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United States Army
Financial Readiness Program
3401 Santiago Avenue
Building 3401 Santiago Avenue
Fort Wainwright, AK 99703
Resources are available to help you understand and manage your finances, including one-on-one financial counseling to assist you and your family with financial readiness. Services are designed to focus on money management issues throughout your active-duty lifecycle and into retirement. Financial readiness educational opportunities range from basic planning to long-term investing. Check out the information below to see what’s available at your installation.
Finances are the leading source of stress in the lives of military families. The Financial Readiness Program offers classes and one-on-one counseling to resolve problems and reduce financial stress. The mission of Financial Readiness is to reduce indebtedness and requests for emergency assistance and to prevent financial difficulties before they arise. The vision of Financial Readiness is Soldiers and Families living within their means and providing for their financial future.
Plan a PCS Budget/Cost of Living
Personnel who are on Permanent Change of Station Orders will need adequate funds to travel and set up their new household. When determining your mode of travel, know that the expense of driving through Canada can exceed military travel entitlements. Unless you are considering a vacation, you may want to choose air travel. The cost of living in Alaska is also higher than most areas in the lower 48. If you decide to live off post, most apartment leases include heat and water but require renter to pay electric; budget about $200 monthly for electric costs, more if electric water heater. Some leases, especially for single family homes, require the renter to pay all utilities; in this case, you will need to budget approximately $1,000.00 above the rent amount. Be careful. Prices are rising. Ask to see utility bills, especially heating oil, for the previous year. Estimate your cost by the quantity used (number of KW electric, gallons heating oil, gallons water) multiplied by current cost/unit.
Apartments rent approximately $850 a month for one bedroom, $1100 for two bedroom units, and $1,400 for three bedroom apartments. Single family homes, depending on how many bedrooms, bathrooms, garages and surrounding land each of them have, may rent for $800.00 to $2400.00 a month without utilities.
There are companies wanting to give military members "a great deal." But it may be a great deal for them and not for you. Here a few guidelines to help you decide whether or not to sign a contract.
A contract is a legally binding document. You should carefully review all the terms and conditions before signing. Have a legal assistance attorney look at it before you sign. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Talk to your Relocation Counselor or Consumer Affair Financial Assistance Program Manager for further information on planning for your move.
One-on-one counseling services are available for self-referred or command-referred individuals in the following topic areas:
Focuses on improving the client's personal financial skills, such as budget development and financial planning. Also provides informational services on developing a spending plan, managing personal finances, evaluating assets and liabilities, and improving a client's ability to perform as an informed consumer.
Feeling wronged? Have you had an unpleasant experience with an area business? Do you have a complaint? The Financial Readiness Program provides consumer complaint resolution, mediation, and referral assistance for both local and national complaints.
Be a smart consumer. Make educated decisions. Research products before you buy. The Financial Readiness Program office has many publications and resources to help you.
Credit Report Analysis and Credit Repair
The Financial Readiness Program can assist to obtain copies of your credit report, explain the information in the report, and help you take steps to dispute and correct inaccurate information.
Stop harassing phone calls, establish a workable plan to repay creditors, and re-establish your credit.
Family Supplemental Subsistence Allowance (FSSA)
The FSSA is designed to offer an additional cash subsistence allowance of up to $500 for low-income military households. Soldiers may qualify by income or by participation on the Alaska Food Stamp program. FSSA screenings are done on a walk-in basis at the Financial Readiness Program office. Bring current end-of-month LES, ID card, social security card for all Family Members, and (if applicable) Food Stamp entitlement letter.
Financial Planning for PCS Move
Counseling is available to discuss and plan for financial factors involved in a PCS move, including before, during and after the move.
Information and Referral
The Financial Readiness Program can provide information and referrals to many on- and off-Post agencies. We encourage you to contact us for all of your financial and consumer questions.
The Financial Readiness Program has an extensive library of books and videos available for check-out. We also have many booklets and handouts for distribution free of charge.
Financial Education Classes offered at Army Community Service:
Bank Account Management (AR 608-1 4-39) (1.5 hours)
This class is mandatory for command-referred Soldiers who have abused or misused their checking account. Others are welcome to attend. Learn how to track deposits and withdrawals from your banking account. Learn how reconcile your bank statement with your transaction register. Bring current bank statement and transaction register.
Banking and Credit (1.5 hours)
Choosing a financial institution, choosing a credit card, understanding credit reports, building and repairing credit.
Budgeting and Debt Liquidation (1.5 hours)
Setting up a budget and paying off debt. Bring LES, pay stubs, monthly bills, credit card statements with minimum payment, balance and interest rate for your individualized plan.
Consumer Awareness and Large Purchases (1.5 hours)
Avoiding scams, ID theft, consumer rights and responsibilities, large purchases (furniture, electronics, vehicles, homes).
Financial Planning for Deployment (1.5 hours)
Changes in pay entitlements, paying bills, vehicle storage insurance, setting goals, Military Savings Deposit Program, updating important documents, pros and cons of Powers of Attorney.
Financial Planning for PCS Move (AR 608-1 4-39) (1.5 hours)
This class is mandatory for E1-E4 Soldiers on their initial PCS move. Spouses and other ranks are encouraged to attend.
Personal Financial Readiness (AR 608-1 4-39) (8 hours)
This class is mandatory for first term/initial term E1-E4 Soldiers. Spouses and other Soldiers are invited to attend.
Topics covered include Principles of Personal Finance, Banking, Credit, Saving and Investing, Understanding Your LES, Setting Goals and Developing a Spending Plan, Insurance, Making Large Purchases, and Consumer Awareness.
Savings, Investments, and TSP (1.5 hours)
You don't need to have a lot of money to save money. Everyone can save, even if it's $10 or $25 a month. The key is to start saving early. Learn about different saving and investing options, including tax advantaged option.
Contact Financial Readiness Program for dates of scheduled classes. Additionally, units and other groups are welcome to request classes to meet their specific needs.
Motor Vehicle Insurance
Alaska has a mandatory motor vehicle liability insurance law which requires the operator or owner of a motor vehicle to have motor vehicle liability insurance in effect when the vehicle is operated on a highway, vehicular way or area, or other public property in the state. The insurance policy must meet the minimum coverage amounts of $50,000.00 for injuries or death to any one person, $100,000.00 for total injuries or death per collision, and $25,000.00 for property damages.
Effective July 1, 2002, Alaska law requires that proof of such motor vehicle liability insurance must be in a person's possession at all times when operating a motor vehicle and shall be presented for inspection upon the demand of a peace officer or other authorized representative of the Department of Public Safety.