Heroes at Home: Senior Airman Alexis D. Lezcano

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Alexis D. Lezcano
  • 319th Air Base WIng Public Affairs
I came into the military in January 2010 with only $86 in my bank account. My credit history at that point was non-existent. My Beacon score was around 570.

I didn't really do anything for the first two years. I was at Royal Air Force Lakenheath and living in the dorms, so things like a car were out of the question.

When I arrived at Grand Forks, I had a phone bill and my credit started to build slowly.

I had a 'welcome to Grand Forks' briefing and talked with Mr. Thomas Slaughter, community readiness specialist. He was amazed that I had a lot of money I saved up, but I had nothing in a savings account or 401K.

Mr. Slaughter told me I should consider investing.

I took his advice and in a matter of two or three years I went from maybe $1,000 to now having $10,000.

I bring any debt or financial questions to Mr. Slaughter. He helped me when I needed to buy a car. He suggested getting a loan to help build credit even though I had the money to pay for a car with my savings from Lakenheath.

Now, after five years, I have $20,000 in my bank account. I only owe $1,500 on my $25,000 car and my Beacon score has gone from around 570 to 842, which is only 8 points away from perfect.

I've seen a lot of individuals with higher rank than me who don't have their finances together and when they get out of the Air Force they have to worry about finding a job. Some individuals are doing so well that they can do anything they want for the rest of their life.

Those bad instances make me feel that being debt-free is liberating.

I'm free. I can live freely without a heavy burden on my chest.

Evaluate your lifestyle. It's okay to have fun, but understand what you are getting paid and all that you have to pay at the end of the day. Just realize what needs to be paid and set it aside.

Invest. Whether it's the Thrift Savings Plan or another option doesn't matter as long as your money grows.

You have no excuse. We all get paid the same.

(Editor's Note: This article is the second of a three-part series by Airmen who have received financial management assistance from the Grand Forks Air Force Base Airman & Family Readiness Center. The series will lead up to the Heroes at Home program hosted by the A&FRC, May 12, 2015 from 1-3 p.m. at the Northern Lights Club.)