By Hank Coleman
Posted in Articles
In 2009, FINRA Investor Education Foundation commissioned a national study of the financial capability of American adults and 800 military members and their spouses to establish how well people manage their money. The results of the study revealed that members of the military struggle with their finances and educating themselves about money. According to the study, 36% of respondents indicated that it was at least somewhat difficult for them to cover their expenses in a typical month.
In order to combat the low level of financial acumen in the military community, Military Saves (which is a part of America Saves and is operated by the non-profit Consumer Federation of America) have created a national marketing campaign to encourage members of the military to save money. This year marks the third year of the Military Saves program. Military Saves Week falls on the last Sunday in February and goes to the first Sunday in March. This year it’s February 27th to March 6th.
Members of the military’s finances are a topic that is generally not talked about until a problem has developed. However, are a few things that supervisors down at the lowest levels can do to ensure that their Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines are educated on finances.
There are many resources available on American military bases to help teach financial readiness. In the Army for example, volunteers and staff can teach classes to units as a part of Army Community Service. Each unit can also have one Soldier trained in financial readiness who is prepared to counsel and help train other Soldiers in personal finance matters.
Another tool available to military units in conjunction with the Military Saves program is their Military Saves Pledge. With the pledge, members of the military make a simple promise to focus on saving money, reducing debt and building wealth. They also vow to encourage others to build wealth while eliminating debt. Taking the pledge is simple and can be done online. Doing so also gives the service member the option of signing up for electronic Newsletters and a wealth building eCourse to help keep them on the right track to building wealth.
Military Saves Week is the pinnacle of the Military Saves year-long program. Many bases around the country have activities and festivities planned to support the program and instill a savings mindset on military members and their families. While most activities are left up to local units to plan, the Military Saves Week is a good time to focus a unit’s members on financial planning and readiness.
Don’t miss Military Saves Week this year from February 20th to 27th. Check your base’s local newspaper and website to find activities leading up to and throughout the week.
Hank Coleman is a Captain in the U.S. Army, freelance writer, and the founder of personal finance sites such as Military Money Might and Money Q&A. His writing has been featured on The Motley Fool, Military.com, and many others. You can follow him on Twitter at @HankColeman.