Brian Pampuro served in the United States Navy for exactly 30 years and a day. Now retired, he works with the Fleet & Family Support Center in Annapolis, helping today’s military personnel and their families navigate the occasionally rough seas of personal finance.
Fleet & Family Support Centers offer a number of social programs and support to our military community, but Pampuro focuses on financial training.
As a 30-year veteran whose military training centered around medical combat work, Pampuro called the AFCP accreditation process to teach life skills courses eye-opening.
"I’ve picked up so many tips and great information, things I wish I knew as a young man. I want today’s sailors and their families to realize what an advantage it is to learn and develop strong financial habits at a young age."
Pampuro teaches courses such as Credit Management, Developing a Spending Plan, Financial Workshop for Teens and the popular How to Survive the Holidays Financially.
"We follow established curriculum, but also have flexibility to develop additional workshops when we see a need." For example, when a casino opened nearby, one base began offering a gambling workshop to help military personnel make smart spending decisions.
Pampuro says that many of the money lessons he covers are universal, such as the importance of saving, budgeting and understanding credit. Still, he does notice interesting patterns of behavior when it comes to young enlisted men.
He laughs. "There’s something about young guys and their cars."
The military typically offers its members great auto loan rates, but Pampuro often sees young sailors proportionally overspending when it comes to their "ride." Car buying workshops have become a regular feature in the Fleet & Family Services offering.
The program also tackles topics that are unique to the military lifestyle, such as Financial Deployment plans. When a family member deploys and is absent for an extended tour of duty, financial roles often shift. People who are used to having personal finances handled for them, or at least having a sounding board to help make spending decisions, are suddenly left to their own devices. Courses like this help both the deployed personnel and their family prepare for these adjustments.
Pampuro is also a big advocate for the Thrift Savings Plan, which serves as a 401(k) plan for federal employees. "Military pensions are important, but the TSP is a smart way for men and women in the military to start building financial stability now."
In addition to community classes, Pampuro conducts outreach courses to various departments on base, as needs arise, and also spends time doing one-on-one counseling.
"I enjoy all the work I do, but I find the one-on-one consulting particularly satisfying. When I can sit with someone and go deeper into some of these topics, that’s when I see the information really sticking."
Practical Money Skills thanks Pampuro for his military service, and his ongoing commitment to education.