News: MCCS hosts annual Military Saves Seminar
Story by Cpl. Jovane Holland
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – More than 450 Marines attended the sixth annual Military Saves Seminar, hosted by Marine Corps Community Services, at the base theater, here, March 6.
The overall goal of the event, which featured guest speakers and informational packets from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, was to expose Marines, especially junior Marines, to relevant information and resources available to assist them in becoming financially effective, said Gerald Williams, a financial management consultant with Marine and Family Programs, Marine Corps Community Services and coordinator of the event.
“Over the years, we’ve found that this event is very effective in getting Marines to pay attention and receive the necessary information needed to help them be financially healthy,” said Williams. “It’s important for Marines, especially the younger ones, to have a database of information and resources should they ever need our services.”
The seminar featured several key speakers, including a personal testimony from Sgt. Maj. Jackie Robertson, sergeant major for Marine Air Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.
Robertson recounted how visiting and taking advice from the base financial advisers eight years ago led to him to a successful career in real estate and control over his finances.
“After a while, you get tired of working for your money,” said Robertson. “Because I took advantage of the resources offered to me at no charge, I’m now making my money work for me.”
Francis Dong, a representative with FINRA, introduced Marines to the benefits of saveandinvest.org, a website dedicated to giving free, unbiased information and tools to manage money, and offered tips for understanding and managing credit reports.
“It’s important to know these things because your financial health matters,” said Dong. “If your finances aren’t in order, it can reflect on your health, job, marriage and more. Being prepared and knowledgeable financially is the key to being successful not only in your military career, but in all aspects of your life.”
Additional topics covered included managing GI Bill benefits and 529 Plans and the basic principles of investing, presented by Peter Chandler, also a representative for FINRA.
“The most important information to take from this entire seminar is that you can do whatever you set your mind to,” said Chandler. “Set your goal, make sure you understand your options, create a plan and execute.”
The seminar proved to exceed expectations, and will hopefully continue to be held for years to come, said Williams.
“The main thing we want Marines to know is that they don’t have to wait for this seminar to come around to come out and get information or advice,” said Williams. “We are here to help with financial situations in any way we can, free of charge - be it by creating a budget, calculating net worth, or setting up future plans.”
For more information, contact the Financial Counseling Office at 760-725-9790.