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    ACS financial: Virtual format complements mission



    Courtesy Story

    Fort Carson Public Affairs Office

    By Scott Prater

    Mountaineer staff

    FORT CARSON, Colo. — Since the Army introduced its people-first priority earlier this year, installations have embarked on a variety of efforts to improve Soldiers’ well-being. At the Mountain Post, Maj. Gen. Matthew W. McFarlane, commanding general, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson, directed post leaders to create foundational readiness programs for Soldiers — programs designed to help Soldiers focus on spiritual, physical, relationship and financial wellness.

    Fort Carson’s Army Community Service (ACS) has played a vital role in this initiative, as its staff have either created or enhanced programs to support the effort.

    In February 2021, Silke Bone, personal financial counselor, ACS, began teaching some of ACS’s financial readiness classes both in person and virtually. The information relayed during these classes is something ACS staff typically cover in one-on-one sessions with Soldiers, Families and government civilians, but the recent foundational readiness initiative has provided an opportunity for the staff to convey their knowledge to a larger audience.

    If there has been one positive outcome from recent pandemic prevention measures, it’s that they’ve prompted organizations to offer virtual services.

    Bone conducts virtual financial foundational readiness classes every Friday. Attendees simply sign up for a class through ACS and Bone sends them a link to join a class prior to its start time.

    “We can also use a variety of video conferencing platforms,” she said. “Attendees can request that we use a platform they are familiar with. I’ve conducted classes via Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Webex. Really, the chosen platform depends on the size of a class. I’ve had classes with as little as six attendees and some over 100, but our average is around 12.”

    When deciding the types of classes offered virtually, Bone and Scott Brown, personal financial readiness specialist, ACS, searched through the ACS course catalog and chose those topics that might benefit the largest number of service members. Ultimately, they chose four classes — Developing a Spending Plan, Saving and Investing, Thrift Savings Plan and Stretching Your Money.

    “We want to try to reach service members when they reach life events in the military,” Brown said. “For instance, when they reach their first duty station, when they get married, (permanent change of station), have their first baby, buy a home and so on. That way, Soldiers and Families can get the best resources and education in those times they may need them most.”

    As pandemic restrictions have eased somewhat recently, ACS staff started offering limited in-person financial readiness classes, as well.

    “I just taught a class at Prussman Chapel for a unit, and I’ll augment the family life center’s program taught by the chaplains soon,” Brown said.

    Bone prefers to meet people in person because she can demonstrate with different techniques, she said, but the virtual classes are here to stay. At least for the time being.

    “During the height of the pandemic, I was teaching virtually only,” she said. “It simply works better for some people — for a spouse with small children, for example, who would have to load the Family into the car and make a trip down to our offices, or for a deployed Soldier. It’s nice to have that virtual option.”

    While April is Financial Literacy Awareness Month, Brown said it provides a good time for ACS staff to reach people and relay the importance of being proactive about their finances.

    “We’re also here for unit leaders who want to be reactive to Soldiers who get into trouble with their finances,” he said.

    To find out more about financial Foundational Readiness Classes or to register for classes visit or call Fort Carson ACS at 719-524-4601.



    Date Taken: 04.23.2021
    Date Posted: 05.07.2021 15:32
    Story ID: 395942
    Location: US

    Web Views: 15
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