WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Military Saves Week, a partner in the Department of Defense Financial Readiness Campaign, will run through March 2.
The program conducts an annual savings campaign and is part of America Saves, coordinated by the non-profit Consumer Federation of America.
The goal of Military Saves Week is to encourage service members and their families to take the "Military Saves pledge," a commitment to begin the journey toward financial freedom. The program promotes positive changes in personal financial behavior through the notion that everyone can "Set a Goal, Make a Plan, Save Automatically."
"Without those three elements, saving money is so difficult," said Paul Grossman, regional work and family life coordinator. "Military Saves Week is a time when service members and families can focus on their future goals. It is a time to pause and rethink their financial goals and strategies for achieving them. Whether young or old, single or married, it's never too late to start planning and saving. During Military Saves Week, service members should be evaluating their emergency fund, ways to reduce debt, and savings for short and long-term needs.
Financial instability can have a great impact on the lives of service members and mission readiness. In addition to the stress, poor finances can cause on an individual's personal life, it can affect them professionally as well. Poor credit or high debt can lead to loss of security clearances, which affects overall mission readiness.
Statistics show that it is a concern, as well. According to a 2012 Consumer Federation of America and the American Savings Education Council Annual Savings Survey, fewer than 50 percent of Americans say they have a savings plan with specific goals. Among the services, 54 percent of military families say that they have not set aside sufficient emergency funds to cover at least three months' worth of expenses, and 68 percent express that they feel stress from their family's current financial condition according to the 2012 Blue Star Families Military Family Lifestyle Report.
Military Saves Week aims to curb those rising numbers by educating service members about how to take control of their finances and plan for their futures. Service members can visit www.militarysaves.org to make a pledge to save, and are encouraged to attend training provided by the Personal Financial Educators at Fleet/Military and Family Support Centers. Throughout the week, Personal Financial Educators will offer various workshops and one-on-one consultations on multiple financial topics. These sessions will assist in debt reduction, investing, credit management, thrift savings plan, retirement planning, and saving for college.
"The most successful part of Military Saves Week has been the partnerships established between personal financial educators, commands, and community organizations to deliver workshops, display informational tables, and conduct one-on-one consultations has increased money management awareness and resiliency for Service members and their families," said Grossman. "Military Saves reports pledges increased by over 30 percent from 2007 to 2012."
The program has been successful since its debut in 2007, with 2012 being the most successful. The last Military Saves Week had the largest participation to date, with 339 organizations signed up or reported participating. Those organizations included 253 installations, commands, and detachments, 62 financial institutions - with more than 305 branch locations participating - and 24 non-profit organizations. In the first quarter of 2012, 26,394 individuals took the Military Saves Pledge, increasing the number of people enrolled in Military Saves to more than 128,000.
"As we move into the future, expect more materials, resources, and information from Military Saves," said Grossman. "Our focus on a year-round effort has improved and expanded. We will continue to engage with Commands and community organizations. Look for financial themes focused on savings throughout the year from your local Family Support Center."
For more information about Military Saves Week, visit www.militarysaves.org, or contact a local Fleet/Military and Family Support Center.
For more news from Naval District Washington, visit www.navy.mil/local/ndw/.