MCCS. “Depending on the severity of each case, service members may be unable to re-enlist or be promoted because of their credit and debt-to-income ratio.”

To help meet the financial education demands for one of the Marine Corps’ most populated base, the center also offers a Command Financial Specialist Training Program for service members at pay grade E-6 and above.

In addition to scheduled sessions, the financial center staff offers one-on-one consultations for financial planning, debt, major purchase planning, retirement, saving bonds, mutual funds, the Thrift Savings Plan, Roth and traditional Individual Retirement Arrangements and risk assessment.

“Those who take CFSTP are trained to educate and counsel basic financial issues,” said Williams. “Our goal is to equip every unit with at least one Marine with financial knowledge to turn to.”

Mission readiness is a primary objective of the Marine Corps and good financial responsibility is essential to success, said Middleton. The morale of Marines and their families tend to be better when they are in control of their finances and are able to put money aside for the future.

“Everyone is encouraged to take the classes we offer,” said Middleton. “Even if you are in control of your finances, it never hurts to get a little extra knowledge, and no one should ever be too embarrassed to ask for direction.

MCCS Financial Services is located on Mainside, building 13150 (behind the 13 Area Medical Center). Walk-ins are welcome for the classes and appointments are encouraged for one-on-one sessions. You can make an appointment by calling MCCS Financial Services at (760) 725-9790 or (760) 725-6098. For more information about scheduled classes, visit http://www.mccscp.com/home/classschedule.aspx.

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