By Lila Quintiliani, AFC®, Military Saves Senior Program Manager
For over a decade, the Military Saves program has been asking the military community about its savings habits, and over the years we have learned a lot about our “Savers,” as we like to call them.
First, our Savers come from the entire military community: We have active-duty service members of all ranks, we have spouses and family members, we have veterans, and we have DoD civilian employees.
We have learned that our Savers face obstacles when it comes to saving: over the last few surveys, most (57%) have mentioned unexpected expenses as their top challenge when it comes to saving, but quite a few have also cited other issues: debt, unpredictable income, and buying things they do not need.
Our respondents like to save both automatically (through payroll deduction or bank transfer) and manually, moving money to their savings accounts when they feel comfortable.
While some in our community struggle to come up with $500 for an emergency fund, we also have many of what I like to call “Super Savers” – people who manage to save over $10,000 in a year.
And we were pleased to learn in our last survey that an overwhelming 88% of respondents said that they found our program helped them build wealth over time.
But this past year has thrown everyone for a loop. We know that some in the military and veteran community are doing fine. There are others, however, who have struggled: they have faced job uncertainties, loss of income, increased debt, and growing food insecurity.
[TAKE ACTION: Ask Your Lawmakers to Combat Food Insecurity in the Ranks]
We want to know how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the military and veteran community. We want to know whether our Savers have been able to save, whether they have changed their savings habits, and how confident they feel about their financial situation. And so, we are now launching one of our most critical Saver Surveys ever, and we need your help.
Please take the 2021 Military Saves Saver Survey. Your responses help us shape our program so that we can support the military and veteran community to build wealth and reduce debt. We share our insights with partner organizations such as MOAA, and their support is an important part of the effort to get the word out.
The anonymous survey should take about five to seven minutes to complete and is open to veterans, service members of all components including the National Guard and Reserve, DoD employees, and all spouses and family members. Survey-takers will be eligible to enter our weekly drawing for a $500 cash prize. Your voice matters!
Military Saves is a campaign coordinated by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America. Need help getting into the savings habit? Visit MilitarySaves.org and take the Military Saves Pledge today. You’ll receive tips, resources, and motivation that will help you reach your saving goals.