Saving takes discipline, patience, persistence

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Andrew Mueller
  • 81st Training Wing commander
"A penny saved is a penny earned" rings as true with me today as it did in 1976 when I started my first job as a caddie at a local golf course. Back then, I could bring home $10 a day -- all cash. Had I started saving just one day's wages a week in 1976, today I would have $18,720 -- cash! And according to my wife, had we started saving just one day of our Air Force pay per month in 1985, we would have $53,119 today! Wow -- saving money a little at a time can certainly add up.

As Airmen, personnel financial security is an important part of our mission readiness. Being financially able to meet additional and unplanned expenses that can result from the uniqueness of military service is the key to being fit to fight. Controlling expenses, improving credit scores and starting and sustaining a disciplined savings program are all components of financial security. Saving now can ensure you have the money needed when unexpected or unplanned expenses arise.

To assist military personnel and their families in understanding the value of saving money and adopting long-term financial goals, the Department of Defense implemented a financial readiness campaign. An important focus of this campaign is the importance of saving your money. The "Military Saves" program was started to persuade, encourage and motivate service members and their families, as well as the wider military community, to take financial action to control their expenses and build their wealth through disciplined savings. The Department of Defense has partnered with the Consumer Federation of America to support military saves activities. The CFA has a useful website at

DOD has designated Feb. 19-26 as "Military Saves Week." While the Military Saves program is a year-long effort, Military Saves Week is a dedicated opportunity for you to focus in on your personal finances and take action to improve your financial readiness -- by starting or continue a disciplined program to save your hard-earned dollars!

Our airman and family readiness center coordinates activities to support our Military Saves campaign here at Keesler. Seminars on topics such as budgeting, investing and savings are scheduled for Feb. 22-23.

In addition, one-on-one consultations with an accredited financial counselor from Military Family Life are available all week. Don't miss these opportunities to improve your financial readiness -- call the A&FRC at 228-376-8728 and get started saving.

Also, I'd encourage everyone to use Military Saves Week to review the opportunities to save for the future through the Thrift Savings Plan. TSP is a convenient method to make monthly payroll deductions to save your money. Depending on your financial situation, TSP contributions may also present a tax advantage by deferring tax on the income you place in your TSP.

While I never made $18,000 lugging golf clubs, I did learn about discipline, patience and persistence on the golf course. These are key qualities for starting and sustaining a successful personal savings program. I encourage everyone to use next week to review their financial readiness. Looking back, saving $53,119 would have been easy!