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Making a difference in Barksdale through financial peace

Barksdale Air Force Base, La. --

Financial Peace Military (FPM) is celebrating its first anniversary in Barksdale as it continues to bring hope to our Airmen and their families! Within the past year, over sixty Barksdale Airmen have attended FPM, and the military team of volunteers who have the heart to make a difference in Airmen’s lives is growing as they hook arms with the Chaplains in this crusade in impacting Barksdale through this life-changing course.

Throughout the year, all four classes avoided $1.6 million worth of debt by declining the loan and credit offers they received, which include home loans, auto loans, personal loans and credit cards. Additionally, participants have saved over $35,000 towards Emergency Funds, and paid off over $39,000 toward debt. It’s truly amazing to see how serious these Airmen are in getting rid of debt and taking control of their finances, especially that there is a huge population of Airmen on base who are buried in debt!

This is how Airmen take ourselves and our families to the next level – not just learning inside the classroom, but by applying the principles in real life. One NCO, an FPM Graduate, saw me at the fitness center and said with excitement in his voice that he has just finished paying off one of his credit cards and is on track to becoming debt-free by the end of this 2017! What a great way to celebrate the Holidays! Additionally, the course helps strengthen our families by becoming a better spouse, a better parent, a better friend and Wingman because we learn the role of money as we relate with our loved ones. The Chaplains are there to minister to Airmen should they seek counsel regarding relationships.

We tackle relevant topics, like the upcoming Blended Retirement System that will soon be affecting the younger generation of our Military. We invite knowledgeable NCOs and Officers to join us as guest speakers, and take what we learn to our workplace. An NCO, also an FPM Graduate, said he mentored his five Airmen about the importance of saving for retirement and they started doing so through the Thrift Savings Plan. We inform the class on free financial resources and legal services provided on base by the Airman & Family Readiness Center and the Barksdale Legal Office.

It is important to not take the course lightly because we are sharing real world experiences. There is huge value in having participants from different tiers of the Air Force because we get to share and learn from our struggles and victories over their years in service and in their personal lives. There are Airmen who approach us depressed because they see no hope and they’re drowning in consumer debt. This class is a tool to help them realize there is a way out, that’s why FPM is also considered a form of resilience training. We also have a Senior NCO whose spouse passed away unexpectedly. However, having gone through the course, her family has become secure, and she developed confidence knowing she has a support group that’s ready for her and her family.

From when I first started twelve months ago up to this day, I’m grateful because the FPM Participants’ teammates and supervisors all supported them going through this class and allowed it to pave the way for transformation in their lives. Classes are being conducted through ten Lunch-and-Learn sessions (two sessions per week, total of five weeks) in various locations such as the Barksdale Club, the Education Center, the dorms and the chapel. Interested Airmen can email the Chaplains office at 2bw.hc@us.af.mil or contact 318-456-2111 for inquiries on upcoming classes.

Related article: http://www.barksdale.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1053206/changing-the-lives-of-our-barksdale-airmen-with-financial-peace/