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Military Life: Deployment, PCS Moves, TDY

Written by Katie Bryan · 06 April 2017

Deployment, permanent change of station (PCS moves) and temporary duty (TDY) all bring changes and financial challenges that are unique to military life. This partner packet provides resources to help service members and their families face these financial trials head-on and save money.

Please share this article, social media content, 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, savers with a plan are twice as likely to save successfully for things like emergencies and retirement.

Download the partner packet in Word.

In This Packet:

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Social Media Content

Relevant Resources

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Use this content for your blog, newsletter, email communications, or any other publication. You can either rewrite the information as your own or use as a guest post.

Combat Changes in Your Paycheck with Battle-Hardened Transition and Emergency Funds

By Alecia D. Blair, Military Saves Project Manager/Consultant, AFC® Candidate, FINRA Foundation Fellow

Permanent change of station (PCS) moves, temporary duty (TDY), deployment—all of these major changes are a constant in military life. While a military paycheck is predictable twice a month, these life changes bring significant income volatility and increases or decreases in expenses, which can make your budget a moving target. Here are five solutions to help meet these challenges.

1. Prepare for the Unexpected with Transition and Emergency Funds

The months leading up to and following a PCS move, TDY, or deployment require significant financial adjustment. Give your family time to tweak the family budget by saving now for a:

  • Transition fund: Money meant to help pay for unexpected costs associated with changes in your paycheck until you're reimbursed due to PCS moves, TDY, deployments, etc. In other words: military life! Secure enough money to cover food, lodging, and transportation for one to two weeks, or about $500.
  • Emergency fund: Money earmarked to offset urgent, unexpected expenses so they don't destroy your budget and/or force you into debt. For example, a fender bender could set you back $500, or even $1000, for an auto insurance deductible.

If you're expecting or have received a tax refund for 2016, consider saving part of it with SaveYourRefund to build each of these funds and be entered for a chance to win up to $25,000 in cash prizes! For more information, visit saveyourrefund.com.

2. Think Ahead: Changes in Basic Allowance for Housing during a PCS

One of the first things you should compare is the amount of Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) you receive at your current duty station and the amount you will receive at your new duty station. Is there an increase or decrease? How will this affect your budget? Here are some guidelines when considering housing affordability. Bottom line: Don't buy too much house, or become "house poor."

Before you jump to purchase a home using the BAH at your new duty station, remember that your next duty station's BAH might be significantly lower. BAH is based on location and is not consistent from one duty station to another. If you purchased a home, couldn't sell it immediately, and/or decided to rent it out after your next PCS movie, would you have to pay out of pocket to cover the mortgage? A difference in your BAH at your next duty station could be financially devastating. Consider this and run the numbers ahead of time. When in doubt, be conservative to keep your housing costs in check.

3. A Tactic for TDY

TDY can be for days, weeks, or months and might require a service member to live in a different location from his or her family. This can mean a significant increase in expense on the family budget (at least temporarily) for food, lodging, and transportation until those costs are reimbursed.

Instead of taking out your credit card (with interest) and using it to pay for these expenses up front, use the money you saved in your transition fund and replenish it as soon as you've been reimbursed.

4. The Low Down on Deployments

Deployments to certain locations bring significant financial benefits, including tax-free income and special pays. Increases in pay can tempt the most disciplined soldier and spouse to spend, spend, spend. But remember that deployments aren't forever (thank goodness!) and all of those special pays and the tax-free income will eventually come to an end.

Before spending additional cash, adjust your monthly budget accordingly and set some savings goals for your family. Talk about this together. If you can, consider saving all special pays towards those goals—paying off debt, setting up emergency and transition funds, saving for a home or new car, or increasing your retirement savings. After all, you lived without all of these special pays before the deployment. Why not continue? Take the Military Saves Pledge to help set these savings goals.

Just as your family needs an adjustment period moving into and out of deployment, your finances will need time to adjust too. Resist the urge to make large purchases until your family budget has adjusted. Once again, a transition or emergency fund can help your family weather income fluctuations with greater resiliency as you start and end a deployment.

