A Financial Education Event

The Heroes at Home Financial Event Tour Update

We’ve visited JBSA, San Antonio, Lackland AFB, Randolph AFB, Laughlin AFB and the last stop was Sheppard AFB. At every base there are things that are the same: 1) we have a lot of fun presenting financial education to our military audiences 2) everyone wants to win the iPad 3) they are surprised that they can learn and have a good time simultaneously and 4) we are always grateful to USAA for providing for so many aspects of this tour. But

Friends and family at every base!

at every base there are also challenges that our military members face that are unique to that base.

At JBSA there are 11 different units from all branches and consequently we have a “purple” audience with Airmen, soldiers, Marines and sailors in attendance. As a mom with sons in each of these branches, I can still relate to my audiences. At Lackland, which is “out in the middle of nowhere” they were so appreciative that we came “all the way out” to Del Rio, TX, (right by the border) to spend time with them. They were a welcoming audience and have a unique mission of training pilots who will go into all parts of the world, flying different kinds of airplanes. We called them “the little base with a big mission,” they also have big hearts.

This past week, we went to Sheppard AFB and saw yet another demographic of Airmen who are in freshly out of boot camp and in military training for their big world mission. Many are mechanics, but there are all kinds of technical professions trained there as well—60,000 per year. There’s also ENJPT (Euro NATO Jet Pilot Training) where future fighter pilots are trained (about 200 per year).

One of the unique challenges of Airmen at Sheppard is that they are vulnerable

A Full house at Sheppard AFB. Photobombing my fellow speakers Ingrid Bruns from USAA and Bethany Grace our high energy emcee!

financially in two areas: family and love. Some of these young military members are pressured by extended family members to send money back home. We stressed that when you are getting a flight briefing from the flight attendant on a commercial airline, she says, “If the cabin depressurizes, air masks will fall from the upper compartment. If you are traveling with someone who needs assistance, put on your own mask first, then assist them.” That’s the same premise we stressed with our young Airmen, “take care of your own finances first and get financially fit and healthy, then teach your family how to do the same.” From the platform, I stressed the old adage, “You can give a man a fish, and feet him for a day. But you can teach him how to fish and feed him for a lifetime.” Yep! We gave some fishing lessons.

The other thing that slips up Airmen is love. They spend money they don’t have trying to impress a significant other by going out to eat, to movies and even buying them jewelry. Some of the jewelry stores convince these young Airmen to sign on the bottom line and they end up paying for years at 30% interest for a necklace or a ring. At one point, I almost shouted from the stage, “If you don’t remember anything I said today, remember this: NEVER SIGN FOR A LOAN WITHOUT HAVING SOMEONE LOOK IT OVER!” I believe the 1300 trainees in the audience got that point. “There are folks at Airmen and Family Readiness who would be more than happy to review a loan before you sign it.” This tip alone could save them thousands of dollars on auto, jewelry, computer and personal loans.

     One of my favorite aspects of the Heroes at Home Financial Event is reconnecting with friends and family. In San Antonio, my BFF Brenda Taylor was there in the audience. A friend knows a lot about you, a BFF knows enough to blackmail you. Brenda can blackmail me many times over! At Laughlin AFB, my good friend Beth Runkle was not only instrumental in getting the spouses together the night before the financial event, but she also introduced me as well. I love the heroes in the Runkle family! At Sheppard, our longtime friends, BG Pat “Moon” Doherty and his wife Dee Dee were there to welcome us royally. I’d call him the World’s Greatest Fighter Pilot because he did fly me in an F15E Strike Eagle once, but Bob would beg to differ about that designation. These Heroes not only brought me out to Seymour Johnson AFB many “moons” ago, but they were instrumental in bringing this tour to the Air Force!

