ByMC1(SW) Greg Johnson
Navy Region Southeast Public Affairs

Rear Adm. Rick Williamson, commander, Navy Region Southeast, signed a proclamation in support of Military Saves Week at NAS Jacksonville Feb. 6.

Military Saves Week runs from Feb. 24 through March 1 and is intended to encourage service members to make responsible financial decisions to build wealth and reduce debt.

The proclamation officially recognizes the week and calls on all service members throughout the Southeast Region to take action to improve their individual and household financial situations.

"Personal financial stability is an important issue for all of our Sailors," Williamson said. "It's very difficult for Sailors and families who are experiencing financial difficulties to focus on the mission. Our goal with Military Saves Week is to encourage everyone to assess their financial situation and ask themselves what they can be doing to improve it. We have financial advisors and resources available through the Fleet and Family Support Centers (FFSC) for those 

who could use a little help."

Military Saves is a social marketing campaign to persuade, motivate and encourage military families to save money every month and to convince leaders to be aggressive in promoting automatic savings. It is a part of the Department of Defense (DoD) Financial Readiness Campaign and has been a partner with DoD since 2003. 

"The campaign has been a success for more than ten years now," said Carol Lucius, Southeast Region work and family life coordinator. "If a Sailor has a certain financial goal, whether it's setting up an emergency cash fund, getting out of debt or saving for retirement, Military Saves can help them develop those goals and take action."

The program focuses on helping service members achieve their financial goals by providing savings advice, financial tools and resources, and motivation. According to Lucius, the program has a tremendous impact on service members because they routinely face extraordinary circumstances.

"Deployments and frequent moves can be big financial strains on military households and good financial planning for both events is essential for success," Lucius said. "FFSC personal financial managers (PFM), who are accredited financial counselors, will sit down with a family and help them execute a comprehensive financial planning worksheet to illustrate their current financial situation and to help them plan for the future.  Whether a family is in good financial shape or not, PFM's will work with them to improve their financial situation."

The Military Saves campaign is not only targeted at service members, but at the entire family, because spouses and children also play a huge role in overall financial stability, Lucius said.

"The personal financial readiness of our service members and their families directly supports mission readiness, and engaging our military spouses is important, as they play a vital role in maintaining financial discipline and stability within a military family," she said. "Another important aspect of the campaign is helping kids develop financial skills. The Military Youth Saves program is specifically designed to encourage kids and teens to develop good savings habits at a young age."

According to Williamson, raising awareness about Military Saves and promoting effective financial planning and decision making is the responsibility of all leaders throughout the region, not only during Military Saves Week, but year round.

"I think it's important for leaders at all levels of the chain of command to spread awareness about the Military Saves program and the resources available to our Sailors," Williamson said. "While we look to observe Military Saves Week later on this month, responsible financial planning is a year-round effort and there is always somewhere to turn for Sailors in need of assistance. I encourage leaders throughout the region to make sure that message is heard."

Service members or dependents that would like more information about resources and services offered through Military Saves, or organizations who would like to find out how they can support the program, should contact their local FFSC. In addition, more information is available at http://www.militarysaves.org/.