If you took advantage of the Savings Deposit Program, this account will close 90 days after your deployment ends. Have a plan for this money as well.

5. Manage Your Money with Confidence

Remember Murphy's Law: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Manage your money with more confidence by imagining all of the scenarios that could happen during your next PCS, TDY, or deployment and build a transition fund and an emergency fund to help cope with these expensive "gotcha moments" that can sink your budget. Set a goal. Make a plan. Save automatically!

Social Media Content

Share the following messages with your Facebook & Twitter followers. (Right click on images to save and use.)

#SavingsTipTuesday

Prepare for unexpected military life expenses by creating a transition & emergency fund >> http://bit.ly/2mZTcqh v/ @MilitarySaves #SavingsTipTuesday

Be proactive in managing your finances for a PCS move >> http://bit.ly/2nSbxT0 via @militarydotcom h/t @MilitarySaves #SavingsTipTuesday

Be prepared & review your finances before deploying >> http://bit.ly/2ndK0GO via @usaaef h/t @MilitarySaves #SavingsTipTuesday

Make the most of military deployments: save in the @DeptofDefense Savings Deposit Program: http://bit.ly/2oC4kue #SavingsTipTuesday

6 Financial decisions you need to make before & after #deployment: http://bit.ly/2nD4XCY h/t @MilitarySaves #SavingsTipTuesday

#SavingsFactFriday

Adding an "active duty alert" on a credit report can reduce the risk of identity theft during deployment. #SavingsFactFriday v/ @MilitarySaves

The @DeptofDefense Savings Deposit Program offers a 10% return on up to $10k during #deployment http://bit.ly/2nKwqPC #SavingsFactFriday h/t @MilitarySaves

Getting your finances under control can help reduce pre-deployment stress: http://bit.ly/2oC4HF8 @MilitarySaves #SavingsFactFriday

Special deployment pay can be an opportunity to save. What are you saving for? >> http://bit.ly/2nHpJBp @MilitarySaves #SavingsFactFriday

Additional Posts

Reduce stress by developing a deployment financial plan. Here's how: http://bit.ly/2p1llu1 from @MilitarySaves

Hostile Fire Pay, Family Separation Allowance, Hardship Duty Pay. Learn more about these special pays during deployment: http://bit.ly/2nEvjQC v/ @MilitarySaves

Getting financial & legal matters in order today can help avoid problems during #deployment: http://bit.ly/2oamyBW v/ @MilitarySaves

Trim your bills and save money during a military deployment. Here's how: http://bit.ly/2nYbDJA v/ @MilitarySaves

Relevant Resources

Military Saves Resources

Other Resources

 

Blended Retirement System

Written by Katie Bryan · 22 February 2017

Currently, 81 percent of active service members leave the military with no retirement benefits. The new Blended Retirement System (BRS) will ensure that nearly 85 percent of military service members leave the service with retirement benefits.

Below you will find an overview of the BRS, including information about eligibility, opt-in dates and next steps. Get retirement ready! Now is the time to educate yourself about the BRS so that you can take decisive action in 2018. Military Saves is here to help.

Overview

The Blended Retirement System (BRS) is the new military retirement system that combines the 20-year military retirement (the defined annuity), with a defined contribution plan, known as the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), as it's more commonly referred to.

The defined contribution component or TSP, includes automatic 1 percent DoD contributions after 60-days and up to 4 percent additional matching contributions after two years of service to the member's TSP account. That can mean a lot of retirement savings for you if you do your part--make an informed decision and commit to automatic retirement savings.

The BRS goes into effect between January 1 and December 31, 2018. Follow the steps below and download our Five-Step Blended Retirement System Checklist to Success to make sure you're BRS ready!

Am I eligible?

All members serving as of December 31, 2017 are grandfathered in the currently legacy retirement system. No one currently serving will be automatically moved to the Blended Retirement System. If you wish to move to the Blended Retirement System you will need to "opt-in" during the one-year opt-in period, January 1 - December 31, 2018.

