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WASHINGTON Defense Department officials have designated this week as Military Saves Week to highlight the need for military Families to reduce debt and save for the future, something Pentagon officials emphasize is key to force readiness.
The event is part of the yearlong Military Saves campaign, an opportunity for leaders to stress the importance of good financial habits to all members of the force and their families to encourage saving, reducing debt and building wealth, officials said. Military Saves is an ongoing campaign in partnership with America Saves to really hone in on the habits for good savings for our military members, Barbara Thompson, director of the Pentagons office of Family Policy, Children and Youth, said. The personal finances of military families are important to the Defense Department, she said, because money problems can affect force readiness.
When service members and their Families can focus on the mission because theyre not worried about their financial situation, we have a much better prepared force, she said.
Financial health also is key to force readiness because accumulating debt can jeopardize a service members security clearance. DOD officials have found that junior enlisted service members and their Families are more vulnerable to financial problems than other members of the force. Data obtained through surveys and supplied by Thompsons office suggests an increase last year among those who experienced one or more problems in paying bills, despite an overall drop in those who said they were not comfortable with their financial situation.