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.

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.

USAA or its affiliates do not provide tax advice. Taxpayers should seek advice based upon their own particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor. The information is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for obtaining professional financial advice. Please thoroughly research and seek professional representation before acting on any information you may have found in this article. This article is in no way attempts to provide advice that relates all personal circumstances.

Examples given are hypothetical illustrations and not an indication of the benefits or features of any USAA product. You should seek policies and advice based upon your own particular circumstances. Sample loans are for illustration purposes only and are not a rate quote, pre-approval, or commitment to lend.

Scott Halliwell and JJ Montanaro are CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioners with USAA Financial Planning Services, one of the USAA family of companies. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. owns the certification marks CFP® and Certified Financial Planner™ in the United States, which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.

USAA Financial Planning Services® refers financial planning services and financial advice provided by USAA Financial Planning Services Insurance Agency, Inc. USAA Financial Planning Services Insurance Agency, Inc. (known as USAA Financial Insurance Company in California, Lic. #0E36312), a registered investment adviser and insurance agency and its wholly owned subsidiary, USAA Financial Advisors, Inc., a registered broker dealer. (known as USAA Financial Insurance Agency in California), a registered investment adviser and insurance agency and its wholly owned subsidiary, USAA Financial Advisors, Inc., a registered broker dealer.

USAA means United Services Automobile Association and its affiliates. Investments provided by USAA Investment Management Company and USAA Financial Advisors Inc., both registered broker dealers. Banking products provided by USAA Federal Savings Bank. Credit cards provided by USAA Savings Bank. Both Banks Member FDIC.