America Saves Week 2009 and Military Saves Week 2009, national campaigns to promote a savings lifestyle, take place February 22 through March 1. Both civilians and military service members are being encouraged to focus on ways to build wealth, not debt.
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A Penny Saved Defines 'Military Saves Week'

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America's personal savings rate is near zero. Civilians and military families alike are not saving enough for retirement, nor are they setting aside adequate savings for today's unexpected expenditures, from car repairs to medical costs.

But thanks to national America Saves Week, both civilians and military service members are being encouraged to focus on ways to build wealth, not debt.

America Saves Week 2009 and Military Saves Week 2009, national campaigns to promote a savings lifestyle, take place February 22 through March 1. Sponsored by the Consumer Federation of America, America Saves Week involves over 100 organizations whose primary goal is to support and encourage individuals and families to reduce debt and build long-term wealth through saving. Military Saves was developed and tested by its non-profit sponsor, Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and the military services from 2003 to 2006, and launched throughout the Department of Defense (DoD) on February 25, 2007. It is part of two larger campaigns: the DoD Financial Readiness Campaign, and the national America Saves campaign.

During America Saves Week 2008, over 80 national organizations and over 500 local organizations reached millions of people through the press and internet. Over 75,000 people attended over 1,800 events, and tens of thousands joined the America Saves campaign and committed to start seriously saving.

2009 marks the third annual America Saves Week with greater participation and a broader reach than ever. Among the many companies, agencies and organizations committed to participating are the Cooperative Extension Service, World at Work and the Department of Defense. Activities are being coordinated by the America Saves campaign and by the American Savings Education Council.

FINANCIALLY MILITARY

Most everyone agrees that saving money on a military salary has always been a challenge. Changing the military financial culture and adopting a "Military Saver" lifestyle can make all the difference.

Military Saves Week supports troops and their families by involving all levels of leadership in a sustained effort to create a military culture that encourages saving money, and avoiding the downward spiral of debt.

As a social marketing network, Military Saves motivates military families to save money every month, and convinces military leaders and organizations to be aggressive in promoting automatic savings. Military Saves gets the message out with the help of a growing network of organizations and individuals committed to educating military members and military families on ways to build personal savings for immediate needs and for long term retirement planning.

During Military Saves Week, military members are encouraged to reassess their own military lifestyles and find ways to boost their savings, on a consistent basis.

For example, Military Saves Week is an especially good time to consider enrolling in the Thrift Savings Plan and letting the financial benefits start to build as soon as possible. Defined contributions from a Thrift Savings Plan can enhance retirement income and supplement savings necessary to support a comfortable military retirement.

Banks can help, too, by providing free financial to help military families reach financial independence. Military service members have ways to save money not found in the civilian sector, like specialty pay, faster federal tax returns, and tax-free income preparation and more, to the military a number of opportunities to build up savings quickly.

Military discounts can really add up to bigger savings as well. With special military discounts available on everything from hotels to clothing, service members can find many ways to trim their budgets, and put the extra money into a solid military savings plan.

CREATING THE MILITARY SAVINGS HABIT

How do you develop successful savings habits? Begin now. Assess your current savings and take positive action. During America Saves Week, you'll get help from many organizations. Employers will make it easier for employees to participate in savings and retirement programs. Banks and credit unions will promote automatic transfers from checking to savings and investment accounts. Mortgage lenders will help consumers find ways to save for the down payment on a mortgage loan. Nonprofit organizations will promote savings programs such as individual development accounts. Financial educators will discuss the savings opportunities of automatic deposit accounts and explain how compounding interest adds up in your favor. The media will report on savings successes, and publicize the array of activities you can participate in during America Saves Week.

The message of America Saves Week and Military Saves Week is that everyone can build wealth, over time, with a commitment to careful debt management and consistent saving.

The America Saves website has an array of tools for supporting your financial success by building net worth, emergency savings, and retirement; tips for goal-setting and creating a spending plan; and exercises to test your savings knowledge.

The Military Saves website at www.militarysaves.org, offers financial support programs available during Military Saves Week and throughout the year, tailored to help military members and their families save and manage money, with convenient access to numerous financial education resources for the military.



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