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Military Saves Week promotes financial security

Courtesy graphic

Courtesy graphic

Published: February 18, 2016

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (Feb. 18, 2016) -- Proper planning can help ensure a sound financial future for Soldiers and their families, and a wealth of information will be available through various vendors during Military Saves Week Feb. 22-27.

Mike Burden, Army Community Service accredited financial counselor, and other financial counselors and financial institution representatives on post have prepared material to help interested individuals save money and prepare for retirement.

“We like to do outreach and information tables during Military Saves Week,” he said. “In conjunction with the Army Aviation Center Credit Union and Armed Forces Bank, we will set up a table to help reach as many people as possible from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Feb. 26 in the atrium of the Soldier Service Center (Bldg. 5700).

“We want to educate military families about how they can save and spend their money wiser,” he added. “We provide information about the program and answer financial questions. It is also an opportunity to set up appointments if people wish to get further information about saving and finances in general.”

The tables are manned by financial counselors and bank representatives with pamphlets and helpful information. Anyone is allowed to stop and speak with the representatives at the table, but only military personnel and their families may utilize the Army Community Service financial services.

Burden said that there are many types of savings accounts and long-term investments that many people may not know about, and that stopping at the table can help clear up any misconceptions.

“People have questions about their saving – things concerning interest or stocks,” he said. “Typically, younger people are not sure about ways to save, like money market accounts. Others may just be putting away a few dollars a paycheck, which is good. But we might be able to help them save even more.”

Since the economic adjustment from 2007, Burden said that it is wise to save money and be prepared for future unexpected expenses.

“For Soldiers, it is not uncommon to have to go on emergency leave because of an ailing family member who lives far away, or, heaven forbid, they get in some type of accident. Everyone has those unexpected emergencies and if you have some money put away it is not as stressful,” he said.

If people get into the habit of saving, it is easier to do, said Burden, adding that people should pay themselves first and that the first step is stopping to talk to a counselor or bank representative in the atrium or making an appointment to speak with a financial counselor.

The Defense Commissary Agency is once again helping to spread the word on responsible financial planning. With its overall savings of 30 percent or more, the commissary can help Soldiers and their families make the most of every dollar and stick to a budget.

Commissaries also promote healthy cooking at home by hosting cooking demonstrations and promoting simple meal recipes even the busiest family can accommodate.

Shopping at the local commissary provides many budget-friendly benefits, according to DECA officials.

Savings average 30 percent or more, produce delivers savings of 44 percent and meat averages savings of 32 percent.

Commissaries offer better-for-you food choices, including organics and a growing number of “specialty” items, such as gluten-free alternatives, low sodium, sugar-free and reduced-calorie products.

Approximately 400 commissary value brand items in 33 categories offer savings of about 25 percent when compared to the store brand and private label items found in commercial retail stores. In some instances, savings could be as much as 50 percent.

Commissaries strongly support use of coupons for additional savings and the commissary rewards card banks electronic coupons for automatic savings at checkout. Card users recently topped 350,000 and more than 5.3 million digital coupons have been redeemed, saving customers nearly $6 million on their groceries.

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