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Military Saves

Military Saves is a national campaign to persuade, motivate and encourage military families to save money every month, and to convince leaders and organization to be aggressive in promoting automatic saving. The goals of Military Saves for service members and their families include increased household savings for short- and long-term needs and decreased consumer debt.

Over the past 5 years, over 100,000 military members and their families have taken the “saver pledge” to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth over time. During 2011, across all the military services, over 60,000 persons were reached through Military Saves financial fairs and almost 40,000 persons were reached through seminars and classes. In addition, many military banks and defense credit unions promoted Military Saves Week and offered financial seminars and special savings products.

Build Wealth, Not Debt! You'll see this theme repeated throughout the year as the annual "Military Saves" Campaign encourages everyone - military and civilian - to examine their finances and align spending and saving for financial stability and growth.  Military Saves' strategies include "The Saver Pledge," a commitment to exercise good financial habits and encourage other Americans to do the same. Savers who enroll online receive electronic newsletters and e-Wealth Coach advice. It is also a part of the America Saves campaign and all four Armed Services and the U.S. Coast Guard participate annually.

Military Saves also invites defense credit unions and military banks to aggressively promote automatic deposits to savings accounts, and asks military and private organizations to promote saving and debt reduction to members, employees, and customers.

Military Saves encourages service members and their families to: Develop a personal financial plan Establish good credit Save a portion of each paycheck Enroll in SGLI, TSP, and (when eligible) Savings Deposit Program

Military Saves was developed and tested by its non-profit sponsor, Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and the military services from 2003 to 2006 and launched throughout the Department of Defense (DoD) on February 25, 2007. It is part of two larger campaigns -- the DoD Financial Readiness Campaign, and the national America Saves campaign.

All four Services and the U.S. Coast Guard participate in the campaign annually. Since the Military Saves kick off in 2007, more than 55,000 individuals have enrolled and hundreds of thousands of positive financial actions via savings or investment accounts have occurred. More than 200 credit unions and military banks participate in a wide variety of activities to promote personal financial readiness.

Who is eligible?

Active duty, National Guard and Reserve service members, DoD civilians, retirees, veterans, defense contractors, and family members of all ages. Anyone interested may contact their Command Financial Specialist or local Fleet and Family Support Center to learn more about Military Saves.

Why should I join?

Financial stability is about a lot more than knowledge -- it takes consistent action over time. Most of us do better when we have a supportive environment. Military Saves is a campaign to make every military community that supportive environment. When enough military members, civil servants, contractors, retirees, other veterans, family members, military organizations, private organizations, and companies belong to Military Saves, the entire military culture will be changed. The U.S. Armed Services will have become a saving community!

If an 18-year-old Sailor started saving $167.00 a month (approximately $2000.00 a year) and continued saving at this rate until the age of 25 and then just stopped, assuming a 12% annual return on his or her investment, at 65 years of age, the Sailor would have an investment savings of over $2,200,000.00. That is the wonder of compound interest.

"Military Savers" are encouraged to start saving whatever amount they are comfortable with (even if just $20.00 a month). Suggested goals to consider include saving 1 to 3 months worth of net income in an Emergency Savings Account, and / or establishing a retirement savings plan using tools such as TSP or an IRA account.

In a saving community, people encourage each other to save money regularly and habitually. They discourage excessive spending on non-necessities. Financial institutions help people save by offering incentives and other perks. Systems change to favor saving over not saving.

Social marketing is a process that takes time. This is not a quick fix, a specific savings program, or a one-time promotional campaign. It is a long-term, on-going effort to make real change in our nation's future.

An ongoing campaign, special events and activities are planned for the annual America Saves Week, typically the last Sunday of February to the first Sunday of March. America Saves is sponsored by the non-profit Consumer Federation of America.



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