Partner Spotlight: Military Saves – Helping the Military Community Save
This month, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Ready.Save.Grow. campaign spotlights Military Saves, a campaign conducted by the U.S. Department of Defense in cooperation with the Consumer Federation of America, that promotes the long-term benefits of saving to all service members, their families, and civilian employees. We spoke with Brenda McDaniel, a program manager with the Defense Department's Office of Family Policy/Children and Youth, about Military Saves and her thoughts on various savings issues.
What are the top savings challenges faced by service members and their families?
The complexity of today's financial environment combined with the realities of military life, including frequent moves and deployment, may present unique financial challenges for service members and their families. The financial areas that service members and families often focus on throughout the military lifecycle include ensuring that there are adequate funds for an emergency, debt repayment, planning for retirement, education expenses, purchasing a home, and identifying and achieving savings goals.
How does Military Saves encourage year-round savings?
The motto of Military Saves is "Start Small, Think Big" which encourages savers to put a little into savings at a time and to think long-term. Additionally, the goals of Military Saves are to encourage service members and their families to increase household savings for short- and long-term needs and decrease consumer debt. Military Saves seeks to develop an organizational culture that supports personal financial education, encourages program participation and the use of resources available to service members and their families. Military Saves does this by:
- Focusing on financial literacy education and counseling
- Supporting the availability of bank and credit union incentivized savings products, especially regular (automatic) deposits, systematic increase in amount of deposits, and advance planning for purchasing and investing; and
- Encouraging service members and their families to take financial action to improve their financial well-being.
What resources does Military Saves offer to help savers get started?
Military Saves is co-sponsored by the Consumer Federation of America and the Department of Defense. As it enters its seventh year, Military Saves has now become an integral part of the Department of Defense's financial readiness campaign. The Office of the Secretary of Defense, the departments of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and the National Guard Bureau all formally support Military Saves.
The Consumer Federation of America has several resources to help service members and their families get started with Military Saves. These resources include the Military Saves monthly newsletter, blog, social media and "For Savers" resource pages found on the Military Saves website.
Through the personal financial management program, each of the military service branches offers financial counseling, debt liquidation assistance and consumer advocacy services. To find a local personal financial counselor, visit www.militaryinstallations.dod.mil. Military families may also contact Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 to schedule an appointment with a financial consultant who can also provide information about Military Saves.
One of the Military Saves online saving resources details buying and managing U.S. Savings Bonds. Why is this important information for service members and their families?
Education and information about U.S. Savings Bonds is provided to service members and families as a savings resource. U.S. Savings Bonds are a safe government security backed by the full faith and credit of the United States that does not lose money. Bonds can be bought in a child's name. Parents can also use bonds for qualified education expenses with tax benefits.
Additionally, the Treasury Department's online TreasuryDirect system provides 24/7 access and convenience to Americans all around the world, which is great for those deployed overseas. You also can purchase savings bonds or other Treasury securities automatically through payroll direct deposit. More information about savings bonds can be located on the Military Saves website.