Active Duty:

Active duty service members with fewer than 12 years of total service as of Dec. 31, 2017 are eligible to opt into the BRS.

Reserve and National Guard:

Reservists with fewer than 4,320 retirement points as of Dec. 31, 2017, are eligible to opt into the BRS.

Get into the savings habit now - Take the Military Saves Pledge   

By creating a good savings habit you will set yourself up for success in preparation for the BRS. Jumpstart your financial fitness by creating healthy savings habits:

  1. Save automatically (through direct deposit, automatic transfer from checking to savings or allotment)      
  2. Spend less than you earn and save the difference
  3. Take the Military Saves Pledge to set short-term and long-term savings goals:
  • Set up a separate savings account for emergencies
  • Pay down (and manage) debt
  • Save for retirement, automatically, and take informed action in the Blended Retirement System (BRS)

Take the BRS Opt-in Course

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

Educate Yourself on the BRS and Use the DoD 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 infographics, timelines, informational videos, frequently asked questions, and the BRS calculator to help you run the numbers.

The BRS Comparison Calculator is designed to assist eligible service members in comparing the legacy military 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.

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 PFM or 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, and 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.

Make your decision to opt-in (or not) between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018

Eligible members have all of CY2018 to educate themselves about the BRS and make their decision by December 31, 2018.

If an eligible service member wants to stay covered under current system - they do nothing.

If an eligible service member decides the BRS is better, they must opt-in by Dec. 31, 2018.

All service members who enter the military on or after January 1, 2018 will automatically be enrolled in the BRS.

How will service members opt-in? While details will be released in the coming months, it depends on their branch.

  • Army, Navy and Air Force will opt-in via MyPay.
  • Marine Corps will opt-in via Marine Online (or MOL).
  • Coast Guard and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration will opt-in via Direct Access.
  • U.S. Public Health Service will contact their Human Resources Servicing Office and request to opt-in. 

Learn more:

To learn more about BRS, visit the one-stop DoD shop at http://militarypay.defense.gov/BlendedRetirement/. Here, in addition to the BRS Opt-in course, you will find infographics, timelines, informational videos, and in late February, the BRS calculators to help you run the numbers.

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

   Thrift Savings Plan

         Defense Credit Union Council - Blended Retirement System Guide 

         Military OneSource

    FINRA Educational Foundation - SaveandInvest.org

    USAA Educational Foundation - Command Your Cash

    USAA - Military Retirement Comparison Tool

If you're looking for a coach in your corner to give you the gentle nudge towards setting savings goals and following through on them, Military Saves has you covered.

Take the Military Saves Pledge to set your savings goal and follow the prompts to opt-in to receive text message reminders and tips, and for the latest updates on the Blended Retirement System. Think of us as your personal financial support system!

Then become a part of the Military Saves savings community by receiving emails with the latest savings information, liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter.

 

Set a Goal, Make a Plan, Save Automatically

 

 

 

 

 

 

Military Saves Week 2017 Digital Toolkit

Written by Tammy G. Bruzon · 26 January 2017

Thank you for participating in Military Saves Week 2017, an annual opportunity for organizations to promote good savings behavior and a chance for individuals to assess their own saving status. We encourage you to use the content below in your own communications. Share it as is or rewrite it as your own, it’s entirely up to you.

To reach even more individuals in this effort, Military Saves created segmented content for participants to promote through social media, emails, blogs, newsletters, and other outlets.

If you haven’t signed up for Military Saves Week 2017 yet, please click here to register today.

In This Kit:

 


Military Saves Week 2017 Daily Savings Focus

We encourage you to promote these savings strategies and themes each day during MSW:

 

Monday, February 27: Save Automatically

  • It can be hard to put aside money for savings, but there is an easy way to save money without ever missing it by making your savings automatic in 2017. You can get started today by setting up an allotment in MyPay. Already saving automatically? Find ways to automate other aspects of your financial life this year.

