By Master Sgt. Katherine Hallock Beard
19th Airlift Wing Legal Office
“Since Jan. 1 2014, I’ve had 30 members that have had their security clearances suspended, revoked and denied. Out of these, 99 percent have been for financial issues,” says Pamela Bowman, Personnel Security Program Manager at Little Rock Air Force Base. In addition to losing job security, the consequences of financial mismanagement range from paying higher interest rates and the denial of home rental and vehicle loan applications to emotional resignation.
Many resources are available to help the public create and maintain plans for financial security. Free sites like Khan Academy, CNN: Money 101 and University of California-Irvine’s OpenCourseWare: Fundamentals of Personal Financial Planning educates the learner on a variety of topics like budgets, retirement-planning and credit cards. Other courses like Purdue University’s Planning for a Secure Retirement are more focused on a single topic.
Free apps are also available to help with financial management. Expensify and HBL Moneywise are two that have been developed to directly help by tracking expenses, balancing budgets, categorizing expenses and keeping abreast of upcoming due dates on bills. Other apps like Love Food Hate Waste, Repair Pal and RedLaser indirectly help the user’s finances with money-saving ideas and purchases.
Little Rock AFB offers a variety of resources to help members financially. The Airman & Family Readiness Center offers a wealth of information on financial planning and has two Accredited Financial Counselors on staff. Services offered include a monthly brown bag series on financial matters and individual counseling. The A&FRC can be reached at 501-987-6801.
Once a member has started down the slippery slope of financial despair, the base legal office can offer guidance on what they can do about money issues regarding debt, debt collectors, housing and bankruptcy. In some cases, the attorneys can process actions for the military member under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Military Lending Act, and Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.
Walk-in hours at the legal office are on Mondays from 2 – 3 p.m., and Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 – 10 a.m. The office is located at 1250 Thomas Avenue, Suite 222, or call 501-987-7886 for more information.