SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- Mikayla Phillips, 2, daughter of Airman 1st Class Sean Capehart, an aircraft structural maintenance technician from the 52nd Equipment Maintenance Squadron, studies a money saving poster while attending the Military Saves Campaign information fair at the Wilkommen Center, Feb. 25, 2013. The Military Saves Campaign kicks off February 25, and runs through March 2. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jonathan Pomeroy/Released)
SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- Master Sgt. Talisha Bruce, from Topeka, Kansas, 52nd Communications Squadron NCO in charge of policies and evaluations, signs up for a money saving pledge while at the Military Saves Campaign information fair at the Wilkommen Center, Feb. 25, 2013. The Military Saves Campaign kicks off February 25, and runs through March 2. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jonathan Pomeroy/Released)
by Tech. Sgt. Jonathan Pomeroy
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
2/25/2013 - SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- Saber community members have the opportunity to learn how to reduce debt and save big during the annual Department of Defense "Military Saves" Campaign, now through March 2.
Military Saves, held in coordination with "America Saves" week, is a social marketing campaign targeted toward active duty military, DoD civilians, contractors and family members to build wealth and decrease debt, according to Pamela Flemions, 52nd Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness Military Saves campaign coordinator. Normally held the last week in February, Military Saves is promoted across all uniformed services and every installation throughout the DoD.
"Each year, we really try to up the ante to strengthen personal financial readiness within the Saber community," said the Los Angeles native. "We host special events, conduct home buying or investment workshops, and bring in a guest speaker to talk about the importance of financial readiness."
This year's Military Saves kickoff event will take place Feb. 25 at the Wilkommen Center, from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Among those participating in the event are the Service Credit Union, DoD Community Bank, and the Defense Commissary Agency. To support Military Saves, the local banking facilities offer special promotions such as a "savers account" that provides a two percent rate of return. Additionally, Commissary officials offer tips on how shoppers can save up to 30 percent on groceries.
The guest speaker for the Military Saves kickoff event is Keith Hamilton, a certified financial planner and Accredited Financial Counselor from Atlanta. Hamilton will be on hand to provide attendees with what he calls the "Nine Brief Principles of How to Save" and the benefits of saving before reaching retirement age.
"These nine life principles are going to let people to retire debt free, in addition to owning a home or an ocean-front condo on a limited income," Hamilton said. "What I hope people get from this is that these principles allow people to control their money instead of the money controlling them."
According to Flemions, Hamilton will also facilitate a variety of workshops during the week and provide one-on-one financial counseling.
The goal of the A&FRC for this year's campaign is to make 100 percent contact with everyone in the community, despite rank, title or financial status and assist them in saving for an emergency, paying off debt, buying a home, contributing to the Thrift Savings Plan or a 401(k), and saving through the DoD Savings Deposit Program when deployed.
"At the kickoff event, we will introduce people to the "Saver's Pledge" that we hope they would take sometime during the campaign week," Flemions said. "The service member or family member pledges to save money by creating monetary goals of how much they want to save and the number of months they plan to."
After taking the pledge, Sabers can visit the Military Saves website to get tips, sign up for a monthly financial newsletter and track their progress. The goal for Spangdahlem is to have 54 percent of the Saber community take the Saver's Pledge.
In addition to the kick off information fair, A&FRC will offer seminars on savings and investing, home buying, saving for college, car buying strategies, Career Status Bonus (CSB) Redux and the Thrift Savings Plan throughout the week.
"One of our oldest and most popular seminars that fill up rather quickly is the home buying seminar, especially since we're in a buyer's market right now," Flemions said. "Our newest seminar is the CSB Redux workshop. This workshop provides detailed information for people to make an informed decision at the 15-year mark on which retirement plan is best for them. We estimate that this will become a very popular seminar as well, depending on how things go."
Another popular seminar is the College Funding and Finances 101 seminar which is geared to parents and high school students attending college soon. All the colleges on Spangdahlem are scheduled to be there to provide information such as financial aid and scholarship opportunities. Career counselors from Bitburg High School and the University of Maryland University College-Europe will also be on hand to discuss the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid process.
Adults are not the only ones being targeted for the Military Saves Campaign, the Keystone Teen Council, in conjunction with The Exchange and A&FRC, is hosting a "Military Youth Saves" fashion show March 2 from noon-1 p.m., in The Exchange atrium. The teens participating in the show were tasked to research and compare the cost of clothes from The Exchange, GAP, Macy's and Dillards to support their "Spending too much money can be a pain, so save that money and make it rain" campaign.
Additionally, representatives from A&FRC will visit children the child development center March 1, to pass out coloring books, piggy banks and CDs with stories on the importance of saving money early in life.
The following seminars scheduled for Military Saves week:
Simple Tips for Saving and Investing - Feb. 26 from 11 a.m.-noon at the A&FRC
Thrift Savings Plan - Feb. 27 from 11 a.m.-noon at the A&FRC
Is CSB Redux Right for you? - Feb. 28 from 11 a.m.-noon at the A&FRC
Ditching the Dorm - Feb. 28 from 11a .m.-noon at the A&FRC
College Funding and Finances 101 - Feb. 28 from 4:30-6 p.m. at the Wilkommen Center
Truths and Myths about Credit Reports and Credit Scores - March 2 from 10-11a.m. at the A&FRC
Strategies for Home Buying - March 2 from noon-2 p.m. at the A&FRC
Successful Car Buying Strategies - March 2 from 3-4 p.m.
Youth/Teen Fashion Show - March 2 from noon-1 p.m. at The Exchange.
For more information about Military Saves, contact the Airman and Family Readiness Center at 452-6422 or visit http://www.militarysaves.org.