Tuesday, February 28: Family Savings Day

  • Good savings habits start at home. Whether you’re budgeting, saving, making retirement decisions, or assessing benefits, share the choices you make with your children no matter their age.

Wednesday, March 1: Save for Retirement

  • Saving now for retirement by contributing to your Thrift Savings Plan (or increasing contributions by one percent this year) will ensure you get into the savings habit prior to the launch of the Blended Retirement System coming January 1, 2018. Take action, get informed today! Learn more about the Blended Retirement System here​.

Thursday, March 2: Saving at Tax Time

  • Saving a portion of your tax refund can be a big step toward meeting your savings goals. This tax season, get ahead of your financial goals by splitting a portion your tax refund into savings, and reward yourself with SaveYourRefund by entering to win one of 101 prizes.

Friday, March 3 : Pay Off High-Interest Debt

  • With planning, discipline, patience, and maybe some outside help, almost anyone can reduce their debts and start to accumulate wealth. Find places to cut your spending so that you can pay down your debts faster and find places to trim your expenses.

Saturday, March 4 : Save for Emergencies and Military Life’s Changes

  • An emergency savings fund consists of a small amount of money, usually in a savings account that you do not have easy access to. Saving for this fund starts with small, regularly scheduled contributions that build up over time.

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Social Media Content: #MSW2017

Follow @MilitarySaves on Twitter. Like and promote the Military Saves Facebook page. Promote the hashtag #MSW2017 in any savings or MSW-related content at the end of each tweet and post.

 

Social Media Graphics

 

 

 

 

Posts Leading to the Week

Both individuals and orgs can join in #MSW2017! Visit http://bit.ly/2hQPpEM for activities, free materials, and more! @MilitarySaves

Savers with a plan are 2x more likely to save for #retirement, have emergency savings, and stick to a budget - @MilitarySaves #MSW2017

Have 5 minutes? Test your #credit knowledge! Take the quiz at creditscorequiz.org: http://bit.ly/2h3stlG @MilitarySaves #MSW2017

Get tips and tools on spending and saving from @FINRAFoundation >> http://bit.ly/2gE4AQZ #SaveAndInvest @MilitarySaves #MSW2017

Start #saving and encourage others to save with these free downloads from @MilitarySaves: http://bit.ly/2hIOf2i #MSW2017

How well are you managing your #debt? Find out with this assessment: http://bit.ly/2hITeQu @USAAEF @MilitarySaves #MSW2017

A #taxrefund can provide an opportunity to improve your financial situation: http://bit.ly/2gMsIWs @MilitarySaves #MSW2017

Pledge or re-pledge to save with @MilitarySaves! Receive goal-based savings tips and advice. http://bit.ly/2h3qZYO #MSW2017

 

Posts for the Week

Monday, February 27: Save Automatically

#MSW2017 and #ASW17 start today! Join #SavesChat this afternoon at 12p Pacific/3p Eastern for a kick-off chat hosted by @AmericaSaves

The easiest way to save is automatically. Transfer $ to a #savings account every paycheck. http://bit.ly/2hISOtp #MSW2017

Are you a successful saver? Try the @AmericaSaves Saver Checklist Tool to check in on your #savings habits: http://bit.ly/2j9TYhE # MSW2017

Set your savings goal, make a plan, and save automatically. Pledge to #save today! >> http://bit.ly/2h3qZYO via @MilitarySaves #MSW2017

 

Tuesday, February 28: Family Savings Day

These are the top questions kids ask about money and how to answer them: http://bit.ly/2jnJ1IQ #BetterMoneyHabits #MSW2017

Learn financial lessons as a family. Make decisions and practice good $$ mgmt together: http://bit.ly/2juPwr1 #BetterMoneyHabits #MSW2017

Kids learn from you, whether you’re teaching them or not. Get financially fit with help from @CFPB: http://bit.ly/2j2E0Hk #MSW2017

