Financial advice found in guide

Cannon Connections photo: Tony Bullocks The Military Families Money and Mobility handbooks are available at the Airman and Family Readiness Center which is open from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays at Building 1802.

By Eric Butler: Cannon Connections

At the end of a long, distinguished career in the military, those in the service are practically experts on how to make a smooth transition in moving across country or even to other countries.

But what about those just starting out?

Those in need of handy moving tips, whether young or old, can get their hands on a publication called “Money & Mobility” — either in paper form or on the internet. Published originally in 2006, the guide covers a wide range of topics that invariably do come up for those experiencing a Permanent Change of Station (PCS).

“This is, by far, our most distributed publication,” said John Gannon, executive director of the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, based in Washington D.C.. “We’ve distributed more than 600,000 copies. You know, the military goes through a lot of duty station changes and deployments. If they get their financial house in order, those transitions to new duty stations are going to be a lot easier.”

At Cannon AFB, “Money & Mobility” is available through the Airmen & Family Readiness Center.

“It’s very good financial information and we have it for classes or individual clients,” said Linda Sapp of the 76-page booklet.

“We have to remember that a sizeable portion of our population is just starting out in their financial lives,” Sapp said. “So there’s always more information that they need to know. Anything that we can give them, that is unbiased, is in their best interest.”

Much of the information included in the publication involves standard options for a variety of topics, whether one is in the military or not. That includes weighing the choice of whether to buy or rent a residence after moving, what’s involved in transferring children to a new school, the variety of options when it comes to investments and protecting oneself against identity theft.

Other topics have solutions that are uniquely military in nature. What items the military will move to a new PCS is one such section in “Money & Mobility.” Also included is the debate on whether to live off-base or on-base, if the latter option is possible, as well as the kind of paperwork necessary to move to a different base.

Though the booklet generally tries to provide readers with all of the possible solutions, staying unbiased, the authors definitely steer military members in certain directions.

Owning more than one major credit card, for instance, is frowned at by the authors of “Money & Mobility,” as is trying to purchase a new car or use rent-to-own stores to buy appliances like televisions.

When tempted to use a payday loan business for quick cash, the publication asks the reader to consider military relief associations — which are sometimes able to provide interest-free loans.

Sapp, whose father was in the military and who also married into the military, said she’s moved “about a ba-jillion” times and wishes that this kind of publication was around when she was younger.

“When my husband was young and active-duty, there was not the emphasis given to personal finance. It was, more or less, you learn on your own and you suffer the consequences for your mistakes,” Sapp said. “We have a very sizeable investment in each of our military members and it’s in our nation’s interest to make sure they have the tools necessary to make sound financial decisions.”