By Andia Dinesen, AFC®
VP Communications and Operations
Association of Military Banks of America (AMBA)
January is a perfect time for service members and their families to perform a financial check-up and determine if saving more money should be one of your New Year’s resolutions. Is it debt you need to pay down or are you ready to step-up your savings? Helping yourself and your family save successfully for the future should be near the top of your resolution list – and its one resolution you can’t afford to break! Remember, you don’t have to make a lot of money to save successfully. Use the Military Saves motto: Start Small. Think Big.
1. Save for Emergencies.
Having an emergency savings fund may be the most important difference between those who manage to stay afloat and those who are sinking financially. How to do it: Go to your military bank or credit union (or online) and start a new savings account and then keep it only for emergencies!
2. Get Out of Debt.
The best investment most borrowers can make is to pay off consumer debt with double-digit interest rates. How to do it: Find places to cut your spending so that you can pay down your debts faster. Making a spending plan can be a great tool to find money to pay off debt. Here are 10 tips that might help you.
3. Save for Retirement.
The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is a retirement savings and investment plan for Federal employees and members of the uniformed services, including the Ready Reserve. It offers the same types of savings and tax benefits that many private corporations offer their employees under 401(k) plans. TSP also has a ROTH option. How to do it: Start with at least 1% of your pay (or use this year to increase it by 1%). Don’t forget to have your spouse or family member save for their retirement as well. Learn more about the new Blended Retirement System.
4. Make Savings Automatic.
Put your savings on autopilot. Set-up an automatic transfer. These savings can provide funds for emergencies, future consumer purchases, home purchase, school tuition, or even retirement (also see Tip #3). How to do it: Use an auto transfer at your military bank or credit union to transfer funds from your checking into a savings account. Saving automatically is the easiest and most successful way to save.
5. Use the Savings Deposit Program (if deploying).
A total of $10,000 may be deposited during each deployment and will earn 10% interest annually. How to do it: Visit the finance office at your deployed location (or home base for information) to begin saving.
Military Saves Week is on its way – February 26 – March 3, 2018 – check your area for special events and with the AMBA website, Facebook page, and Twitter feed for information on special products that military banks offer to help you get saving!