By being pro-active and using the knowledge and tools available, Navy members can become better equipped to:
- build future wealth
- build emergency savings funds
- lower personal debt
- ensure mission readiness
Sailors are encouraged to see their Personal Financial Advisor or their Command Financial Specialist (CFS) for more information.
Tip #1: Save For Emergencies
Having an emergency savings fund may be the most significant difference between service members who manage to stay above water and those who drown in debt. A $2,000 emergency fund can make the difference between being able to afford an emergency or going into debt to cover the expense. An emergency fund allows military families to easily meet unexpected financial challenges such as:
- repairing the brakes on your car
- replacing a broken window in your house
- flying to visit a sick parent
Tip #2: Save To Purchase A Home
Home ownership is a good investment. Today, home equity represents more than four-fifths of the typical family's wealth. If you are thinking about buying a home, be realistic about the home you can afford to buy. The rule of thumb is to buy a house that is no more than two-and-a-half times your annual income.
Tip #3: Save For Retirement
It is never too late to start saving for retirement. Military families will need 60 to 80 percent of their pre-retirement income to maintain their present standard of living. The recommendation is saving 15 percent of your annual salary (adjusted for inflation) to replace 50 percent of your salary in retirement.
Take advantage of Navy-sponsored retirement programs such as the Thrift Savings Program (TSP) to supplement your retirement income. Learn more by visiting the TSP or DFAS websites.
Tip #4: Save For College
According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics, people with a bachelor's degree earn nearly twice as much on average than those with only a high school diploma. Higher education is expensive, but it is a good investment. There is no shortage of college savings plans to choose from. Options to save for college include 529 plans, prepaid tuition plans, educational savings accounts, custodial accounts and savings bonds.
Tip #5: Save To Buy A Car
Don't be driven to debt by car loans and repairs. When saving to buy a car, calculate what you can afford. Remember to consider insurance costs, state registration fees, car insurance, fuel, and routine maintenance. A good rule of thumb is to plan on spending 10 to 15 percent of your total monthly budget on automotive expenses.
Tip #6: Save For Vacation
Life shouldn't be all work and no play. Most vacation-goers plan for the big expenses - transportation, lodging and meals - but forget to plan for hidden expenses: tips/gratuities, parking, souvenirs, tickets, fuel, travel insurance, etc.
Before purchasing park/attraction tickets at full price, ask if there are discounts for military and family members. Many national attractions offer these significant discounts for specific time periods.
Take advantage of your local Information Ticket and Travel (ITT) office discounts on tickets to local and national attractions, discounted cruises, land travel packages and military vacation rentals.