Managing financial debt from mortgages, credit card bills,
energy bills, food purchases, as well as unexpected expenses can be
difficult during hard financial times, but it isn't impossible, said
Clarkin, the Fort McCoy Army Community Service (ACS) Financial
Readiness Program manager, said personnel can use planning available
through ACS to help them meet their financial goals and establish or
maintain a satisfactory life style.
Clarkin states "that the difference between people who are
well off and those who are not as well off -- is not so much of a
factor of how much you earn, but rather how much you spend and what
you spend it on." Although Clarkin admits that earning more money
may be helpful in balancing budgets or reaching goals, he said doing
this alone rarely solves the problem. "The more you earn the more
you spend!" he said.
Clarkin gave an example of someone who modified their spending
by spending just $5 dollars a day less. Clarkin stated that by
modifying your spending habits and impulse buying in this way,
consumers can save more than $1,800 a year.
"If you were to take and invest that savings and obtain an
average return of 8 percent over 20 years you would have more than
$88,000 in savings," Clarkin said.
For some people, Clarkin states they may be able to do this by
simply buying one less coffee latté‚ a day or as in Clarkin's case
by eliminating the purchase of three cans of soda, a bag of potato
chips and a candy bar per day.
Clarkin recently was awarded the designation of Certified
He attended the training through the Association for Financial
Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE).
To obtain the certification Clarkin was required to have at
least two years of financial counseling experience and pass two exams,
one on Financial Counseling/Debt Management and the other on Personal
As part of the new ACS accreditation process, all ACS Program
Financial Managers are required to be Certified Financial Counselors.
In addition to Clarkin's new designation, he also has several
years of experience working in the financial services and insurance
industry as a registered financial investment representative with the
federal Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the National
Association of Securities Dealers (NSAD), which was recently renamed
in 2007 as Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
licensed to sell financial and insurance products in both the states
of Wisconsin and Minnesota.
"Through my years of selling financial products and
performing debt counseling I have acquired considerable expertise that
I can draw upon to help personnel develop budgets, save money for
school, retirement, recreation, and tips on how to invest etc.,"
Clarkin said. "I look forward to working with all eligible
personnel in the Fort McCoy community, including military and civilian
personnel and their family members."
The ACS Financial Readiness Program also offers a series of
courses to help consumers develop their budgeting and financial
Some of the offerings are Principles of Personal Finance,
Planning and Budgeting, Financial Goal Setting, Thrift Savings Plan,
Credit Reports, Checking Accounts and Banking, Credit Cards, Saving
and Investing, Insurance, and Making Large Purchases.
personnel can schedule a class or check class schedules/availability
by calling (608) 388-3505.