Paycheck Chronicles

Military Saves Week


Every year, the Military Saves program sponsors an event called Military Saves Week.  For 2012, Military Saves Week runs from 19 to 26 February.  This is the five year anniversary of Military Saves Week and the theme of this week's campaign is "Start Small, Think Big."

The campaign is a reminder that small savings can add up to substantial amounts.  Also, because savings is usually a goal-oriented process, it links nicely to other important financial concepts such as budgeting and debt reductions.

You can find more information, inspirational and educational videos and articles, and the Military Saves pledge at the Military Saves website.

I will admit, in the past I have scoffed at the value of the Military Saves campaign and Military Saves Week.  In my experiences, there has been lots of talk amongst planners and very little action on the part of the intended participants.

Several years ago, I attended a Financial Readiness Roadshow at Andrews Air Force Base.  There were nationally recognized speakers, dozens of exhibits from all sorts of interested parties, and maybe 75 people present.  And from my judgement, these were people who were already doing pretty well in the personal finance department.  It didn't seem like a well-targeted event and it seemed to utilize a phenomenal amount of resources to benefit a very few individuals.

Last year, I stood at a Military Saves Week booth representing the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.  Other booths represented Fleet and Family Services, Navy Federal Credit Union, and Community Bank.  People who stopped (or were grabbed) were skeptical or negative about what we were doing, why people were asking them to sign pledges, why there was free swag being given away.  They basically seemed like they didn't trust us.  It was really sad because there was valuable information and good things available - Navy Federal was even offering a special high-interest CD for Military Saves Week.  The few people that did sign the pledge seemed to be signing it just to get away from us.  I felt like it was a very unsuccessful event relative to its goals.

I am pleased to see that this year's Military Saves Week has a more action-oriented theme that develops clearly into smart personal finance choices.  The idea of small savings is manageable, inspiring, fun, and can build enthusiasm for the less fun stuff, like budgeting and debt reduction.  I know that when I have a specific, measurable, attainable goal, my financial habits are significantly better than when I'm just saving for no reason.

Check out the Military Saves website.  Maybe you'll find something to get you moving in a positive direction.

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PayCheck Chronicles