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News > Financial coach has priceless advice for Team Scott
Financial coach has priceless advice for Team Scott

Posted 3/2/2011   Updated 3/2/2011 Email story   Print story

    


by Senior Airman Amber R. Kelly-Herard
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs


3/2/2011 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill -- In conjunction with Military Saves Week, Peter Bielagus, a renowned finance coach, visited Team Scott Feb. 22.

Mr. Bielagus learned about finances the hard way to include becoming thousands of dollars in debt from credit card abuse. But, he was able to recover and come out on top.
Now he travels the world, advising other people how to get out of debt.

"There's never a good time to start saving. You could be deploying, getting in or out of the military, changing relationships ... there's always something," said Mr. Bielagus. "So you might as well get started today with saving."

Mr. Bielagus explained that most people are dealing with too much debt, too big of a car payment, or they just feel too broke to save.

"After one of my presentations a college student came up to me and said he was going to school full time on financial aid, while working full time, plus a weekend job and was still broke," he said. "I challenged him to save at least one penny a day, so he started saving all the spare change he had every day. Four years later, he e-mailed me and said he had saved more than $4,000," he said.

Many are also intimidated by saving because they don't have a plan for how to do it, which is important.

"I would get started at the Airman and Family Readiness Center," advised Mr. Bielagus. "In the civilian sector, a financial counselor costs $150-$350 an hour, but it's free here and they will help you."

Most people start saving at around the age of 34, but they should start when they are younger so their money has time to slowly double its value, he said.

Mr. Bielagus acknowledged that not all people are in financial hardship and advised those who are in good financial shape to also go to the A&FRC to enhance their finances.

"The Thrift-Savings Plan is a good place to get started and it's simple," said Mr. Bielagus. "Most people ask 'what's the difference between TSP and a Roth-IRA? They are both good, but a Roth, like many other investment vehicles could have relatively high fees. The TSP always has the lowest fee."

He also encouraged those in attendance to check and know their credit scores.

Credit scores range from 300-850, but 740 is what most people should strive for. A credit score determines how much college, a car, a house, car insurance and many other things will be. The average person with bad credit pays $7,000 more in interest than someone with good credit.

"You're never more than two years away from good credit," said Mr. Bielagus. "Your credit score spans seven years, but a two year span is what is looked at more."

He recommended paying bills on time and paying more than just the minimum payment each month on all credit cards to help improve credit scores. Mr. Bielagus recommended www.powerpay.com for those looking to get out of credit card debt.

Checking your credit report for mistakes can also help improve your score.

"Seventy percent of people have a mistake on their credit report, 30 percent of people have a big mistake on their credit report and 90 percent of people with common last names have a mistake," said Mr. Bielagus.

"The only good things that are reported on a credit score are mortgage payments, credit card payments, student loans and car payments. Everything else that is reported is bad news," said Mr. Bielagus.

Another site he recommended is www.prbc.com, which helps those who are concerned they don't have credit because they don't borrow money. The site helps users create a score by using an individual's paid bills.

To set up an appointment with a financial counselor or for more information on the financial tools available to Team Scott, call the Airman & Family Readiness Center at 256-8668.



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