Addressing a Need
While many service members are on their way to achieving financial independence, there are thousands of service members who report having problems paying bills and struggling to make ends meet; studies show that a lack of understanding of personal finances and poor management practices contribute to the difficulties. In addition, serious financial problems can have a negative impact on service members' careers, potentially resulting in the loss of security clearance, criminal or non-judicial sanction, or adverse personnel actions, including possible discharge from the military.
A lack of financial knowledge also leaves military personnel susceptible to financial problems. In December 2004, First Command Financial Planning, Inc. was fined $12 million for making misleading statements in the sales of systematic investment plans to military personnel. More than $5 million has been returned in the form of restitution to investors. With the remaining funds, the NASD Investor Education Foundation—now the FINRA Investor Education Foundation—developed SaveAndInvest.org—a financial education resource to improve the saving and investing knowledge of military service members to give them the tools and information they need to make critical saving and investing decisions with confidence.
Managing Money with Confidence
Our Military Financial Readiness Program is multifaceted. It includes:
- An online resource center (SaveAndInvest.org) that serves as a centralized, trusted source for unbiased information on saving and investing, including original content, interactive tools/games, links to financial education resources, frequently asked questions, and more
- On-the-ground training to support the military's current Personal Financial Management program through a coordinated and uniform financial education program, including the training and continued certification of personal financial managers and other volunteers
- Educational toolkits for trainers and investors offering multiple levels of personal financial information
- On-base activities and events to motivate families to take responsibility for their financial well-being
- A long-term public outreach campaign, including print, radio and television public service announcements and earned media outreach to raise awareness of the tools, information and services available to military personnel and their families