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Save the Extra

Written by Tammy G. Bruzon · 04 February 2019

Military Saves Week 2019 Digital Toolkit

Written by Tammy G. Bruzon · 15 January 2019

Are you ready to kick your Military Saves Week plans into high gear? This is the kit for you! This Military Saves Week 2019 Digital Toolkit outlines daily themes, a sample blog, sample tweets and important resources to help you get started. 

Haven’t yet joined the movement that is motivating the military to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth? Please click here to sign up your organization today.



Military Saves Week's Daily Savings Focus

We encourage you to promote these savings strategies each day during the Week:

Monday, February 25: Save with a plan

  • Twitter Chat: America Saves Week and Military Saves Week 2019 Kickoff
    Time: 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Eastern
    Host(s): America Saves (@AmericaSaves) and Military Saves (@MilitarySaves)
    Hashtag(s): #ASW19 and #MSW19
    America Saves and Military Saves join forces to kick off Saves Week 2019! We’ll be discussing the savings themes taking place during the week, cheering on savers and partnering organizations for their activities, and highlighting our favorite savings tips.

Tuesday, February 26: Save the easy way...automatically

  • Twitter Storm: America Saves Week and Military Saves Week 2019
    Time: 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. Eastern
    Host(s): America Saves (@AmericaSaves) and Military Saves (@MilitarySaves)
    Hashtag(s): #ASW19 and #MSW19
    Help us take over Twitter! Join us in blasting Twitter with #ASW19 and #MSW19 content for an hour to raise the visibility of the Week and engage more individuals in the topic of saving. Use content from this kit or craft your own, just make sure to include the hashtag

Wednesday, February 27: Save for the unexpected

  • Twitter Chat: Military Saves Week #CreditChat with Experian
    Time: 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Eastern
    Host: Experian (@Experian_US)
    Guest(s): Military Saves (@MilitarySaves)
    Hashtag(s): #CreditChat
    Topic: Managing Money When You’re on the Move
    Experian is happy to support Military Saves Week with a special tweet chat.

  • Twitter Chat: America Saves Week #CreditChat with Experian
    Time: 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. Eastern
    Host: Experian (@Experian_US)
    Guest(s): America Saves (@AmericaSaves)
    Hashtag(s): #CreditChat
    Topic: Maintaining Your Financial Health As a Couple
    Experian is happy to support America Saves Week with a special tweet chat.

Thursday, February 28: Save to retire

  • Twitter Chat: America Saves Week 2019 #WBChat with WiseBread
    Time: 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. Eastern
    Host: WiseBread (@WiseBread)
    Guest: America Saves (@AmericaSaves)
    Hashtag: #WBchat and #ASW19
    Learn about creating a savings plan, holding yourself accountable to savings goals, assessing your savings plan, and more! Let us know about your savings goals and tell us one thing you could do today to move toward your savings goals!

Friday, March 1: Save the extra

  • Twitter Storm: America Saves Week and Military Saves Week 2019
    Host(s): America Saves (@AmericaSaves) and Military Saves (@MilitarySaves)
    Time: 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. Eastern
    Hashtag: #ASW19 and #MSW19
    Help us take over Twitter – again! Join us in blasting Twitter with #ASW19 and #MSW19 content for an hour to raise the visibility of the Week and engage more individuals in the topic of saving. Use content from this kit or craft your own, just make sure to include one or both of the hashtags!

Saturday, March 2: Save as a family

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Military Saves Week Promotional Video

>> View the Military Saves Week // Save the Extra video, produced by our friends at the Defense Credit Union Council.

 

>> View the Military Saves Week video, produced by USAA Educational Foundation.

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Sample #MSW19 Tweets and Posts

Follow @MilitarySaves on Twitter. Like and promote the Military Saves Facebook page. Promote the hashtag #MSW19 in any savings or Military Saves Week content at the end of each tweet and post.

Posts encouraging sharing Military Saves Week with partners:

Join the movement that is motivating the military to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth during #MSW19 (Feb 25 - Mar 2) with @MilitarySaves. http://bit.ly/2F8LylJ
 

Military Saves Week is Feb. 25-March 2, 2019. Sign up to join us in motivating military service members to save, reduce debt, and build wealth: http://bit.ly/2F8LylJ #MSW19
 

We're proud to participate in #MSW2019. See who else is participating and learn more: http://bit.ly/2VrlmIo
 

This #MSW19, take the @MilitarySaves Pledge, a new and improved savings tool, to help you set savings goals and create a savings plan. http://bit.ly/2an9Bwa
 

Both individuals & organizations can participate in @MilitarySaves Week! Visit http://bit.ly/2Ah12Bn for activities, free materials, & more! #MSW19

Since 2007, @MilitarySaves has motivated more than 300,000 service members and families to save. Learn what all the fuss is about in the 2018 annual report. http://bit.ly/2Da0gYH
 

Posts encouraging saving during Military Saves Week:

Those who save with a plan are 2x more likely to save for #retirement, have a rainy day fund, and stick to a budget. Take the @MilitarySaves Pledge and make a plan for your money today: http://bit.ly/2kSl9LK #MSW19

(Click on image to download and use.)
 

