The Military Finally Takes Financial Education Seriously
By Right About Money Staff Report
February 13, 2017
Under Congressional order to beef up the financial literacy of sailors, the Navy recently unveiled a new app designed to address the special money issues of men and women in service.
Veterans of all the armed services are twice as likely as civilians to carry debt from month to month, according to a recent National Financial Literacy survey. More than half say they are unprepared for a financial emergency.
Such figures prompted the federal government to order all branches of the military to take steps to improve the financial capability of service members so that they can better adapt when they are civilians again. While in the service, the government makes many financial decisions for them—insurance, retirement saving—so that they can concentrate on protecting the nation.
The new Navy app is one of the results of this mandate. Available online through iTunes or Google Play, the app guides sailors and veterans through basic financial decisions including those that are peculiar to them—like how to navigate the Blended Retirement System, which is the military’s revised retirement savings plan going into effect next year.
Additionally, sailors and their families will have access to resources related to credit, budgeting and buying a home as well as information on managing survivor benefits and insurance.
“This is a very important time for sailors to be aware of their finances and this app covers a wide range of topics that will keep them on top of their money,” Jim Simpson, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations toldAmerica’s Navy. “Whether they are opting-in to the new retirement system, looking to make smart car-buying choices or planning for their children’s future, this gives them one spot to start building that knowledge.”
The app is available at the Navy applocker. It includes a resources tab with infographics, frequently asked questions and training links that will refresh as new courses and materials become available. When the retirement calculator, which is still in development, is completed it will also be added to the app.
The new Blended Retirement System is especially important for financial planning. Service members eligible to opt-into the plan have until the end of 2018. New sailors will automatically be enrolled into the new system next year.
It’s gratifying to see the government taking financial literacy seriously—with special programs for those who serve. Returning to civilian life shouldn’t put a service member at financial risk.