By Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW) Maria Yager, Navy Personnel Command Public Affairs
MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) -- Navy Personnel Command released the results of the 2009 Navy Financial Health Quick Poll, May 13, which shows more Sailors than not are safely riding out the nation's current economic environment.
"The chief of naval operations directed the 2009 Financial Health Quick Poll to reassess financial stresses as a result of the recent economic downturn," said Kathy Wells, policy manager for the Navy's Personal Financial Management (PFM) program.
"The poll was a follow-up to the May 2008 Financial Health Quick Poll. The main areas of focus were financial condition, residence and PCS [permanent change of station] moves, both Navywide and by Navy region."
According to the poll, more than 85 percent of officers and 60 percent of enlisted Sailors continue to describe their financial condition as "very comfortable" or "able to make ends meet." About one-third of enlisted Sailors indicate they "occasionally have some difficulty", and about 9 percent are "keeping their heads above water", and 1 percent are "in over their heads."
Help is available for Sailors feeling financial strain.
The Navy's PFM program provides classes, education and assistance through the Fleet and Family Support Centers (FFSCs) on sound financial management including classes about the wise use of credit and home buying strategies.
FFSCs offer a new course entitled Million Dollar Sailor which is a personal wealth-building program for Sailors and their families. Designed as a two-day training course, Million Dollar Sailor assists Sailors and their families to navigate successfully through the transitions of Navy life and the financial challenges that accompany them.
According to the poll, more than 40 percent of enlisted Sailors have had financial advice counseling during the past 12 months, most commonly from their command financial specialists (CFS).
Although the poll shows Sailors are weathering the current economic storm, it also indicates that Sailors are not unaffected.
Of the participants, 63 percent of enlisted Sailors reported that they are contributing less to a savings account to pay for necessities, compared to 59 percent of enlisted in May 2008.
Fifty-three percent of enlisted Sailors are saving less to make credit card payments, compared with 48 percent of enlisted in May 2008.
Similarly, 28 percent of enlisted and 19 percent of officer Sailors regretted a decision to take on more debt, compared with 22 percent and 13 percent, respectively in May 2008.
Financial health is important in the Navy because poor finances can impact readiness. Poor financial management is the leading cause of Navy security clearance denials and revocations. Financial problems can also lead to a loss of job assignment, inability to pass overseas screening or other special duty screenings, increase in alcohol consumption, increase in domestic violence, increase in stress causing negative affects on health and could result in an unaccompanied tour.
Sailors should notify their chain of command if they are suffering from financial stress. Leaders say supervisors should ensure the individual receives financial counseling and follows through with the recommendations of that counseling. The chain of command can also provide the individual with information on the availability of legal and financial remedies if they are required.
Sailors can read the poll summary at http://quickpolling.nprst.navy.mil/results.htm.