Financial Tips for Service Members

1. Pay yourself first by putting away 10 percent of your take-home pay in a savings account. To accumulate wealth, you must understand the "time value of money" and the impact of compounding interest.

2. Establish financial goals. Set immediate, intermediate and retirement savings goals for yourself and your family. Review and update your goals annually.

3. Establish a budget and stick to it. Track your expenses -- small purchases add up quickly. A daily cup of coffee can cost you $200 a year.

4. Use credit sparingly and wisely. Plan for large purchases or gifts. Credit should be for emergencies only. 

5. Never use your government credit card for personal or other unauthorized purchases.

6. Learn the principles and types of life insurance available. Buy only what you need. Remember, the primary goal of life insurance is to replace family income in the event of a breadwinner's death.

7. Beware of scams and rip-offs. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

8. Stay financially current by reading and taking courses.

9. Set aside money for unexpected events, such as deployments, car repairs, or extra medical and dental expenses.

10. Know your rights under the Fair Collection Practices Act and Soldiers' and Sailors' Relief Act of 1940. Information on these laws is available through your installation legal services office.

*Compiled by the
DoD Office of Family Policy