Make Military Saves Week a Lifechanger!

The 2013 Mil­i­tary Saves cam­paign launches with Mil­i­tary Saves Week Feb­ru­ary 25-March 2. I may be a bit strange, or it could just be in my finan­cial plan­ner DNA, but I have to admit that each year I look for­ward to learn­ing what the campaign’s theme will be. This year it’s pretty straight­for­ward: Set a Goal. Make a Plan. Save Automatically.

Those are words that could ben­e­fit you for years to come. To illus­trate, I thought I’d take a “what if” look back­ward and explore the poten­tial power of this cam­paign.  Mil­i­tary Saves, which is part of the nation­wide Amer­ica Saves cam­paign, has been around since 2003. That’s 10 years. Let’s see what a dif­fer­ence this year’s theme could have made over the last decade.

Save to pay down debt. Debt is a cri­sis in Amer­ica. Gov­ern­ment, stu­dent loan, credit card and even mort­gage debt all rep­re­sent an anchor around our col­lec­tive necks as we move into the future. But a goal, a plan and an auto­matic approach can go a long way toward throw­ing off that anchor. Let’s say you had $15,000 in credit card debt in ’03 and chose to make only the min­i­mum pay­ments. Today, you’d still have more than $4,000 in credit card debt! Now, let’s apply this year’s theme. Had you SET A GOAL of pay­ing off the debt sooner by adding a mere $100 per month to your min­i­mum pay­ment (thus, your plan), your credit card debt would have been paid off a cou­ple of years ago – and you’d have saved almost $7,000 in inter­est! MAKE A PLAN to pay off your debt. 

Save for the unex­pected.  In the past 10 years, I can recall a bro­ken water heater, my daughter’s locked-up engine, and my Dad’s declin­ing health and even­tual pass­ing. All required cash out­lays. With a mere $25 per pay­check set aside in a sav­ings account begin­ning at the launch of Mil­i­tary Saves, I could have met all of these finan­cial chal­lenges and still had $1,500 sit­ting in sav­ings. SAVE AUTOMATICALLY into a sav­ings account today.

Save for retire­ment. Let’s face it: If you work at it just a lit­tle, you can surely find a rea­son to put off start­ing to sock away money for retire­ment. But what if you had fought that urge back in ’03 and decided to take advan­tage of the Thrift Sav­ings Plan by set­ting aside $100/month? Believe it or not, you’d have a lit­tle retire­ment stash today of more than $15,000 — a good result with­out even bump­ing up your con­tri­bu­tion each time there’s a pay raise or pro­mo­tion. That’s mak­ing SAVE AUTOMATICALLY a pow­er­ful tool.

I’m sure there are plenty of folks who can look back at the past 10 years with a sense of pride and accom­plish­ment over how they’ve han­dled their finances. Snatch your chance to do the same in the com­ing decade by set­ting a goal, mak­ing a plan and sav­ing automatically.

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One response to “Make Military Saves Week a Lifechanger!”

  1. All about wants and needs here. If you edu­cate your­self on mak­ing wise long term sav­ings deci­sions you will be in great shape if you plan on mak­ing the mil­i­tary a career.

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