It’s true! The easiest way to save is automatically. This Military Saves Week, set up an automatic transfer from checking to savings or an allotment thru myPay. Put your savings on autopilot: http://bit.ly/2ANyhcp. #MSW19

(Click on image to download and use.)
 

Having a solid spending plan can help you find money to save for the unexpected. Check out these 6 steps to creating a spending plan: http://bit.ly/2vFGL3Z via @FINRAFoundation h/t @MilitarySaves #MSW19

(Click on image to download and use.)
 

Take the @MilitarySaves Pledge, a new and improved savings tool, to help you set savings goals and create a savings plan, like for #retirement. http://bit.ly/2an9Bwa #MSW19

(Click on image to download and use.)
 

Getting a large check from the IRS? Save the extra! You could win BIG for saving just $50 of your #taxrefund with @SaveYourRefund. http://bit.ly/2jGAHW9 #MSW19

(Click on image to download and use.)
 

This #MSW19, make a commitment to find ways to save as a military family. Make saving a family affair. http://bit.ly/2Mfu1Mn

(Click on image to download and use.)
 

Additional Posts:

Buying a car is a big $ decision. Approach it with a plan and savings. Take the Military Saves Pledge to set your goal and make your plan and check out HandsOnBanking.org for more smart car buying tips: http://bit.ly/2RhRLmt
 

The first step in reducing your debt is to stop adding to it, according to @USAAEF. Learn how to destroy your debt and save money in this five-part video series: http://bit.ly/2Rq8DHW

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Sample Article

We encourage you to use the blog content below for your website, email, or other content marketing strategies.

Why YOU Should Join the Movement That’s Motivating the Military to Save Money

By Alecia Blair, M.S., AFC®, Military Saves

Whether you’re brand new to Military Saves Week or a long-time partner or saver, here are three reasons why YOU should join the #MSW19 movement that’s motivating the military to save money, reduce debt and build wealth.

  1. It’s a designated opportunity to hit the pause button on your crazy busy military life and check in on the fitness of your personal savings. Military Saves Week (MSW) is an annual opportunity for installations and organizations to promote good savings behavior and a chance for service members and their families to assess their own saving status. MSW is a worldwide financial readiness celebration focused on saving.
  2. It’s tried and true. Since 2007, more than 300,000 (and counting) service members and their family members have taken the Military Saves Pledge, a new and improved savings tool to help you create a simple savings plan. Every year, hundreds of installations and organizations from all over the world participate in MSW by hosting events that promote savings and financial readiness.
  3. Military Saves is your personal savings coach. When you take the Military Saves Pledge, you’ll have access to FREE educational resources on MilitarySaves.org, as well as customized communications, including the option to receive savings-specific text message tips and reminders to help you stay on track with your savings goals.

And, yes, it’s all completely FREE. And, no, we’ll never try to sell you anything, EVER.

So, join the movement that is motivating the military to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth.

Your future self will thank you.

Military Saves Week is coordinated by Military Saves, an initiative of America Saves. The Week is an annual opportunity for organizations to promote good savings behavior and a chance for service members and their families to assess their savings status.

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Want more? Sign up your organization today to receive important updates on #MSW19 and to participate in this financial readiness celebration that’s focused on saving. Also, check out other downloadable materials and our graphics package on MilitarySaves.org that promotes the Week to other organizations. 

Other Resources

Do you know your credit score?

Credit History Credit Score Credit Credit Report Managing Credit
Written by Tammy G. Bruzon · 27 July 2018

People who check their credit score regularly are more likely to understand how scoring works than those who don’t. The impact can be significant. Understanding how credit scores work translates into knowing how a credit score can impact interest rates and ultimately how much it costs individuals to borrow money.

Monitoring your credit report and credit score can also help you catch identity theft and credit fraud activity faster. July 2018 is Military Consumer Protection Month, a perfect opportunity to encourage your constituents to show their credit some extra attention.