Try these seven steps from #BetterMoneyHabits to build money rules and develop financial literacy for kids: http://bit.ly/2kgar1Y #MSW2017

 

Wednesday, March 1: Save for Retirement

Mid-career and no retirement savings? There's still time! Start your #TSP today. http://bit.ly/2kgapHa via @MilitarySaves #MSW2017

Starting your savings now ensures a more comfortable retirement later on! http://bit.ly/2jPi3bT via @MilitarySaves #MSW2017

Are you saving enough for retirement? Try the @choosetosave Ballpark E$timate to find your number: http://bit.ly/2imH3I9 #MSW2017

Want regular tips and real-time savings advice? Follow @MilitarySaves on Twitter all year ‘round! #MSW2017

 

Thursday, March 2: Saving at Tax Time

Jumpstart your goals by earmarking this year’s #taxrefund for savings: http://bit.ly/2j2PEBO via @MilitarySaves #MSW2017

Millions miss out on the EITC because they don’t claim it or don’t file taxes at all: http://bit.ly/2kge0VN v/ @AmericaSaves #MSW2017

You could win big for saving just $50 of your #taxrefund with @SaveYourRefund: http://bit.ly/2kpJCvA @MilitarySaves #MSW2017

 

Friday, March 3: Pay Off High-Interest Debt

Let @MilitarySaves help you reach your debt-reduction goals. Take the pledge and start saving today: http://bit.ly/2jP3k0q #MSW2017

Don’t let debt stand in the way of your savings goals and aspirations: http://bit.ly/2kghZBs via @MilitarySaves #MSW2017

Manage your debt by the numbers. Fees and interest rates might be keeping you in the red: http://bit.ly/2j2IgpY @FINRA_Investor #MSW2017

#MSW2017 is coming to a close, but you can still participate! Visit @MilitarySaves for more events and activities: http://bit.ly/2kgpgBF

 

Saturday, March 4: Save for Emergencies and Military Life’s Changes

Most families don't have enough to cover the unexpected. Be prepared with an emergency fund: http://bit.ly/2kpOikO @MilitarySaves #MSW2017

Pledge or re-pledge to save with @MilitarySaves to receive goal-based savings tips and advice: http://bit.ly/2jP3k0q #MSW2017

#MSW2017 is ending, but your #savings goals have only just begun! Build your emergency fund today: http://bit.ly/2kpOikO @MilitarySaves

Start saving for emergencies with small, regularly scheduled automatic contributions: http://bit.ly/2kpOikO v/ @MilitarySaves #MSW2017

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Sample Content for Blogs, Emails, Newsletters and More

We encourage you to use the following articles in your content marketing strategies:

 

Simple Steps to Save Successfully During Military Saves Week 2017

By Tammy G. Bruzon, Military Saves

Military Saves Week (February 27 – March 4, 2017) is an annual opportunity for individuals to assess their savings and take financial action. Each year, we encourage servicemembers and military families just like yours to set a goal, make a plan, and save automatically.

This Military Saves Week, try these five simple steps to help yourself save automatically – and successfully:

  1. Assess Your Savings
    Like your health, you should assess your savings annually to make sure your savings priorities are on the right track. Complete this simple 12-question assessment to find out your current standing and help you plan for the future.
     
  2. Evaluate your Savings Preparedness
    Check off your savings accomplishments on the Saver Checklist to further evaluate where your savings habits need strengthening for your future goals.
     
  3. Take the Military Saves Pledge
    Set a goal, make a plan, and save automatically. Those with a savings plan are two times as likely to save for emergencies and retirement than those without one. Join more than 250,000 Military Savers who have already committed to save. When you take the pledge, you can choose to receive text message tips and reminders to help you save towards your goals. Need some inspiration to save automatically towards your goals? Here’s how.
     
  4. Share Your Savings Goal
    Take part in the 2017 #ImSavingFor photo contest. Share a selfie or video that shows what you’re saving for on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Then check AmericaSavesWeek.org in early 2017 to learn more about contest entry details and prizes. Savings never looked so good.
     
