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Wright-Patt hosts Military Saves Week Feb. 25 – Mar. 2

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base’s Airman & Family Readiness Center is working on building financial resiliency for military members and their families with participation in Military Saves Week Feb. 25 through Mar. 2.

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base’s Airman & Family Readiness Center is working on building financial resiliency for military members and their families with participation in Military Saves Week Feb. 25 through Mar. 2. Special classes and other events are available to learn how to save better, prepare for emergencies and build retirement nest eggs, amongst other initiatives. (Courtesy Photo)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – Wright-Patterson’s Airman & Family Readiness Center is focused on improving military members’ financial capabilities through classes and special events during Military Saves Week beginning Monday, Feb. 25 through Saturday, Mar. 2.

“For several years, the military has recognized the importance of improving financial readiness through the Military Saves Campaign,” said Kathy Hobbs, A&FRC Personal Financial counselor. “When members have a solid financial foundation they are less distracted from their daily duties. Financial readiness promotes mission readiness!”

According to a 2012 National Financial Capability Study’s Military Survey by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Investor Education Foundation, nearly 20 percent of military households spent more than their income, 47 percent reporting having difficulty in covering monthly expenses, 43 percent reported not having an emergency fund, 51 percent engaged in costly credit behavior and only 60 percent were able to answer a test on basic financial literacy correctly.

This year’s Military Saves Week engages with six Daily Savings Focus points including save with a plan, save automatically, save for the unexpected, save to retire, save the extra and save as a family.

According to Military Saves, a component of the nonprofit America Saves and a partner in the Department of Defense’s Financial Readiness Campaign, those who save with a plan are twice as likely to save for retirement and can help make it possible to save money for the unexpected.

“One major aspect of savings that is often overlooked is setting financial goals,” said Victor L. Bailey, A&FRC Community Readiness consultant. “A goal should be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-based. A long-term goal could be saving for a child’s education while a short-term goal could be saving for a European vacation. In my years of providing financial counseling, clients that have not identified financial goals have a history of not using their savings in an effective way.”

Experts also say that setting up automatic transfers from checking to savings or an allotment are the easiest ways to save, something crucial to building a retirement nest egg, according to the Military Saves website.

“None of us is getting any younger -- someday you’re going to wake up and realize that 20 years has passed you by,” Hobbs said. “Many young members roll their eyes when you try to talk to them about retirement -- that concept seems absolutely foreign to someone just beginning their career. But, by planning for the type of retirement they want early in their career, they are much more likely to be able to achieve it. The power of compounding interest allows those who start early to save less than those who start later in life and still come out ahead.”

That same compounding interest can make a difference when it comes to tax returns and reenlistment bonuses as well. Military Saves says to pocket that extra to win big in savings.

“When receiving a large lump sum or bonus consider the different financial goals you might have. It’s good to have short-, mid- and long-term financial goals,” Hobbs said. “Don’t blow all your money on something in the short term and rob your ‘future self’ from achieving something important to you down the road.”

The final Daily Savings Focus highlights that savings isn’t an individual affair, but rather something that should be passed down and done as a family – reaching the goal of Military Saves Week to promote saving money, reducing debt and building wealth amongst service members and their families.

“Military Saves Week is great to raise awareness and promote financial readiness, but honestly it’s a mindset we should embrace year round,” Hobbs said. “Financial goals take time to achieve and require discipline and dedication, not just from the member, but the whole family. Whether it’s saving for retirement, paying down debt or taking a vacation, you will be much more likely to achieve these goals if you empower yourself through education and encouragement from your A&FRC team.”

All classes are 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Airman & Family Readiness Center, Bldg. 2, Room 257

- 26 Feb – Thrift Savings Plan – What it is and how to use it

- 27 Feb – Basic Investing – Know the ins and outs of investing

- 28 Feb – Advanced Investing –How to prepare for retirement (lunch will be provided, seats are limited, please sign up).

Information Tables will be at the following locations: Customer Service Building 2, NASIC, AFIT, USAFSAM, Medical Center and Pittensbarger Dining Facility. For information, call (937) 257-3592.