Marines

Green Marine being financially aware

21 Mar 2007 | Lance Cpl. Jon Holmes

Financial management is something that affects all adults at some point in their lives. When it is neglected, it can lead to a downward spiral of debt.

Financial management is having control of your finances, and one way to maintain that control is to prepare for the future.

"Everybody needs a savings account," said Becky Radford, personal financial management specialist, Marine and Family Services. "No matter who you are or what your rank is, everyone needs a savings account for those unexpected occurrences."

Most financial trouble happens when people aren't prepared for financial hardships such as automobile repairs or family emergencies.

When family emergencies or other events occur, individuals seek a quick fix for the financial problems and usually find themselves victim to predatory lending.

"A predatory lender is a company that advertises a convenient service, but then charges absorbent interest rates," said Radford. "The interest rates are sometimes as high as 200 percent to 300 percent."

Another issue that can cause financial strain is scams. Two scams currently plaguing service members are fraud credit repair services and costly educational degree programs.

The credit repair services work by offering to restore credit scores for a price.

"You make payments to the company so you can open an account with them," explained Radford. "Then they say they will negotiate a repayment plan with your creditors that is low and affordable. You pay money into the account and the company disappears with your money without ever paying a single bill."

The education scam companies offer individuals a fast-track path to a degree using only College Level Examination Program Tests, and require payment for all study materials.

"You pay the company a certain amount, usually in the thousands, and in return they send you the materials needed," said Andrea Hodges, education services specialist, Lifelong Learning Center. "We (the education office) provide the latest CLEP tests (and study materials) for free. Also, you can't get a degree by just taking CLEP tests."

If you are contacted by one of these organizations, try to get the name number and location of the caller then contact the Depot Law Center. If there are any questions about the legitimacy of an education company, call the Education Office at (843) 228-2086.

"Never give out any of your personnel information over the phone unless you initiated the call and know the business you are dealing with," added Radford.

For more information on financial management contact, Becky Radford at 228-2218.

Headquarters Marine Corps