  5. Make Your Savings Social
    Are you on Twitter or Facebook? Join Military Saves in encouraging your friends, family, and colleagues to save this week. Better yet, join one of the many Twitter chats, events, and activities that Military Saves will be a part of this week to get real-time savings tips and advice.

Military Saves Week is coordinated by Military Saves. The Week is an annual opportunity for organizations to promote good savings behavior and a chance for individuals to assess their own saving status.

 

5 Ways to Build an Emergency Fund During Military Saves Week 2017

By Lani Poblete, Military Saves

Life can be full of surprises—some good surprises, and some not so welcome ones, like when your car breaks down, the washing machine stops working, or a family member falls ill and you need to buy a last-minute airline ticket. These additional expenses can bring on unnecessary stress when you aren’t financially prepared for them.

According to a 2015 Federal Reserve report, nearly half of Americans can’t cover an emergency expense of $400 without borrowing the money or selling something. And more than half of households have less than one month’s worth of income in a readily available savings account.

Starting an emergency fund might seem daunting when you feel like you are barely making ends meet, but putting away even $50 a month can add up fast if you stick with it. There is no better time than now to pledge to save. During Military Saves Week, February 27 – March 4, 2017, and throughout the year, we encourage you to try these five tips to help build an emergency fund.

  1. Save a portion of your tax refund. Saving a portion of your tax refund can be a big step toward meeting your emergency savings goals. This tax season, build your emergency fund by splitting a portion your tax refund into savings, and then reward yourself by entering the SaveYourRefund contest where you could win one of 101 prizes.
     
  2. Do some early spring cleaning and sell your old stuff for cash. These days the options are endless for selling your old, but still-in-good-condition items for cash. From free websites, to apps, to online yard sale groups, you’d be surprised how easy it is to sell your old stuff and earn some cash simply by snapping a picture of an item and posting it online for sale. Consignment shops are another option. Check to see if your base has a consignment shop and consider selling items that way.
     
  3. Cut the cord—the cable cord that is. When considering this option, remind yourself that cable TV is a luxury, not a necessity. There are many alternatives to cable that are less costly and will allow you to still enjoy your favorite programs and channels.
     
  4. Save your change. Use only cash whenever you buy something and then take the change and small bills and sock them away. You’d be surprised how quickly this can add up. If you don’t know where to begin, check out this great article on using an envelope system to manage your budget.
     
  5. Bring your lunch instead of eating out. Bringing your lunch to work is probably one of the simplest ways to begin saving money for an emergency fund. It may require some effort and a big change of routine in the beginning, but you will soon realize just how much money you were spending, or rather wasting, by eating lunch out every day. Take some time each Sunday to plan out your lunches, then look for sales at your base commissary. Get creative when packing your lunch and make it fun. Bringing lunch to work doesn’t have to mean a sandwich and chips every day.

For more tips on ways to save, check out the Military Saves savings tips page here .

If you still don’t know where to start, Military Saves can help. Learn how to get started here and make a plan to begin saving today.

Military Saves Week is coordinated by Military Saves. The Week is an annual opportunity for organizations to promote good savings behavior and a chance for individuals to assess their own saving status.

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Events and Activities for Military Saves Week

Organizations across the globe are providing engaging ways for individuals to save and enhance their financial literacy in celebration of Military Saves Week.

Please visit militarysaves.org/organizations/military-saves-week/events-and-activities for the latest branch-specific events and activities available to servicemembers and their families. This page will continue to be updated as Military Saves receives information from installations, friends, and partners in saving. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

How Can Individuals Participate?

Take the Military Saves Pledge

  • Savers with a plan are twice as likely to save effectively. Set a goal and make that plan to save. Already taken the pledge? Military Saves encourages you to recommit to your savings goal and re-pledge today.

Assess Your Savings Progress

  • Find out if you are saving in all the right places.

