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Soldiers step toward 'Financial Peace'

Next session starts March 7

Sgt. First Class Arthur L. Woods, Financial Peace University instructor, gives a block of instruction on smart purchasing decisions during a Financial Peace University course on JBLM North. Photo credit: Sgt. 1st Class Miriam Espinoza

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Financial debt has the power to bring stress into your personal and professional life. From marital problems to obtaining a security clearance, your finances can keep you from doing the things you want to accomplish.

To help soldiers and their families avoid any of these issues, the 593rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command chaplain's office hosted a six-week "Financial Peace University" course Jan. 10 to Feb. 14 on Lewis-North. The course provided soldiers with the skills to be successful at managing their finances.

"Whether you are single or married, soldiers need to be good stewards of (their) finances and all of us can improve in our financial management skills," said Maj. Shannon Philio, deputy command chaplain, 593rd ESC. "So many problems arise out of mismanagement of finances, and getting into debt can affect relationships as well as mission readiness."

The course focused on saving money toward your emergency fund, getting rid of debt, budgeting, investing, understanding your credit score and making smart purchasing decisions.

"I wanted to learn how to manage my money better, but one of the biggest things I learned in the course was how to manage my credit and how important that is," said Spc. Alexia Marrow, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 593rd ESC.

Ten soldiers and family members attended the course, which was held every Wednesday for two hours. Each week, the course focused on a separate subject and had discussions on how to apply the fundamentals they were learning throughout the course to their day-to-day lives.

"Since attending this class I have paid my credit card debt and have started my emergency fund," said Pfc. Errin Arnold, HHC, 593rd ESC. "Coming here weekly helped me re-focus and keeps me motivated to follow my budget."

The military partnered with FPU in 2001 to help soldiers and family members learn how to handle money. Financial Peace University was founded in 1994 by Dave Ramsey to teach people how to take control of their money.

"FPU is a great opportunity for soldiers and family members to learn how to create a budget, pay off debt, make wise spending decisions and save for the future," said FPU Instructor Sgt. First Class Arthur L. Woods, master religious non-commissioned officer for 593rd ESC.

America's First Corps has scheduled a free nine-week FPU course March 7 to May 2. The course will be held every Wednesday from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Lewis-North Chapel. Dinner, day care and financial training for teens will also be provided. Soldiers and family members can register for the course at

"It is a great program to help soldiers to stay clear of some of the traps out there and get into a plan to financial independence and financial success to achieve peace of mind," Philio said.

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