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YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — If you’re a SOFA-sponsored person serving abroad, there aren’t a lot of people around to help you crunch the numbers.

Language barriers may prevent you from going out in town, and base banks and credit unions are limited in scope.

“Stateside, you have any number of local, nonprofit organizations to help you — but we don’t have a lot of financial education services overseas,” said Michael Splitener, a work and family life consultant in Yokosuka’s Fleet and Family Support Center.

To this end, a two-day financial forum will be in Yokosuka this week, 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday at the Yokosuka Fleet Theater.

The symposium, hosted by the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) Investor Education Foundation, will discuss saving and investing, avoiding the predatory loan trap, smart mutual funds, 529 plans and more.

Financial readiness is one of the Defense Department’s goals for military families, said Cathy Adams-Bomar, Navy Fleet and Family Support Programs regional program director.

“As for predatory lending, Congress is very concerned about military members being targeted for practices such as payday loans, rent-to-own schemes etc.,” Adams-Bomar said. “The [fiscal 2006] budget required a sharp focus on this issue, in terms of identifying those who are behaving in a predatory manner, and educating military members on how to avoid being preyed upon.”

While these businesses aren’t so prevalent in Japan, they can easily access the unwary through the Internet, she said.

“This group is here to give you information on mutual funds, college savings, investing and avoiding predatory lenders,” said base commanding officer Capt. Greg Cornish.

“This is not a sales pitch and nothing will be sold at this forum,” Cornish said. “Every sailor and every family can benefit from good financial management. This is a way to manage your money with confidence.”

This week’s forum is open to active-duty servicemembers, spouses, military retirees and Defense Department and Homeland Security Department civilian employees and their spouses.

“I’m encouraging everyone [to] take advantage of this,” Splitener said. “We all work hard for our money. Let’s learn how to make our money work for us.”

Walk-ins are welcome, but the first 200 people who register will receive a free financial kit. Register online at and click on “Yokosuka event,” by phone at 243-3372 or in the theater lobby on the day of the event.

Yokosuka financial seminar schedule

Thursday, April 20

12:30 p.m. — Sign-up1 p.m. — Commander’s welcome and remarks1:10 p.m. — General session with questions and answers2 p.m. — Refreshment break2:30 p.m. — Financial seminar: Smart Saving and Investing: Avoid the Predatory Loan Trap3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. — Financial seminar: Mutual Funds, 529 Plans and MoreFriday, April 21


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