Please share the article, social media content, graphics, and resources provided with your constituents, your partners, and the general public. As always, please encourage individuals to take the Military Saves Pledge—an important step in creating a plan to reach their savings or debt reduction goals. After all, those with a plan are more likely to achieve their goals!

Your feedback is important to us. Please take a moment to complete a four-question survey on the usefulness of the resource packet material.

In This Packet:

Blog Content

Social Media Content

Relevant Resources

Join Our List


Blog Content

For use in communications that directly reach your constituents. We encourage you to use this content as guest posts or rewrite them as your own.

Do you know your credit score?

By America Saves 

Free credit freezes are coming soon

By Federal Trade Commission

Do you know your credit score?

By: Darlene Aderoju

People who check their credit score regularly are more likely to understand how scoring works than those who don’t, according to a new survey released by the Consumer Federation of America and VantageScore. The survey also revealed that the number of people who have checked their credit score recently has increased.

Whether you’re intending to use your credit soon or simply looking for ways to improve it for the future, here are three things you should know about your credit score:

  1. Missed payments can lower your score.
    Did you know that if you miss a payment on your credit card, car note, or student loans your credit score can be negatively affected? Payment history is one of the major components of your credit score. When you pay your bills on time each month, your credit score will gradually start to increase. If you miss payments or your bill is sent to a collections agency, your score will decrease.

    If you frequently miss payments, your score could drop significantly, and it will take time to raise your score again. If you can’t afford to pay your balance in full, at least pay the minimum amount on time.
     
  2. Keeping a high credit card balance lowers your score.
    Believe it or not, carrying a high credit card balance from month to month can harm your credit score. Credit utilization is the percent of your credit limit that you use each month, and your credit utilization ratio is a key component of your credit score. A good rule of thumb is to keep your credit card balance under 30 percent of your overall credit card limit. For example, if you have two credit cards that each have a limit of $500, your total available credit is $1,000. In this instance, you will want to keep your balance below $300, or 30 percent, of your total limit.

    A large credit card balance can also feel overwhelming to pay down. When you aim for a low balance and pay your bill in full each month, you get a fresh start each billing cycle.
     
  3. Checking your credit report will not change your score.
    Annual check-ups on your credit reports will make sure they are error-free and won’t impact your credit score. This can be done for free each year at www.annualcreditreport.com or by calling 800-322-8228.

    Additionally, many financial institutions will let you check your credit score online for free. When you regularly monitor your score, you can see how your financial decisions are impacting your credit potential. Some tools may also show you how you measure up in the major credit scoring criteria, including payment history, utilization, and age of credit history.

Want to learn more about credit and your score? Take the short quiz offered by CFA and VantageScore online to test your knowledge at CreditScoreQuiz.org.

Darlene Aderoju works for America Saves, managed by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America (CFA), which seeks to motivate, encourage, and support low- to moderate-income households to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth. Learn more at AmericaSaves.org.

 

Free credit freezes are coming soon

By Lisa Weintraub Schifferle, Attorney, Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Division of Consumer & Business Education, as published on militaryconsumer.gov

Looking for stronger ways to protect your credit? Thanks to a new federal law, soon you can get free credit freezes and year-long fraud alerts. Here’s what to look forward to when the law takes effect on September 21:

Free credit freezes

What is it? A credit freeze restricts access to your credit file, making it harder for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. Usually, you get a PIN to use each time you want to freeze and unfreeze your account to apply for new credit. 

What’s new? Currently, credit freezes may involve fees, based on state law. Starting this fall, it will be free to freeze and unfreeze your credit file throughout the country.

Free child credit freezes

What is it? A child credit freeze allows you to freeze a child’s credit file until the child is old enough to use credit.

What’s new? Currently, some state laws allow you to freeze a child’s credit file. Starting September 21, no matter where you live, you’ll be able to get a free credit freeze for children under age 16.

Year-long fraud alerts

What is it? A fraud alert will tell any business that runs your credit that they should check with you before opening a new account.

What’s new? Currently, fraud alerts last 90 days. Starting this fall, an initial fraud alert will last for one year. It will still be free and identity theft victims can still get an extended fraud alert for seven years.

The new law has a long name – Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act – but the outcome is simple. When the law takes effect in September, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion must each set up a webpage for requesting fraud alerts and credit freezes. The FTC will also post links to those web pages on IdentityTheft.gov.

And if you’re in the military, there’s more. Within a year, credit reporting agencies must offer free electronic credit monitoring to all active duty military.

If you want to stay tuned on this law and get other tips, sign up for the FTC's Consumer Information Updates.

