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Member Money Map on McChord

Ready to get your financial house in order?

Make sure you review your financial plan at least once a year because life happens. Photo by Tim Samuel from Pexels.

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A financial plan is just a fancy way of saying you know what your financial goals are and have a plan that will help you achieve them to ensure your long-term security and well-being. Harborstone Credit Union has Money Management Coaches on and off McChord ready to be with you on your financial journey each step of the way to break through the complexity and make the process simple.

Why do it?

A financial plan helps you evaluate your current financial state, identify goals for your future, and make a concrete plan for financial success. This plan can serve to prepare you for anything and gives you and your family a financial road map so you can focus on the mission.

And a map is exactly how Harborstone helps you. Alyssa Lein, Money Management Coach at Harborstone, will sit down with members at Harborstone's McChord branch (next door to the BX on McChord) with no judgment, leading you through the credit union's Member Money Map tool. This is an opportunity to:

  • Review your total income.
  • Determine what kind of debt you have. Knowing this can help you determine what needs to be paid down first.
  • Make a spending plan. Track all the money you bring in and what you spend during the month; then review the numbers and make adjustments to save more and pay down your debt.
  • Create security for later. Think about what the future holds for you and your family. Then ask yourself: What kind of financial cushion will we need to face life's milestones? Identify what you want to save for and create an actionable plan.
  • Create an emergency fund. You need a certain number of months of living expenses in case of an emergency. This should be the first step for anyone looking to build their financial security.
  • Save for retirement. Although it might be hard to imagine now, saving for retirement is one of the most important ways you can secure your financial future. You can also look into opening a separate traditional or Roth IRA for your own personal account during your appointment.
  • Invest for growth. You have many options for growing your personal fortune. Make sure you understand the relationship between risk and return before you start investing.

Lein says her goal is to help members refrain from living paycheck to paycheck so that unexpected events don't force them to take out high-interest loans or find help from a high-interest paycheck loan business. She also likes to hear members' dreams and aspirations and be part of making a plan to reach those.

"What is nice about this tool is that it identifies all those things that keep us up at night, and it works to get rid of those," says Lein.

Concerned about sticking to your financial plan? Try these strategies:

  • Make it as automated as possible. Automatic transfers to your savings account or payments to your credit card can help you stay on track toward your goals.
  • Write it down. Putting your goals in writing will remind you what you're working toward when things get tough.
  • Find opportunities to save. Did your grandmother give you a big check for your birthday? Was your year-end bonus more than you expected? That's great! Now use those windfalls to help build your savings.
  • Be patient. Managing your debt and saving money takes time. Don't expect major financial changes to happen overnight.

Review your financial plan

Remember, a financial plan is a living document. Things change. Goals and objectives change. Life happens. Make sure you revisit your plan at least once a year to ensure you're on track or to make any adjustments for changes in your circumstances, such as getting married, the birth or adoption of a child, a divorce, etc.

Harborstone offers those services for free to members. To get started, call 800-523-3641 or (253) 584-2260 or visit

Military OneSource contributed to this report.


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