By Sgt. 1st Class Wacinque BeMende
As I approach retirement, I am grateful for years of financial education that I have received because I took advantage of volunteer opportunities and free tools around me. These opportunities have taught me financial literacy and enabled me to help others.
I am currently volunteering at Holloman Air Force Base’s tax assistance center. There are also tax assistance centers located at White Sands Missile Range and Fort Bliss to assist military families with their taxes. For more information about these centers, call your installation’s legal office.
By volunteering for the tax assistance center, I stay up to date on tax laws and deductions with free training the military provides to tax volunteers. I also have the opportunity to help fellow Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors and Marines and their families file their taxes.
Another tool that has helped me financially is an application you can download on your smartphone or tablet which invests your spare change. I personally use Acorn, a free application, which rounds up my purchases and invests my change into an exchange-traded fund. The application works very simply. If I purchase a cup of coffee for $2.40, the app will take an extra 60 cents and invest it automatically. I don’t feel a pinch in my wallet because the app is just using spare change from here and there. I’m investing every time I spend money.
These are just a couple of tips that have helped me be financially ready to retire and start the next chapter of my life.