Building Wealth by Setting Goals
My name is Allison Mecadon and I’m a Youth Coordinator with the Virginia National Guard Youth Program. My husband, Tom, is an M-Day Army National Guard Member (an M-Day member is one who performs weekend drill, but is not on full-time duty). Tom just got back from a 1-year deployment to Afghanistan and before that served a one year ADOS tour (Active Duty Operational Support) at Ft Belvoir.
It’s important to note that these varying statuses – ADOS to AGR (Active Guard and Reserve) to M-Day – are typical for the National Guard and create the big financial challenge of having to budget on incomes that can vary greatly from year to year.
Prior to Tom’s deployment, we set three goals (and saved in this order):
1. Fully fund a six- months-worth-of-expenses emergency fund
2. Save to purchase a truck with cash
3. Save to have money for a down payment on a house.
On the Right Track to Build Wealth
My name is Robina Wahl, and I am a military wife and a veteran. Although I am fairly new to the Military Saves Campaign, the message to “Build Wealth, Not Debt” reassured me that my husband and I were on the right track and doing the right things.
I have always been pretty responsible when it comes to saving and living within my means, but I was not prepared for the unpredictable employment lifestyle of being a Reservist and military spouse. While I was activated in the National Guard on ADOS (Active Duty for Operational Support), I put a portion of my income into an emergency fund every month because I was always unsure how long the employment would last. Well, the budget eventually called for a cut in a large portion of ADOS orders. We were faced with our income being cut in half and had to make a quick decision on how to proceed.
A Plan For Success
I’m Staff Sergeant Robert Zuniga and I have been an active duty Air Force medic for eight years. I plan on staying in long enough so that I can retire at 20 years. I have always been interested in personal finance and would like to share how it IS possible for me and my stay-at-home wife and two kids to not only save and invest a ton of money but also have a lot of responsible fun as well on 'low' enlisted pay. You CAN do it too!
First off, we write down our goals and separate wants from needs.
Want: A $40,000 truck (would be cool)
Need: Financial independence (invest that money instead of paying a high car note)
Start Small and Keep Saving
Although Major James Kenisky only recently took the Saver's Pledge, he has been living by its tenets for many years: Start Small. Think Big.
I want this story to help others and I am certain I am not the only one who has achieved the level of success in the military that I have. I am just one voice. I started saving when I became a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. I started with a mutual fund, but the key was I had formulated a plan without jeopardizing my lifestyle. I was determined to save a portion of my paycheck every month and live below my means. I started small and every year ratcheted up the savings. At one point, when I was a First Lieutenant, I was saving $1500 a month. I had $750 dollars automatically withdrawn from my account into a high interest-bearing account. I made some mistakes along the way, but the bottom line is I stayed with the plan.
Savers Pledge Leads to Savings Success
My name is Rob and I am a Staff Sergeant in the Marine Corps Reserve. My financial success is a huge result of the Military Saves Campaign.
My journey began five years ago after marrying my wife, Lisa. We entered our marriage with no savings plan in sight, carrying debt and living in a tiny apartment. After seeing an advertisement for Military Saves, we decided to grab the reigns of our finances and implement a positive financial plan. It began with taking the Military Saves' "Savers Pledge". Military Saves encouraged positive financial behavior regarding saving, eliminating debt, living within our means and retirement goals. The Military Saves website listed important statistics regarding average households carrying $8,000 worth of credit card debt, foreclosures doubling within the past decade and numerous negative spending habits. Our eyes widened with each statistic so we vowed to live by our "Saver’s Pledge".
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