Setting a Goal Leads to Success

Growing up, Marisa’s dad had always talked about saving first, but she said she didn’t really internalize it until much later. “I was drifting along with no plan, carrying a little bit of revolving debt, saving some money here and there, but without a real plan for it.”

As Air Force Academy graduates, Marisa and her husband were fortunate enough not to have any college loan debt, and got a good deal on a family neighbor’s house in 2011. As active duty Air National Guardsmen, they figured they had a steady dual income, and they made paying off the mortgage their priority.

Marisa started analyzing her finances when she joined a personal finance-focused Facebook group. There she learned about “laddering” Certificates of Deposit (CDs), a strategy where you purchase several CDs with different maturity rates so you can always have access to cash when you need it. The couple paid off their house in 2017.

With no mortgage, Marisa and her husband have no escrow account to collect the money required to pay property tax and insurance each year. But she has come up with a way to plan for those expenses. “Immediately after these bills are paid each year, I open a new CD for the next year. My budget includes monthly payments to that CD, to make sure I have the right amount available to pay our tax bill the next time it’s due…I just select the CD with the right maturity timeline and ensure I have it pay out instead of renew. It’s an escrow account that pays!”

Marisa credits her current financial successes to having goals and planning for them. “I got inspired by to make a budget. The budget led to an overarching financial plan for our family, and that, in turn, allowed us to pay off our mortgage.”

Now Marisa and her husband have a new goal in mind that they’re saving for: transitioning out of the military. They have already saved six months’ worth of expenses plus the cost of a new roof (since their house is in hurricane-prone Florida).

Want to learn how you can be a successful saver? Want to pay down debt? Take the Military Saves Pledge today and receive inspiration and support, no matter what your savings goal may be. Or share your own savings tip or story here.

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Saver Stories View all »

How Smart Financial Decisions Can Create Opportunities 

Written by Stephen Ross, America Saves Program Coordinator | November 22, 2019

Of the many stories Military Saves shares, most describe how someone was in dire straits financially and worked their way out of it with the help of Military Saves. This time we want to highlight a different kind of story. This is a story about how responsible financial decisions can build on one another to create opportunities you thought only the super-rich enjoy.


Making Saving Automatic Leads to Personal Success

Ryan’s savings journey started when he was an active duty airman. Frequent deployments and temporary duty assignments gave him the opportunity to save. By the time he transitioned out of active duty, he had built up a healthy rainy-day fund and had started to aggressively save for retirement.


When You Start Small, Saving is Easy

When Attiyya first got married, she and her Marine husband had just graduated from college and were focused on paying off student loan debt. They had both attended private schools and had sizeable loans. Then three months after the wedding, the couple found out they were pregnant with their first child.

The first year of their marriage, says Attiyya, was a balancing act between paying down debt and saving for the future.