ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Army News Service, Feb. 17, 2010) -- Monday marks the start of the annual Military Saves Week, the culmination of a year-long Department of Defense financial readiness campaign.

The campaign was designed to encourage servicemembers and their families to establish positive fiscal management habits through savings and financial planning.

Military Saves is part of "America Saves," a national campaign involving more than 1,000 non-profit, government, and corporate groups encouraging individuals and families to build personal wealth.

Campaign strategies include encouraging servicemembers and their families to take "The Saver Pledge," a commitment to exercise good financial habits and motivate others to do the same. Savers who enroll online receive electronic newsletters and advice from an e-Wealth Coach.

The campaign also encourages DoD credit unions and military banks to aggressively promote automatic deposits to savings accounts that can help servicemembers and their families take better control of their finances and build emergency savings.

"Financial security directly impacts Army readiness and reduces stress for Soldiers and their families," said Charles Lowery, acting director of Military Saves.

"Soldiers need to know that their families will be prepared in case of a financial emergency while they are away on deployment," he said.

The Army's Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command, in conjunction with the Office of the Chief of Public Affairs, is coordinating the Army's response to Under Secretary of Defense Tommy T. Thomas's message by urging all departments to participate in Military Saves Week, including The Army Spouse Employment Partnership program.

"Our tax preparation companies are providing one-on-one counseling to Soldiers and their spouses on the importance of saving and investing and the tax consequences of doing so," said Dr. Lillie S. Cannon, ASEP program manager and accredited financial counselor.

If military personnel are enrolled in a savings program, they are eligible for the Saver's Credit which could net them up to $1,500, she said.

Commanders and senior enlisted leaders are encouraged to place an emphasis on the Military Saves campaign directly before and during Military Saves Week, campaign officials said. They also urged commanders to appoint a Military Saves representative at the installation or command level to engage local credit unions and banks to make savings training and programs available to Soldiers and to focus on publicizing them during Military Saves Week.

"Military Saves is a command initiative in which leadership can work to create a culture that encourages savings and financial readiness," said Lowery. "However, changing our financial culture is a formidable task and requires everyone to take personal responsibility for adopting a 'Military Saver' lifestyle."

Every commander and civilian director is encouraged to sponsor a Saver Drive during Military Saves Week, while continuing to promote financial readiness throughout the Military Saves campaign year, according to Lowery.

For more information about Military Saves Week visit