Rain, rain go away...

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. David Liapis
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Most people are familiar with the idiomatic concept of storing some cash away in one's pocket for a rainy day. Well, the weather report for today is cloudy with scattered showers.

While today's spotty precipitation may only affect certain groups of people, the 30-day forecast shows the possibility of widespread showers and downpours.

So, are you ready for the rain? Do you have any savings built up to withstand the storms that have started in the U.S. capitol region and have spread world-wide? With volatile skies becoming the norm these days, it's probably not a bad idea to put a little extra change in your "pocket."

"In general, the average Airman should be saving 10 percent of their pay with a goal of having enough to cover six to eight months of expenses," said James McDaniel, 39th Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness Center personal financial readiness expert. "For civilians, the goal is eight months as well."

That may seem like an unattainable goal, but it's possible. McDaniel shared some success stories that included an Airman who managed to save $45,000 and invest $750 a month in his Thrift Savings Plan retirement fund - all in only 42 months of military service. The financial expert pointed out that all it took was dedication and lifestyle choices that helped him meet his goal.

"That Airman was able to save all that money and still have a great quality of life," said McDaniel.

If I've learned one thing in my nearly 10 years of military service, it's that being in the military or having a government job is not a guarantee of job security. The past decade has been marked by economic downturn, furloughs, reductions in force, "force shaping" measures and now government shutdown.

McDaniel pointed out that basing a savings plan on a military-pay-based budget is good so long as you're in the military. However, he stressed that Airmen should adequately plan for transition out of the service, whether planned or not, because there are certain costs of living that are currently covered by military benefits that will not be after separation.

Just as we cannot control real storms and prevent the rain from ruining our parade, we really have little control over much of what's happening in the realm of the fiscal crisis. However, we can control our spending habits and create a savings plan that will help us weather the financial storms of life.

What will you do today to make sure you've got more than lint in those pockets of yours when the barometer drops?