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NEWS | July 14, 2014

Diamond Tip: Save, save, save for a rainy day

By Master Sgt. Cassandra Bell 16th Airlift Squadron first sergeant

As the Air Force reduces in size and many Airmen wait to learn if they're retained, everyone should be asking themselves, "Am I ready to depart the Air Force if involuntarily separated?"

Being financially prepared for separation or retirement is something many of us may not think about when we first enter the service, but it is something that should be on the forefront of our minds. We should all begin planning for our retirement or separation right from the beginning of our careers.

Many young Airmen may think that they don't have an income large enough for them to save, but putting even $20 dollars into a savings account every pay check can add up to a good amount for emergencies.

If you haven't done so already, I suggest you begin an allotment and have your money go directly into a savings account. That way, you never miss it out of your paycheck.

Also, if you've paid off your car or any type of loan, keep putting that money into an account and save it. If you've lived without that money for the length of a loan, you can keep living without it while increasing your bottom line.

One of my past supervisors told me that from the time she was a staff sergeant, she put every raise into a savings account. She did not increase her spending because she got a raise but continued with the same standard of living as if she had never received a raise. That is just one example of how to save. Maybe you can't afford to save your entire pay raise, but maybe half? Also taking advantage of the Thrift Savings Plan is an excellent idea to help build long-term wealth.

Many times supervisors aren't aware an Airman is having financial problems until it is too late. As supervisors, it is your duty to know your Airmen. If you develop a trusting relationship with them, they will feel more comfortable letting you know when they're having financial difficulties. Also, as a supervisor, you should be aware of all the different agencies and services available to assist your Airmen.

As the Force Management programs are scheduled to continue well into 2015, everyone should be looking at their finances and taking appropriate steps to improve their situation. It's never too early to start saving.