By Sara E. Martin, Army Flier Staff WriterFebruary 21, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (February 21, 2013) -- Financial institutions on post are joining forces and gearing up for Military Saves Week, Feb. 25 through March 2, to help educate military Families about how they can save and spend their money wiser.
Military Saves is a partner in the Department of Defense Financial Readiness Campaign, according to Mike Burden, Army Community Service accredited financial counselor.
"We like to do outreach and information tables during the week. In conjunction with the Army Aviation Center Credit Union and Armed Forces Bank, we will set up different tables at different locations to help reach as many people as possible," he said.
According to a memo from Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his senior enlisted adviser Sgt. Maj. Bryan Battaglia, Military Saves is a national campaign to persuade, motivate, and encourage military service members, their Families and DOD-associated personnel to save money every month, and to convince leaders and organizations to be aggressive in promoting automatic savings.
"Military Saves Week is an opportunity for our military community to come together with federal, state, and local resources including military banks and credit unions to focus on the financial readiness of military members and their Families to help them reduce debt and save for the future," the memo reads.
A table will be set up March 1 in the atrium of Bldg. 5700 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Three other outreach tables will be set up at the neighborhood centers in conjunction with Picerne Military Housing.
The tables are manned by financial counselors and bank representatives with pamphlets and helpful information. There will be some giveaways as well.
"We provide information about the program and answer financial questions people have. It is also a chance for people to set up appointments if they wish to get further information about saving and finances in general," said Burden.
There will be a table set up at the Bowden Terrace Neighborhood Center Feb. 26 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at the Allen Heights Neighborhood Center Feb. 27 from 10-11:30 p.m. and one set up at the Munson Heights Neighborhood Center Feb. 28 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
"[People] will get information on how to start saving or how to improve their savings," said Burden. "We like to have the on-post financial institutions involved because they provide excellent information because they are experts in savings."
Events such as the tables are key to maintaining financial fitness and personal readiness, according to the memo, which places a lot of value on the military spouse.
"Engaging our military spouses is important as they play a vital role in maintaining financial discipline and stability within a military Family. Furthermore, by learning good financial habits early in life, our children will strengthen their financial fitness for the future," it stated.
More people are saving money now than they have in the past, according to the financial counselor, but for those who have not started saving, he said they need to begin immediately.
"The key is to start yesterday. The sooner you start saving the more you have because of the interest. Whether [people] want to save money for a year or for 50 years, the sooner the better," he said.
Anyone is allowed to stop and speak with the representatives at the tables but only military personnel and their Families can make an appointment with Army Community Service financial services.
Burden said that there are many types of savings accounts and long-term investments like thrift saving plans or 401Ks that many people may not know very much about and that stopping at a table can help clear up any misconceptions.
"People have questions about their saving vehicle; things concerning interest or how to do this or how to do that. They should take a few minutes to get some information and some refreshments," he said.
Many people may think they know how to save and pass up the chance to speak with a representative, but Burden said that people should take advantage of the convenient opportunity.
"Typically younger people are not sure about ways to save, like money market accounts and the like. Others may just be putting away a few dollars a pay check, which is good, but we might be able to help them save even more," he said.
Since the economic adjustment from 2007 Burden said that it is more than smart to save money away, it can make life safer.
"Everyone has those unexpected emergencies, and if you have some money put away it is not as stressful. Unfortunately, there are some people living from paycheck to paycheck, but we always say regardless of how much it is, to save it, put it away and leave it there; be it $10 a payday or $100," he said. "If you don't start saving now you will probably wait and wait, and you will regret not starting earlier."
If people get into the habit of saving, it is easier to do, said Burden, adding that people should pay themselves first and that the first step is stopping to talk to a counselor at one of the four tables.
"We like to engage people first at the tables and ask them a few questions and give them our information for them to make an appointment with us. Savings, like most financial counseling, can be hard to talk about to people and we want to set up private times to talk to people to help them," he said.
For more information, visit www.militarysaves.org or call 255-3817.