Fort McCoy News October 25, 2013

National financial program adviser speaks at McCoy

STORY & PHOTO BY ROB SCHUETTE
Public Affairs Office

An employee from the Dave Ramsey organization spoke about the keys to financial success at a Sept. 30 Financial Scorecard workshop at Fort McCoy.

Dave Ramsey is one of the more-noted financial advice organizations in the country, especially for military affairs, said Kevin Herman, Fort McCoy Army Community Service (ACS) Financial Readiness Program manager.

Photo for Financial Scorecard article
Chris Hogan of the Dave Ramsey financial organization emphasizes a point during a Financial Scorecard workshop at Fort McCoy.

Chris Hogan presented the program at Fort McCoy. Hogan, a former All-American football player, began his financial career working for a bank and then by owning his own business before he joined the Dave Ramsey organization.

"When I worked in a bank I wasn't helping people," Hogan said. "I love educating, empowering and helping people."

Hogan said when people talk about money their situation is either getting better or getting worse but never seems to stay the same

One of the major money strategies people need to embrace is that no one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes, Hogan said. The main thing is to let go of it, decide not to make the same mistakes again and to move on.

The four keys to financial success are to: 1) save money to be ready and be prepared; 2) budget to live within your wages; 3) eliminate debt to stop owing and start growing; and 4) to change your financial future by planning for success and commit to making sound monetary decisions with the available resources.

"Money is not good or bad," Hogan said. "It goes where we tell it to go. You need to know the differences between needs and wants."

Because looking at the big picture can overwhelm some people, Hogan talked about a number of small-scale strategies people can use to right their money ship.

Paying off debt is a strategy people can use to begin to achieve financial success. Hogan said one way to do this is to arrange debts from the smallest to the largest and pay off the smallest debt first.

"If you start with the biggest debt, you may become discouraged before you can see the progress of paying it off and give up," he said. If people can pay down the smallest debt, they are encouraged to build on the momentum from that success.

Many people also fall into the trap of swiping a credit or debit card and don't directly associate that with spending until they reconcile their bank statements at the end of the month, he said. By then, it is too late to decide you have overspent. In this case, paying cash on an as-you-go basis can help, he said. People can set aside a certain amount of cash for such activities as dining out, entertainment, etc. When the cash for a certain activity is gone, no more money can be spent on that activity until the next paycheck.

Other strategies that help ensure financial success include having sufficient term life insurance to cover income loss in case of death and to have a will.

The end result is to ensure there is enough money available to take care of financial priorities, such as food, shelter, transportation and clothing, he said.

Step-by-step goals can be undertaken to ensure there are sufficient resources available to cover such things as an emergency fund, debt, three to six months of expenses, retirement, college funding and paying off a home mortgage early.

"People can make changes to get to where they want to be financially," he said. "You can if you will. You have to be honest with yourself about where you are and where you want to go.

Hogan also held a question-and-answer session with attendees to respond to some of their personal questions about their financial situation.

For more information about the Dave Ramsey financial organization, visit the websites daveramsey.com/chrishogan, daveramsey.com/speakers, facebook.com/chrishogan360, (Twitter)@ChrisHogan360 or call 1-888-22-PEACE (73223).

Herman said Fort McCoy was pleased to offer a speaker from a nationally known and respected financial organization. Herman said members of the Fort McCoy community also can schedule appointments with him at ACS to get information about various financial matters.

For more information about financial matters in the Fort McCoy community, call 608-388-3505.