According to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, “Military Saves Week begins Feb. 25 and concludes on March 2. This is a great opportunity for service members and their families to display the importance of financial fitness throughout our force.”
The theme for this year’s Military Saves Week is “Set a goal. Make a plan. Save automatically.” That summarizes a sound approach to financial investments and savings, said Brian Pampuro, a personal financial manager with NSAB’s Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC).
“The idea behind it is increasing awareness,” said Pampuro. “We want active duty service members and their family members to have more of a sense of awareness in terms of how they approach their money, their consumer awareness, and their credit and debt management.”
Pampuro, who retired from the Navy as a master chief after serving for 30 years, said he wishes they had the financial education classes and programs available today when he started in the military. He added that even a small investment of $10 a month is a great place to start.
“You have to start somewhere, and you can start with just the bare minimum,” he said. “You can start with just a conventional savings, a money market account or a certificate of deposit. We encourage people to look at and invest in a range of financial options.”
When considering the various financial investments that are available, Pampuro said it is a good idea to consider both short-term and long-term goals.
“A short-term goal is anything that you want to achieve in less than five years, and a long term goal would in a time frame greater than five years,” he said. “In my opinion, your number one short-term goal should be establish an emergency savings fund, equal to one to three months of your net income. It then becomes a liquid asset that you can retrieve if you need that money. And then your number one long-term investment should be your retirement (savings).”
Pampuro pointed out there are many online resources available to service members.
“Military members can sign up for the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) by logging into MyPay (https://mypay.dfas.mil/mypay.aspx) and clicking the icon for TSP. From there, they can visit the TSP website and move their money around. Civilian civil service employees can also enroll through the Employee Benefits Information System.”
The Military Saves website, http://www.militarysaves.org/, also features a link to take “The Saver Pledge,” which will sign the pledge taker up to receive monthly newsletters from Military Saves and daily updates on social media sites.
A yearlong campaign, Military Saves is an effort to make every military community into a supportive financial environment. It is available to military members, civil servants, contractors, retirees, other veterans, family members, military organizations, and private organizations. Pampuro recommends using Military Saves week to assess one’s own financial situation.
“All people, whether civilian or military, should take Military Saves Week to think about their finances and then move forward, ask questions, get educated and gain knowledge and tools that will help them.”
Pampuro added that there are dozens of command financial specialists on the installation and tenant commands who are ready to assist service members with financial counsel, and NSAB’s FFSC is also here to help.
“We are very passionate about what we do here, and the services that we offer are free and always available,” he said. “We really encourage you to come in and take advantage of our services.”
For any questions about financial programs, counseling and classes, contact Pampuro or the FFSC financial management team at 301-400-2414.