Saver Checklist

  • Check off your savings accomplishments to see how you're doing.

#ImSavingFor Photo Contest

  • Take part in the 2017 #ImSavingFor contest. Share a selfie or video that shows what you’re saving for on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Then check americasavesweek.org/imsavingfor to learn more about contest entry details and prizes. Savings never looked so good.

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#ImSavingFor Contest 2018

Written by Katie Bryan · 09 February 2017

In celebration of Military Saves Week (Feb. 26-March 3, 2018), Military Saves is excited to participate in the annual America Saves #ImSavingFor video and photo contest.

More details coming soon! 

 

Tax Time and New Year’s Savings

Written by Tammy G. Bruzon · 12 January 2017

Tax season is swiftly upon us and soon taxpayers will be preparing to file their taxes and plan for their refunds. The IRS estimates that 20 percent of taxpayers who are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) fail to claim it, which could mean the difference between getting ahead or staying in the red in 2017. The added complication to this common oversight is that new tax law will prevent the IRS from issuing refunds that claim the EITC or Additional Child Tax Credit before February 15. Making sure that taxpayers are aware of the credits and assistance available to them, as well as the impact that delays may have on their refund plans has never been more important.

Please share the article, social media content, 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!

Download the partner packet in Word.

In This Packet:

Article Copy

Social Media Content

Relevant Resources

Join Our List


Article Copy

For use in communications that directly reach your constituents. We encourage you to use its contents as a guest post, or rewrite it as your own.

3 Ways to Find More Money To Save This Tax Season

Tax filing season is upon us once again, an opportunity to assess your financial situation, set goals for the year, and find ways to save towards those goals. Here are three easy ways to save money this tax season and get a jumpstart on your savings goals in the New Year:

  1. Check Your Withholdings to Find More Money in Your Paycheck

    Do you receive a large tax refund every year? If yes, check your tax withholdings and adjust those withholdings to match the number of dependents in your household to receive more money back in your paycheck throughout the year. Receiving a large tax refund is essentially giving Uncle Sam an interest-free loan on your money, so now’s the time to look twice at your refund strategy.

    To start, check that the number of your dependents match the number of dependents in your Leave and Earning Statement (or LES) on MyPay? If not, consider adjusting your withholdings. For example, a married servicemember with two children can claim four dependents, including himself or herself.

    Run the numbers on online calculators, such as suburbancomputer.com to see how these changes might impact your paycheck. If receiving a large tax refund (or whatever refund you do receive) during tax season works for you, save a portion of your refund with SaveYourRefund to be entered for a chance to win up to $25,000 in cash prizes! For more information and to learn how to commit to saving prior to start of tax season, visit saveyourrefund.com . Then, take the Military Saves Pledge to identify a goal for that savings.

  2. See if You Qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit
    Servicemembers and families should not overlook the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), “a refundable federal income tax credit for low- and moderate-income working individuals, couples and families.” The IRS estimates that about 20 percent of taxpayers who are eligible for the EITC fail to claim it, or are simply unaware that they qualify. If you qualify for this tax credit, the money you receive from it may be used to fund your savings goal! Take note of these three things:
    • You can’t get the EITC unless you file a federal tax return and claim it. Visit irs.gov to determine your eligibility and get additional information.
    • If this is the first year that you are claiming the credit, use the IRS EITC Assistant to see if you qualify for tax years 2015, 2014, and 2013. You can file any time during the year to claim an EITC refund for up to three previous tax years. Talk about a bonus!
    • The IRS cannot issue refunds before February 15, 2017 for tax returns that claim the EITC or Additional Child Tax Credit. But that doesn’t mean you can’t file when you normally would. Early filers can make the most of this delay by planning to save that refund and avoiding refund anticipation products, offered by commercial tax preparers. Although they loan the amount of your tax refund to you quickly, the fees will have you seeing red, so filers beware!
       
  3. File Your Taxes for FREE
    If your tax return is pretty straightforward, consider using your installation’s free tax filing service. To contact your installation’s tax center, visit the official source for installation and state resources available to you.

