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Naval Support Activity Bethesda’s (NSAB) Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) recently held a class to teach service members the importance of creating a spending plan to take charge of their financial situation.

“Poor money management can affect a lot of things such as getting assignments overseas and this applies to everyone not just people in the military – getting better interest rates and credit ratings,” said Brian Pampuro, FFSC financial counselor. “If you manage your credit well and you manage your finances well you can save upwards of $350,000 in interest fees over the course of a lifetime.”

Classes such as this one serve the best interests of the military by giving service members the ability to not be distracted by their personal finances and focus better at work.

“We use a Navy curriculum because the Navy cares about its Sailors, service members, DOD (Department of Defense) civilians and contractors and feels their quality of life is a little bit better because they have this type of education,” said Pampuro. “We want folks to be able to come to work and focus on their jobs without having to worry about a lot of stuff.

“At some point you’re going to leave the Navy or the Marine Corps and the Navy wants us to be prepared to do that,” he added. “They want us to be able to transition having the skills and the knowledge and the ability to transition with very little difficulty and be financially fit. That is why we have this program. We want people to go from, ‘oh my god, what am I doing with my money?’ to feeling confident and feeling good about their money.”

The class taught service members how to avoid falling victim to financial pitfalls.

“The top three reasons people struggle financially are: not knowing how to budget or how to manage money, not knowing how to save or invest properly and poor credit management,” said Pampuro. “The Navy did a survey a couple years ago and this is why people get in trouble: cars. We’ve got youngsters who go to Great Lakes for boot camp and then they go to school and the first thing they do is go buy a car. A lot of people get in trouble because of credit and uncontrolled spending - you start to get a little expendable cash and it starts burning a hole in your pocket.”

Cryptologic Technician 1st Class Jennifer Andersson of Navy Cyber Warfare Development Group attended a recent session of the class and wants service members to take advantage of the opportunities that the military provides and to know there is nothing to fear from financial counseling.

“I think people might be a little reluctant to take these classes because they might think they will be judged harshly on their financial standing but it’s not like that at all,” said Andersson. “They provide a really comfortable and relaxed atmosphere.”

For more information on class schedules or to make an appointment for a financial counseling session, contact Pampuro at 301-400-2414.