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Do you need a reason to save?

Military Saves is a service-wide campaign that encourages military members and their families to build wealth. The Commander, Navy Installations Command's Fleet and Family Readiness staff, in support of the Military Saves Campaign, has compiled some compelling reasons to save.

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According to Commander, Navy Installations Command, Vice Adm. Robert T. Conway, "A Sailor that doesn't have to worry about financial affairs is a Sailor who is better able to support the Navy mission. Personal financial readiness is critical to unit readiness." Saving money is one of the most valuable habits service members can nurture. Having a savings fund provides financial security.

TIP #1: SAVE FOR EMERGENCIES

Having an emergency savings fund may be the most significant difference between service members who manage to stay above water and those who drown in debt. A $2,000 emergency fund can make the difference between being able to afford an emergency or going into debt to cover the expense. An emergency fund allows military families to easily meet unexpected financial challenges such as:

- repairing the brakes on your car;

- replacing a broken window in your house; or

- flying to visit a sick parent.

TIP #2: SAVE TO PURCHASE A HOME

Home ownership is a good investment. Today home equity represents more than four-fifths of the typical family's wealth. If you are thinking about buying a home, be realistic about the home you can afford to buy. The rule of thumb is to buy a house that is no more than two-and-a-half times your annual income.

TIP #3: SAVE FOR RETIREMENT

It is never too late to start saving for retirement. Military families will need 60 to 80 percent of their pre-retirement income to maintain their present standard of living. T. Rowe Price, an investment management firm, recommends saving 15 percent of your annual salary (adjusted for inflation) to replace 50 percent of your salary in retirement.

Take advantage of Navy-sponsored retirement programs such as the Thrift Savings Program (TSP) to supplement your retirement income. Learn more about TSP at http://www.tsp.gov or at https://mypay.dfas.mil.

TIP #4: SAVE FOR COLLEGE

According to the U.S. Census Bureau statistics, people with a bachelor's degree earn nearly twice as much on average than those with only a high school diploma. Higher education is expensive, but it is a good investment. There is no shortage of college savings plans to choose from. Options to save for college include 529 plans, prepaid tuition plans, educational saving accounts, custodial accounts and savings bonds.

TIP #5: SAVE TO BUY A CAR

Don't be driven to debt by car loans and repairs. When saving to buy a car, calculate what you can afford. Remember to consider insurance costs, state registration fees, car insurance, fuel, and routine maintenance. A good rule of thumb is to plan on spending 10 to 15 percent of your total monthly budget on automotive expenses.

TIP #6: SAVE FOR VACATION

Life shouldn't be all work and no play. Most vacation-goers plan for the big Expenses--transportation, lodging and meals--but forget to plan for hidden expenses: tips/gratuities, parking, souvenirs, tickets, fuel, travel insurance, etc. Take advantage of your local Information Ticket and Travel (ITT) office discounts on tickets to local and national attractions, discounted cruises, land travel packages and military vacation rentals.

To learn more about available discounts, stop by your local ITT office or visit http://mwr.navy.mil.

For more information about building wealth contact your command financial specialist, visit your local Fleet and Family Support Center or go to http://www.nffsp.org.

Additional savings tips and resources are available at http://www.saveandinvest.org/.

To get simple tips on the best ways to save and to make a commitment to save visit http://www.militarysaves.org.
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Publication:All Hands
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2007
Words:629
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