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 Militarysaves.org 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.