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Social Media Content

Share the following messages with your followers.

#SavingsTipTuesday

Keep your balance low. Maintaining low credit utilization is a sign of good credit management and shows lenders you are a good credit risk. http://bit.ly/2LxtodA v/@MilitarySaves #SavingsTipTuesday

Use your credit wisely! Avoid applying for multiple accounts in a short period of time. Taking on large amounts of debt in a short time is a sign of high credit risk. https://bit.ly/2JHzCFV v/@MilitarySaves #SavingsTipTuesday 

A study by @FederalReserve says that credit can affect your relationship. Check out this info from @FINRAFoundation about how credit can affect your love life. https://bit.ly/2Nwjcmc v/@MilitarySaves #SavingsTipTuesday 

#WednesdayWisdom

You can get out of debt and save money by managing your debt and credit responsibly. https://bit.ly/2LAuy8f v/@MilitarySaves #WednesdayWisdom

Never miss a credit payment! According to @USAAEF, 35 percent of your FICO credit score is based on your payment history. https://bit.ly/2zVezAl @MilitarySaves #WednesdayWisdom

If you want to start investing, check out these tips from The Office of Investor Education and Advocacy. https://bit.ly/2sVKJp6 v/@MilitarySaves cc: @SEC_Investor_Ed #WednesdayWisdom

#SavingsFactFriday

A high #credit score can make it easier to get an apt., utilities, or even a job. http://ow.ly/MoKT9 v/@MilitarySaves #SavingsFactFriday

Carrying a large balance on your credit cards from month to month can lower your credit score. v/@MilitarySaves #SavingsFactFriday

Additional Posts

Let @MilitarySaves help you stay committed to your savings goal! Take the pledge today:  https://bit.ly/1QJmGvA 

Want your free #credit report from the three main credit bureaus? All you have to do is ask! http://bit.ly/2LtzlIt @MilitarySaves

Have a savings tip or story that others might benefit from? Share it w/ @AmericaSaves and you could win $25: http://bit.ly/2oiP4iv

 

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Relevant Resources

Share the following resources with your audience and with partnering organizations. 

From Military Saves  

Blog Articles

Resources and Research

Annual Credit Report (once-a-year), AnnualCreditReport.com or (877) 322-8228

Better Money Habits, Building credit and keeping yours healthy

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Credit reports and scores

CreditScoreQuiz.org & CuestionarioparaelPuntajedeCredito.org, this is an informational tool developed by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and VantageScore Solutions.

Credit Reporting Bureaus

FINRA Investor Education Foundation:

Hands on Banking, WellsFargo, All about credit

Money Under 30, Good Credit Matters: How to Understand and Improve Your Credit Score

myFICO

Military Consumer

Military OneSource:

The USAA Education Foundation:

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BRS: Should I stay or should I go?

Retirement Retirement Savings partner resource packet Blended Retirement System
Written by Tammy G. Bruzon · 23 October 2018

For eligible service members who haven’t already made their decision regarding whether to stay in the Legacy Retirement System or go into the new Blended Retirement System, that is the question. And the countdown to decide is on.

Please share the article, social media content, graphics, and resources provided with your constituents, your partners, and the general public. As always, please encourage individuals to take the Military Saves Pledge—an important step in creating a plan to reach their savings or debt reduction goals. After all, those with a plan are more likely to achieve their goals!

In This Packet:

Blog Content

Social Media Content

Relevant Resources

Join Our List


Blog Content

For use in communications that directly reach your constituents. We encourage you to use this content as guest posts or rewrite them as your own.

 

Should I Stay or Should I Go…Into the Blended Retirement System?

Cue the first line of lyrics from The Clash’s 1982 hit song, Should I Stay or Should I Go! For eligible service members who haven’t already made their decision regarding whether to stay in the Legacy Retirement System or go into the new Blended Retirement System, that is the question. And the countdown to decide is on. 

Eligible service members who are still unsure have until Dec. 31, 2018 to make their selection, which is a big financial one-size-does-not-fit-all decision that has equally big implications on their military retirement.

But rest assured, you, the undecided service member, do not have to make this decision alone! 

Here is a five-step checklist to help you get organized, take control, and know exactly what you need to do to make the best decision for you and your family:

Five-Step BRS Checklist to Success Explained

Step 1: Determine your eligibility.

If you haven’t already, the first step in considering the BRS is to determine whether or not you are eligible for it.

It's important to know that all service members serving as of Dec. 31, 2017, are grandfathered into the current Legacy Retirement System and will not be automatically moved to the BRS. 