    Military OneSource is also available to eligible servicemembers to help with online assistance, resources, and filing.

    Set yourself up for financial readiness in 2017 by being aware of these three ways to find and save more money this tax season to achieve your goals. When it comes to saving, every dollar counts!

Alecia D. Blair works for Military 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 militarysaves.org.

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Social Media Content

Share the following messages with your followers. 

#SavingsTipTuesday

You could win $25,000 for saving $50 of your tax refund with @SaveYourRefund: http://bit.ly/2i8VJvC @MilitarySaves #SavingsTipTuesday

Set aside your #taxrefund for unexpected repairs or emergency expenses: http://bit.ly/2jargdi @MilitarySaves #SavingsTipTuesday

Jumpstart your goals by earmarking this year’s #taxrefund for savings >> http://bit.ly/2jap85c @MilitarySaves #SavingsTipTuesday

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

Get some much needed relief. Apply your #taxrefund to your outstanding #debt >> http://bit.ly/2jap85c @MilitarySaves #SavingsTipTuesday

#SavingsFactFriday

Saving even $50 of your #taxrefund can make all the difference. @SaveYourRefund: http://bit.ly/2i8VJvC @MilitarySaves #SavingsFactFriday

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Beware of tax time scams: http://bit.ly/2iHRua3 @MilitarySaves #SavingsFactFriday

Millions miss out on EITC $$ b/c they don't claim it or don't file taxes at all: http://bit.ly/2hX4Hrl @MilitarySaves #SavingsFactFriday

Your #taxrefund will continue to grow if you put it into savings or retirement: http://bit.ly/2jap85c @MilitarySaves #SavingsFactFriday

A #taxrefund can provide an opportunity to improve your financial situation: http://bit.ly/2jap85c @MilitarySaves #SavingsFactFriday

Free tax help and free tax preparation are available in person and online: http://bit.ly/2hXbHnX @MilitarySaves #SavingsFactFriday

Additional Posts

Do you have a tip about saving at tax time? Share it with @AmericaSaves and you could win $25 >> http://bit.ly/2hZ6e1m @MilitarySaves

#Taxrefunds (incl. EITC + ACTC) are NOT considered income for those w/public benefits. @RealEconImpact @MilitarySaves

.@MyFreeTaxes = free tax prep + filing help for qualified ppl w/combined income of $62k or less >> http://bit.ly/2hZ1d9c v/ @MilitarySaves

A new tax law will delay refunds that claim the EITC or ACTC until Feb. 15: http://bit.ly/2hTPLyb v/ @AmericaSaves @MilitarySaves

Do you need to file a tax return in 2017? This #BetterMoneyHabits video can help you find out: http://bit.ly/2hU8smo @MilitarySaves

Your emergency savings can help you win big this tax season w/ @SaveYourRefund: http://bit.ly/2i8VJvC @MilitarySaves

After splitting your refund w/Form 8888, all you need is 93 seconds to enter @SaveYourRefund! http://bit.ly/2i8VJvC @MilitarySaves

What you should know about the EITC delay in 2017 >> http://bit.ly/2hTPLyb v/ @AmericaSaves @MilitarySaves

Have questions about how to file taxes in your 20s? Here are 6 easy steps from #BetterMoneyHabits: http://bit.ly/2iH8ICq @MilitarySaves

Let @MilitarySaves help you stay committed to your tax time #savings goal! Take the pledge today: http://bit.ly/2an9Bwa

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Relevant Resources

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From Military Saves

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Tip of the Day

  • Written by Guest Blogger | March 21, 2014

    Having emergency #savings may be the most important way to stay afloat financially. 5 Tips on how to start one: http://ow.ly/rswS2

Saver Stories View all »

Involving Kids in Family Finances

Written by | April 19, 2019

 

One of the best lessons we can share with our kids is about money. By middle school, kids should have a good understanding of how money works as well as the importance of saving.

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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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...