By Alexandra Shea Fort Jackson Leader
Fort Jackson was recently named the top Army installation to participate in the Military Saves Campaign. Traditionally recognized in the month of April, this year’s campaign was spearheaded by financial gurus from the installation’s Army Community Service office through virtual and social distanced classes and seminars to achieve the goal.
“We have been close (to earning the title) in past years,” said Angela Crosland, ACS financial readiness program manager. “This time we were number one.”
Crosland said the six members on her team are each passionate about helping Soldiers and their Families to achieve their financial goals and are responsible for the installation earning the top honor.
Crosland explained how the current COVID-19 pandemic has helped the local community to see and understand why making a financial plan is important. While all installation Soldiers continue to receive their pay and benefits, some Families have had to make lifestyle changes as they became single income households due to furloughs and layoffs.
“The program is aimed at reducing debt and building wealth,” Crosland said. “You always want to have a plan for the future. Right now there are a lot of Families, inside and outside the gate that have had to make a shift to say ‘hey, what can I live without.’”
Though the installation ACS office has been temporarily closed to help prevent the spread of the virus, staff continue to telework and offer assistance utilizing digital technology.
“We continue to host classes,” Crosland said. “We have virtual classes and we have held in-person classes for units that have requested us during the pandemic.”
She emphasized the use of social distancing measures, hand washing and use of masks and face coverings to ensure in-person unit classes remained healthy and safe.
Though the Military Saves Month is highlighted each April, Crosland said that financial independence is a year-round focus for her and her team.
As Fort Jackson moves closer to a steady state, Crosland said ACS classes hosted for the community will resume. These classes include financial readiness, automatic savings, Thrift Savings Plan, savings for retirement and holiday savings.
“Financial planning is not a one-shot deal,” Crosland said. “It’s a day-by-day, month-by-month activity. We do this with one-on-one sessions and classes.”
Crosland said new classes to be expected include how to rebuild credit scores and planning for crisis such as Family emergencies, loss of job and natural disasters (in addition to crisis such as the ongoing pandemic).
“We are a tool to reach your goals,” Crosland said. “We can’t tell you what you should invest in, we provide guidance and have resources available.”
Units interested in scheduling a class or those who would like to have a one-on-one financial check-up can call 751-5256. For more information about the Military Saves Program, visit www.militarysaves.org.
For the most up-to-date times and dates of upcoming classes, Crosland said to check out the Fort Jackson ACS Facebook page.
“We are the population we serve,” Crosland said of her team made up of military veterans and retirees. “We have a wealth of experience and that’s what makes our team so great. We are passionate about what we do and ready to help our population meet their financial goals.”