Military couple

Six Financial Goals All Millennials in the Military Should Have

By Courtney Nagle, Digital and Social Media Specialist at the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC)

Millennials, or anyone born between 1982 and 2004, make up about 75 percent of today’s military. For this reason, millennials in the military are a key area of NFCC’s focus when it comes to their finances and transition out of the military.

According to a FINRA study, approximately 35 percent of military millennials have student debt, 52 percent are concerned they have too much debt, nearly one-third have mortgages, and about 40 percent have engaged in costly credit card behaviors (i.e. carrying a balance and paying late and over-the-limit fees over a 12-month period). Although these are concerning statistics, compared to the general population of the United States, members of the military actually have significantly higher levels of financial literacy.  

Here are six financial goals all millennials in the military should have.

  1. Take advantage of all financial education classes

The FINRA study showed that three in four military millennials say they were offered financial education. Of those, about half participated. Financial education is the foundation for financial success, so the NFCC suggests taking advantage of all opportunities for financial education while on base.

  1. Create a budget and a plan for every penny

Once you understand the importance of financial education, the next step is developing a livable budget. There are several tools that provide guidance for how much to put in each category. Check out this monthly budget planner to get started.

  1. Maintain an emergency fund

For those who are on a tight budget, emergencies can be huge financial burdens. It’s imperative to start an emergency fund to get yourself on the right track so that you do not have to use credit cards or other risky borrowing options to cover unplanned expenses. The NFCC recommends starting with baby steps.  Set a goal for $500 or $1000 to start and then work your way up to three-to-six months worth of living expenses. We encourage you to take the Military Saves Pledge today!

  1. Get rid of your debt

Next on the list is to set up a plan to get rid of your debt. Once you are on a budget and living within your means, you can identify how much money to reasonably put towards debt each month. If you are struggling with minimum payments or are already behind and having a hard time catching up, contact a certified credit counselor today who can explain your options and help you come up with a plan for free.

  1. Have a plan for transition from the military

Having a plan and being prepared for the future helps eliminate the stress of transitions. Setting goals for education or home ownership is important. Be sure to take advantage of all the resources available to make the transition as smooth as possible. Military.com offers a variety of useful tools to help you plan for transition.

  1. Set up automatic savings for retirement

Millennials are one of the first generations to face saving for retirement on their own. Generations before could rely on pensions and social security but neither of those are as concrete as they once were. It important to start as early as you can to take advantage of all the compounding interest possible. Check out this retirement calculator that shows how much you need to save each month depending on what age you begin and what your income level is to maintain that in retirement.

No matter where you are currently on the financial literacy spectrum, there’s never a better time to start setting goals and planning for your future than today!


Six Financial Goals All Millennials in the Military Should Have http://bit.ly/2t7J8P8 @NFCC #MilitarySaves

Tweet this now

Tip of the Day

  • Written by Tammy G. Bruzon | January 26, 2017

    Saving for a rainy day? Put your #taxrefund into emergency #savings >> http://bit.ly/2jargdi via @MilitarySaves

Saver Stories View all »

Building Wealth by Setting Goals

Written by Super User | April 24, 2013

My name is Allison Mecadon and I’m a Youth Coordinator with the Virginia National Guard Youth Program. My husband, Tom, is an M-Day Army National Guard Member (an M-Day member is one who performs weekend drill, but is not on full-time duty).

Read more...

One That Almost Got Away

Written by Super User | November 26, 2010

Brody Lockwood - Like a typical fledgling, I started down the track of financial indebtedness. Nineteen years old and nothing to lose. Credit - who need it? Savings - that was for older people with responsibility. Debt - my parents were in debt ergo it must be OK. When I was eligible for reenlistment, I reenlisted for a multiple of 3 worth $15K. I was happy to pay off my debt, but would I be able to stay out of debt?

Read more...

Naval Battalion's Effort Yields Team Success

Written by Super User | November 26, 2010

Construction Battalion Five, DETAIL CHINHAE would like to share our campaign success story with you!

Currently we have 23 members on our Det, (all of whom have registered with militarysaves) and out of them 16 are planning for retirement by saving and investing money in the Federal Thrift Savings Plan.

Read more...