Nikola March Joins FFSC To Help you Save
Story and Photos by MCSN Olivier Clement, PAO, NAF Atsugi
Financial stability is a common goal for Sailors in the Navy. This becomes even more significant for those stationed overseas due to additional expenses and other unique overseas challenges. Naval Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi’s very own Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) offers assistance to Sailors stationed at Atsugi in accomplishing their financial goals.
This past December, Nikola March joined the FFSC team at Atsugi as the new Personal Financial Manager and has hit the ground running. “In one day I had already taken twenty-five calls and had a couple of one-on-one meetings,” said March. “People reach out for many reasons.”
FFSC’s goal is to have your money work as hard for you as you work for it by providing individuals confidential meetings, but also by offering classes and assisting with reduced meal programs.
According to March, Sailors new to overseas assignments do not always realize the additional expenses they may incur when first arriving or forget they are still spending money when utilizing foreign currency that doesn’t resemble the U.S. dollar. “When you change money into yen or any foreign currency, it’s almost like you’re dealing with Monopoly money,” said March. “People just need to be conscious. Sometimes people will not be aware that is not the case.”
Before meeting with FFSC it’s important to first take a comprehensive overview of your finances. Next, figure out what your financial goals are, and what you’re trying to accomplish. Finally, come up with a step-by-step plan detailing what actions you’ll take to achieve those goals and in what timeframe. This allows you to leave the office with an action plan, preferably nothing too overwhelming, just concrete steps that can be taken immediately to begin improving your financial posture.
“Mr. March teaches a two-day class that goes over all the basics of budgeting for junior Sailors E5 and below,” said Andrea R. Bowen, FFSC Work and Family Life Supervisor. “It teaches people how to interpret your Leave and Earnings Statement (the equivalent to a civilian pay stub) and it teaches how to establish a basic budget, savings and investing plan, and long term retirement planning. All the basics for having a healthy financial life.
Bowen highly recommends the class. Once a budget has been established, individuals can manage to keep debt down and enjoy themselves, but within their means. “March is doing an outstanding job, and two things,” said Bowen, “Number one, he loves what he’s doing and that’s always important. (Number two) he cares about the Sailors and even though he’s new here, he has a lot of experience stateside.”
Attaining financial stability and peace of mind is possible for all Sailors stationed at NAF Atsugi. Reaching out to the Fleet and Family Support Center can be the first step on that road.