     But the one audience member on this tour whom I love more than life itself is my son Jonathan, who is a student at ENJPT and was a smiling face that I adore. I removed a slide or two that might prove embarrassing in front of 1300 Airmen and tried really hard to not highlight my son in my presentation or during the tour day. If you want to know if I was successful in this regard, you’ll have to ask Jonathan. Apparently, parents can embarrass their kids without even knowing they are doing that. There was just one time, when I ate a blue mint in the General’s office and then addressed his staff of 55 commanders that might have been a problem. I was told later, my teeth were Air Force Blue.

We may be coming to a base near you, this schedule is constantly changing and we are adding news dates regularly. Contact us at assistant @elliekay.com for more info and continue to Aim High!

Savvy Saver Quiz – part 1 – Caring for The Environment

Do you consider yourself a savvy saver? Are you smart when it comes to buying food, caring for the environment, living on a budget, stretching your entertainment dollar and getting more bang for your transportation buck?

This is the first of a series of quizzes I’ve developed to help you target areas where you excel and categories where you can improve as a savvy saver. Let me know how you score and have fun!


 Q.  How many products do you purchase weekly that are specified as Eco-Friendly? (Some examples of the hundreds of available products include organic coffee, milk, CDs, baby products, home furnishings, apparel, and even Eco-Friendly Garden Mulch)

a) 10 or more items

b) 6 to 9 items

c)  3 to 5 items

d) 2 items or less

 Q. How often do you bring your own reuseable bags when shopping?

a) every time I shop, it’s a new habit

b) frequently, I’m trying to get into the habit

c) occasionally, when I think about it!

d) never, I just don’t think about it

 Q.  How many Energy Efficient, Star Rated Appliances do you own?

a) 3

b) 2

c) 1

d) I have no idea what you’re talking about—or none

Q.  How many CFL bulbs (compact fluorescent light bulbs) do you use in your home?

a) 8 or more

b) 4 to 7

c) 1 to 3

d) none

 Q.  How often have you purchased from “site to store?” (This is where you have products shipped from Walmart.com or another site  directly to a local store)

a) 3 or more

b) 2

c) 1

d) never

 Welcome to the scoring section of the Eco/Energy category – Give yourself the following points: every “A” answer = 4 points,  every “B” answer – 3 points, every “C” answer – 2 points and every “D” answer – 1 point

 If you scored 16-20 points:

Thrifty Taylor – Well done, you’re a SUPER SMART SHOPPER and ECO-FRIENDLY! You are not only saving money by shopping smart, you are all about saving the environment by buying responsibly as well. You probably already know that shopping site to store at walmart.com saves fuel costs by 1,000 gallons per work and saves 20,000 boxes per month. You bring your own bags, buy organic cotton clothing and really try to do your part to keep our planet green. 

If you scored 11-15 points:

Low Cost Logan – Good Job, you’re SMART SHOPPER and ECO-FRIENDLY! – You are doing a good job using your green dollars in a green way! There is an awareness level on your part of what it takes to save energy, fuel and money by making key choices that help you and your world. You can go a bit further in this area by learning to shop more organically and looking for energy star ratings on products.

If you scored 6 to 10 points:

Moderate Morgan – Nice Work, you are somewhat ECO-FRIENDLY! – There are some areas where you have learned to recycle and conserve. But you are probably still learning what it means to buy green. You want to help, but are still in the figuring out how you can make it work for you and your family. It’s great that you have the will to help, now it’s just finding the way that works best for you!

If you scored 5 points:

Extravagant Emerson – You are a one who NEEDS AN ECO BUDDY! –It might be that you’ve never really considered the environment or buying eco friendly products that can help our green earth. But did you know that using a CFL light bulb versus a standard light bulb will save $59 in energy costs over the life of the bulb? Sometimes saving money and saving energy go hand in hand. Why not make a few eco-friendly choices today? You could start as simply as using reuseable bags or replacing a few light bulbs. It’s good for you and it’s good for our environment!

 Look for more quizzes soon!

Ellie Kay

America’s Family Financial Expert (R)