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BAUMHOLDER, Germany — For all the hard work and danger involved, certain aspects of Army life can be sweet.

For some soldiers, there’s no need to pay rent out of pocket, and money can just kind of build up in their bank accounts while on deployment, leaving them flush and easily able to buy that sweet plasma screen TV or awesome Playstation 3 upon return.

But it’s never too early to squirrel away at least a bit of that hard-earned scratch for the future.

To help soldiers and civilians get their finances in order, the Baumholder community is hosting a series of workshops to help understand everything from investments to how to pay German bills.

The program, which ran Wednesday and will run again on March 6 and March 7, is part of a Defense Department effort known as the Military Saves program, said Capt. Jamie Danna, Detachment A commander for the 8th Finance Battalion, which is helping to put on the seminars at Baumholder.

Military Saves is part of the broader America Saves program, a campaign to help people save more money and get their finances in order. Recently, the U.S. Commerce Department reported that the nation’s personal savings rate for 2006 was a negative 1 percent, the worst showing since the Great Depression.

The Baumholder effort is a partnering of Army officials such as Danna, the local Army Community Services office and the banks and credit unions on base.

With so many soldiers having recently returned from a deployment in Iraq, the time is right for them to make sure they’re financially organized, Danna said.

“Some of them should have savings from deployment, and they’re doing their taxes,” she said. “It’s a good time to start planning and saving for the future.”

Making sure soldiers are financially sound benefits the Army as a whole, she said. Soldiers who find themselves in financial emergencies wouldn’t have to rely on the Army Emergency Relief system, Danna said, and it also helps families whose soldiers are facing increasing deployment duties.

Financial issues can affect a soldier’s focus when he or she is in the war zone, she said.

The military’s Thrift Savings Plan is one thing that is emphasized at the Baumholder sessions, Danna said. Through the plan, personnel can have a certain amount taken out of each paycheck for retirement.

“If a soldier is in combat or training, if they’re having financial problems, they’re going to focus on that,” she said. “We’re at the lowest rate of savings since the Great Depression, and the military is the same.”

For more information on the Military Saves workshops, call the Baumholder ACS at 485-8188 or 06786-68188.


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