One of our favorite programs we support each year is Military Saves Month. It is a fantastic time to inform and educate our servicemembers, their families and the military communities about the importance of saving money. For the entire month of April, Armed Forces Bank and many other banks, credit unions, military installations, local businesses and non-profit organizations around the country will step up and share the following messages – Save Money, Reduce Debt and Build Wealth!
Pandemic Contributed to Financial Uncertainty and Behavior Change
It was an extremely challenging 2020 and 2021 with the pandemic, high unemployment rate, businesses forced to shut their doors and the overall fear of the unknown. Plus add in the uncertainty of when we will get back to normal. We learned a lot about ourselves. We had to quickly adapt to the new normal of wearing masks, social distancing, working from home, changing our daily routines and facing the possibility and the reality of financial hardships right in front of us.
Who could have ever predicted that we would come to such an abrupt halt that would change our lives so drastically? Was anyone ready for this? Were we prepared to handle what was going to come our way? Did we anticipate the long-term effects of how we go about our daily lives? It is easy to dwell on the negatives surrounding COVID-19 but a lot of good things surfaced as well.
It is amazing how many people have become chameleons of change over the past 12 months and how quickly 330 million people in the United States modified behaviors in such short order. The national savings rate skyrocketed to 32% in April 2020. Revolving debt for consumers was reduced by $123 billion. The level of resilience we have is incredible. We were faced with a daunting wake-up call and an arduous task of dealing with things for which we were not ready.
Take Military Saves Pledge to Prepare for Unexpected
There were a lot of lessons learned this past year. The one lesson that stands out above all the rest is that we must be financially ready. We must prepare for the unexpected. Our behaviors must change. We often hear the expression “the only constant in life is change.” That is a true statement, and it was front and center for all of us. Being financially ready means having a safety net and a financial cushion ready to absorb the shock of a once every 100 years pandemic. It starts with setting a goal. Take the Military Saves pledge and you are on your way to a more secure financial future.
Saving money is not easy. If it were easy, anyone could do it. It takes discipline, commitment and sacrifice.
Saving Money Can Come in Many Shapes and Forms
There is no one way to save. Consider the following tips to help put money back in your pocket:
- Set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to a savings account
- Split your paycheck automatically between checking and savings accounts
- Enroll in a retirement plan such as the Blended Retirement Savings or 401K plan
- Find a bank or credit union that offers a round-up program for debit card purchases that automatically transfers cents to a savings account
- Pay off high interest credit card debt to reduce finance charges
- Review your monthly budget and decide how you can eliminate unnecessary expenses
- Take advantage of military discounts offered by a plethora of companies
Learn More Ways to Save
Let us know other successful ways you have implemented to save money. At Armed Forces Bank, we’re working hard to deliver education and products to support who you are and meet your financial goals. We’re happy to answer your questions about different savings account types, and we’ll even help you set up the account(s) that’s right for you.
Military Saves Month is right around the corner — time to get ready!