By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jeffry Willadsen, NPASE Det. Everett, and Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Charles Gaddis, NPASE Det Northwest
EVERETT, Wash. (NNS) – The Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) on Naval Station Everett (NSE), and at Naval Base Kitsap Bangor, promoted fiscal responsibility and retirement planning by conducting events for Military Saves Week Feb. 23-27.
Military Saves Week, inspired by America Saves Campaign, is an annual campaign designed to educate the Navy community on how to save, build wealth, prevent debt, and promote overall financial responsibility.
“We aren’t born knowing how to manage our money. Financial responsibility is something we have to learn,” said Kahlia Sullen, a Personal Financial Management Specialist for NSE’s FFSC.
Each year, the Navy promotes Military Saves Week through a variety of events and initiatives. This year, the campaign on NSE was comprised of two major components: manned information booths in NSE’s Commons Building and Smokey Point Naval Support Center and a “Million Dollar Sailor” Class. At Naval Base Kitsap, another guest speaker addressed those in attendance.
“I’m proud to be a servicemember advocate and I appreciate all the things they do for our country,” said Holly Petraeus, Assistant Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
The purpose of the booths was to inform Sailors and their families about the value of saving money and taking control of their financial future. Members of NSE’s FFSC made themselves available at certain times during the week to discuss financial issues with Sailors and give them information about debt reduction, saving, and sound financial management.
“One main thing we are trying to do is help reduce the financial stress on Sailors,” said Sullen. “This way, they can be less bogged down by financial worries. It also causes them to be more productive Sailors, increasing operational readiness in the process.”
The Million Dollar Sailor Class, taking place over the course of three days and 12 course modules, was meant to be a more in-depth and involved look at financial issues concerning Sailors. Topics covered during the course included debt management, consumer awareness, car buying, home buying, saving, investing, and retirement planning.
“The course is designed to target our younger Sailors,” said Sullen, also the facilitator of the course. “We want to catch them early, and try to prevent financial hardship in their future.”
The course also provides attendees with resources, such as saving plans and websites, to aid them in financial management and planning.
Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 3rd Class Amanda Coleman, a native of Wauconda, Ill., said that she attended the Million Dollar Sailor Course because she wanted to learn how to financial prepare for having a baby later this year.
“I learned a lot,” said Coleman. “I personally think that anyone who has a chance to should take a class like this. If they are secure financially or not, I think that everyone should take this class at least once.”
According to Sullen, she always gets positive feedback about the content of the course and the resources it provides.
“In the past, I have always gotten phenomenal feedback about this course,” said Sullen. “People tell me that they learn a lot of things they didn’t know about before.”
“I hope servicemembers become more mindful of their money and pay more attention to their finances,” said Petraeus. “There are many businesses waiting to prey on our military.”
Another component of Military Saves Week is the Saver Pledge. Throughout the week, Sailors and their family members were encourage to go online and take the pledge to save their money, reduce debt, and encourage their family, friends, and shipmates to do the same.
For more information on Military Saves Week, or the Save Pledge, go to http://www.militarysaves.org.