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ACS class, seminar help clear financial hurdles

Published: May 5, 2016

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (May 5, 2016) -- Purchasing a home can be a challenging process, but a Fort Rucker Army Community Service seminar could be the key to clearing hurdles and building a solid financial future.

The Home Buying Seminar takes place May 10 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at The Commons, Bldg. 8950, and registration is required by May 10.

“Purchasing a house as an investment,” Mike Burden, ACS Financial Readiness Program manager, said. “Because Soldiers move frequently, they take on the risk that their property will increase in value in a relatively short time before they move to another post.”

The seminar, which is open to everyone, will cover a variety of topics ranging from “why buy a house” to applying for a mortgage and closing on your home, Burden said.

“Buying a house is usually the most expensive purchase we make,” he said. “This seminar will not only discuss the changing realities in the market, but will also discuss changes required by new legislation regarding documentation.

According to Burden, the seminar can help first-time buyers avoid mistakes, such as not making a down payment.

“Many Soldiers have not saved for a mortgage and use the VA home loan guaranty benefit, which enables a mortgage without a down payment or primary mortgage insurance payment,” he said. “It may not be the best option depending on their overall situation and the uncertainty of property values.

Burden added that the seminar can also help first-time buyers avoid purchasing a larger home than they need,  getting a mortgage for the entire amount approved by the mortgage company regardless of their budget or value of the house and help them understand the process.

Although the Home Buying Seminar focuses on purchasing a home, the attendees should also consider attending the upcoming ACS Financial Wellness Class, Burden added.

“(The Financial Wellness Class) will focus more on renting versus buying a home as it relates to the military life style and our financial goals,” he said.

The class, which takes place May 17 from 6-7 p.m. at The Commons, Bldg. 8950, will cover numerous tips for achieving financial wellness. Registration is required by May 16.

According to Burden, the class includes topics such as our attitudes towards money, financial goals related to life goals, renting versus buying a home, new versus used vehicles, managing credit cards and long term investment options.

“This presentation will focus on security and freedom of choice when it comes to money management and how it relates to our financial goals,” he said. “Our life and financial goals change as life happens including building long term wealth and providing for a comfortable retirement.”

The financial wellness class will also offer tips to address common financial mistakes for individuals, couples and families.

“Common mistakes include not having realistic and measurable financial goals; living beyond their financial means and making poor financial decisions to use credit to purchase expensive homes, vehicles and consumer goods based on their need to appear wealthy – and spouses not communicating regarding their financial situation, individual financial goals, and how their financial situation and financial goals impact their spouse and family,” Burden said.

For anyone unable to attend to the class or anyone who feels uncomfortable stepping forward to ask for financial help, Burden urges them to reach out.

“Embarrassment, pride and fear of ridicule are the primary reasons individuals do not seek financial help until they are in a financial crisis,” he said. “It takes considerable courage to admit we need help with our finances. For those not willing to attend a class, they can contact the ACS Financial Readiness Program at 255-9631 to schedule a confidential appointment with an accredited financial counselor.”

Burden said patrons need only bring their willingness to share their knowledge and experiences.

Other upcoming financial readiness events include Credit Reporting 101 on July 7. Topics will include: how credit reports impact people’s financial futures, building and maintaining a good credit history and effectively disputing credit report errors.

For more information or to register, call 255-9631.

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