If you wish to move to the BRS, you will need to "opt-in" during the one-year opt-in period before Dec. 31, 2018.

Step 2: Take the mandatory BRS Opt-In Course.

To ensure service members fully understand their retirement plan options, all eligible service members are required to take the BRS Opt-In Course. The course is mandatory and must be completed before a service member can opt-in to the BRS. 

Step 3: Educate yourself on the BRS and use the BRS Comparison Calculator to analyze your estimated benefits. 

Learn more about the BRS by visiting the one-stop U.S. Department of Defense shop at Military Compensation. Here, in addition to the BRS Opt-in Course, you will find timelines, informational videos (including the Ask Robyn series), frequently asked questions, BRS for Military Spouses Infographic and the BRS Comparison Calculator to help you run the numbers.

Additional information on the BRS may be found at these sites:

The BRS Comparison Calculator is designed to assist eligible service members in comparing the Legacy Retirement System (commonly referred to as the "High-3 System") to the BRS. It is intended to be used in conjunction with the mandatory BRS Opt-In Course.

Step 4: Schedule an appointment to consult your installation personal financial manager/counselor.

This is one decision you don't need to make on your own. Personal financial managers (or PFMs) and personal financial counselors (or PFCs) are available at military installations around the world to provide free, high-quality financial counseling. You can also talk to a PFC by calling Military OneSource at 800-342-9647. 

These professionals can help educate you on the BRS as you consider your options. Use this benefit today, but be wary of financial consultants or salespeople posing as financial experts who offer BRS education and try to get you to purchase other services for a fee.

Step 5: Make your decision between Jan. 1, 2018 and Dec. 31, 2018.

You and other eligible service members should take the time to educate yourselves now. Again, you have until Dec. 31, 2018 to make your decision about which system is right for your financial goals.

  • If an eligible service member wants to stay covered under the current legacy system, they are not required to take additional steps. (However, Marines have to affirmatively decline enrollment in the BRS through Marine Online.)
  • If an eligible service member decides the BRS is for them, they must opt-in by Dec. 31, 2018.

To learn how to opt-in based on your branch, check out Resources/How to Opt-In to BRS.

All service members who are now entering the military (after Jan. 1, 2018) are automatically enrolled in the BRS. 

For all the latest information on the BRS, visit DoD Military Compensation/BRS.

When it comes to the BRS, you've got this! And Military Saves is here to help you stay on track. Take the Military Saves Pledge to set your savings goal for retirement and follow the prompts to opt-in to receive text message reminders and tips. Think of Military Saves as your personal savings support system. 

Alecia D. Blair, AFC®, is the Director of Military Saves, a nonprofit program, which seeks to motivate, encourage, and support service members and their families to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth. Learn more at militarysaves.org.

 

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Social Media Content

Share the following messages with your followers.

#SavingsTipTuesday

Weigh your retirement options before it’s too late. Dec. 31, 2018 is the deadline for eligible service members to opt-in to the #BlendedRetirement System. #SavingsTipTuesday

Active Duty service members with fewer than 12 years of total service as of Dec. 31, 2017 are eligible to opt into the #BlendedRetirement System. #SavingsTipTuesday

 

#WednesdayWisdom

If you have questions about the #BlendedRetirement System, Personal Financial Managers and Counselors at your military installation are available to educate you on your retirement options.  #WednesdayWisdom

Using the #BlendedRetirement System Comparison Calculator can help you make a decision about which retirement system is best for you. #WednesdayWisdom

 

#SavingsFactFriday

In order to opt-in to the #BlendedRetirement System, you must first take the mandatory BRS Opt-In Course. #SavingsFactFriday

You can analyze your estimated benefits through the #BlendedRetirement System by using the BRS Calculator. #SavingsFactFriday

Additional Post

Cue @TheClash’s song: Should I Stay or Should I Go! If you’re an eligible service member, decide whether to stay in the Legacy Retirement System or go opt-in to the #BlendedRetirement System. You have until Dec. 31, 2018 to make this important decision.

 

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Relevant Resources

Use and share the following resources with your audience and with partnering organizations. 

From Military Saves

Resources and Research

Department of Defense

Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board

FINRA + FINRA Investor Education Foundation

The USAA Educational Foundation

Wells Fargo

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Join Our List

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The BRS Hub

Blended Retirement System
Written by Tammy G. Bruzon · 29 May 2018

 

 

 

Tip of the Day

  • Written by Guest Blogger | September 30, 2014

    Develop a long-term plan and foundation for financial readiness by establishing a spending plan. More tips at: http://ow.ly/sCvQQ

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