North Dakota

140619_HER07_15Kyle Smolek

Age: 27
Hometown: Minot
Cause: Guidance for fellow service members

Educated about the family’s finances from an early age by his father, a pharmacist, Smolek was alarmed to overhear fellow service members discuss stocks “guaranteed” to double in a few weeks or 9% interest rates on student loans when rates for active-duty members are capped at 6%. Four years ago he initiated regular information sessions on finance at Minot Air Force Base; he has helped educate hundreds of military families on budgeting, debt, retirement investing, and more. He does one-on-one counseling too, either in person or, when deployed — as he is now in Guam — via Skype and FaceTime.

Says Smolek:

My advice and suggestions aren’t geared toward making millionaires overnight. Hopefully it reduces the constant worry and stress that countless people have about their money and their retirement years down the road.”

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