By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Pedro A. Rodriguez, Naval District Washington
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Naval District Washington will join military installations and organizations worldwide in educating service members and military families on the benefits of saving money during the 2016 Military Saves Week Campaign, Feb. 22-27.
Military Saves Week is an annual opportunity for installations and organizations to promote good savings behavior and a chance for service members and their families to assess their own saving status. Typically hundreds of organizations participate in the Week, reaching millions of people.
"While not considered important to service by some, financial instability can have a great impact on the lives of service members and mission readiness," said Paul Grossman, regional work and family life/education services coordinator.
Financial instability can have a negative 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 there has been an improvement in the general population. According to a 2014 Consumer Federation of America and the American Savings Education Council Annual Savings Survey, Americans who report saving at least five percent of their income increased from 47 percent to 52 percent. Nearly 1,700 organizations participate in the 9th Annual America Saves Week.
Among the services, 60 percent of post-9/11 military families say that they feel secure about their financial future, and 14 percent of active duty does not regularly contribute to a retirement account according to the 2015 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 the 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 "
Since its inception in 2007, more than 200,000 service members and their families have taken the Military Saves pledge. According to the Military Saves 2015 report the last Military Saves Week was a "record-breaking year."
"In 2015, Military Saves Week had the largest participation to date, with 600 organizations signed up or reported participating," said Grossman. "Those organizations included 399 installations, commands, and detachments, 113 financial institutions - and 110 non-profit organizations. Military Saves reports pledges reached a record-breaking last year of 33,086 pledges across all services."
Grossman extended an invitation to those who have started taking care of their financial readiness to continue to do so, and for those who haven't started to members to take the pledge.
"I invite every service member, their families, and civilian employees to take the Military Saves Pledge and to 'Set a Goal. Make a Plan. Save automatically,'" said Grossman. "The pledge is a commitment to exercise good financial habits, improve financial readiness, and encourage other Americans to do the same."
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/.