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Navy Lt. Harlan Kimball, chaplain for 2nd Medical Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 25, speaks to students at a financial seminar held March 8, 2010. The seminar is part of a seven-week course that focuses on budgeting, saving and sensible spending. Thirty-eight Marines, sailors and spouses attended the course and have paid off $176,708 worth of debt and put $84,303 into savings since beginning the course. Kimball hopes to start another course in the late spring. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Meghan J. Canlas)

Photo by Cpl. Meghan J. Canlas

Logistics Marines, sailors get smart on finances

11 Mar 2010 | Cpl. Meghan J. Canlas

Military members face some of the most stressful situations that come with the increased operational tempo on the home front and the dangers they face when fighting on the frontlines. So why would they let money problems become part of the equation?  According to webmd.com, 81 percent of Americans claim financial problems as the top stressor in their life during a September 2008 survey.

To alleviate the stress that money can have on service members and their families, Navy Lt. Harlan Kimball, taught a financial class to 38 Marines, sailors and spouses from Combat Logistics Regiment 25, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., March 8.

“I started teaching this class because I noticed the demands were high,” said Kimball, a chaplain for 2nd Medical Battalion, CLR-25, referencing to his day-to-day interactions with service members.

The seven-week course was taught Tuesdays and Thursdays for one hour, and covered topics such as budgeting, saving and sensible spending.

“One of the most important things I learned was to do a budget,” said one of the students in attendance.  “A budget doesn’t mean not having fun, not spending money; it means allocating money for use.”

The course teaches students not to buy on impulse, but to save and work toward an end goal.

“The course reinforces a lifestyle change and pushes not to have debt,” said Chief Montgomery S. Clemons, corpsman with 2nd Med. Bn.

 “It pushes not to have instant gratification, but to save until you can buy without debt.”

Clemons, who began taking the course because one of his sailors needed financial help, said the course is important because it stresses to leaders how important it is to teach their [Marines or sailors] a lifestyle that can take the worry off of their plate and help foster a more financially secure future.

“No matter how much money you have, you’ll always spend too much without a budget,” he said.

One of the students said the course helped their family implement a plan where they were able to see progress. In the end, they were able to pay $9,000 towards an $18,000 credit card debt.

“We have an end goal in sight,” she said.  “It’s not an unknown number, without a plan, without a fixed time frame… I know that in ‘x’ number of months this amount of money will be paid off."

So far, the 38 students have paid off a grand total of $176, 708 of debt and saved $84,303 since they began the course. 

Kimball said he’s hoping to start another course in the late spring.  For more information call 910-451-0521.


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