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How Military Saves Helps Military Families Stay Financially Ready

2021-02-25

Everyone has different goals for improving their personal finances, but most of it boils down to one basic idea: providing a comfortable life and financial security for themselves and their families.

If you’ve ever wondered how to save for emergencies, pay off debt, or save for larger life events such as retirement, college, or a home purchase, Military Saves might be the motivating factor you need to take small actions to improve your financial health.

What Is Military Saves?

Military Saves, a component of America Saves, and a participant in the Department of Defense Financial Readiness Network seeks to motivate, support, and encourage the entire military community to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth.

Angela Caban, Director of Military Saves, says the campaign was created “to motivate and encourage the military community to assess their savings and spending behaviors, as well as motivate them to save the easy way, automatically. We communicate this using various digital platforms year-round.”

Resources include a quiz to find out your “Military Money Personality Type”, steps you can take to connect with a financial counselor or coach, and more.

Military Saves Month

Military Saves Month is a widely recognized national campaign that occurs annually throughout the month of April.

During the month-long campaign, thousands of organizations join together with Military Saves to collectively encourage the military community to focus on their individual financial wellness by discussing money-related topics and providing servicemembers with tools and resources that may help them gain clarity on their current financial situation, develop new savings goals, and make a plan to achieve them.

“April is Financial Capability Month, which makes it the perfect opportunity to join forces with other organizations and promote savings message,” says Caban. “This makes it impactful if we as an entire military community focus on the financial well-being of servicemembers, Military Spouses, Veterans and civilian defense employees.”

Each week of Military Saves Month has its own theme: Save Automatically, Save for the Unexpected, Save to Retire, Save by Reducing Debt, and Save as a Family.

If you want to receive more information on each of these topics, be sure to follow along on social media through the #MSM2021 hashtag. You can also take the Military Saves Pledge as a commitment to help yourself and your family achieve goals such as maintain an emergency cash reserve, buy a house, or pay for college.

Military Spouses: A Vital Piece of the Financial Planning Puzzle

AAFMAA believes that it’s critical to engage Military Spouses in financial planning and campaigns such as Military Saves Month.

Caban adds, “We know that in many households the Military Spouse is in charge of the household finances. Engaging Military Spouses in Military Saves Month is vital because being financially secure goes beyond paying the monthly bills. What is the spouse doing for their own savings or retirement? They should not count solely on the servicemember, and the Military Spouse could be facing their own unique challenges, whether they are unemployed or underemployed. It is important for us as a program to provide those resources, encouragement and motivation to the Military Spouse for themselves as well as the family unit.”

The Woman Behind It All

Angela Caban joined the Consumer Federation of America in February 2019 as the Director of Military Saves. A Military Spouse herself, Caban is particularly moved by her work and mission of the Military Saves program, to motivate and support the entire military community on their path to achieve better financial stability.

When asked about her personal connection to Military Saves and its mission, Caban said “I have been a Military Spouse for 16 years and my work at Military Saves is extremely personal. We struggled financially for many years and it took many hard lessons and almost losing our home to realize that we needed to make some drastic changes to our spending habits. Utilizing programs such as Military Saves helped us to get back on track, without feeling like it was too late or not enough. Savings is a journey, not a destination.”

AAFMAA is proud to participate in Military Saves Month and hopes that our Members find value as we feature topics such as how to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth during the month of April.

Ready to get started right now? Here are a few resources to help you along your savings journey:

Common Questions

Yes, your AAFMAA policy will cover a death related to COVID-19 if you are an existing AAFMAA Member with a policy issued more than two years ago or prior to a COVID-19 diagnosis, even within the first two years the policy is owned. The only exclusion on AAFMAA policies is death by suicide within the first two years.

However it is important to note that death claims made against an underwritten policy issued within the last two years are contestable, regardless of the cause of death. Contestable death claims are reviewed and subject to denial if we find undisclosed material information that would have changed the outcome of the policy issuance decision.

Yes, if you are applying for a policy that requires medical underwriting, you must disclose a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. Not doing so would be considered material misrepresentation and could result in your policy being voided.

As mentioned above, death claims made against an underwritten policy issued within the last two years are contestable, regardless of the cause of death. Additionally, you don’t have to die for a material misrepresentation to void your contract. The policy can be voided at any point within the first two years if AAFMAA finds that you provided incorrect information about your health history and that the correct information would have prevented us from issuing the policy.

If you were diagnosed with having contracted COVID-19 prior to applying for life insurance and you failed to disclose that diagnosis on your application, your death claim could be denied. This is because, if you had disclosed your COVID-19 diagnosis, we would have followed current industry guidelines and possibly postponed acceptance of your application. In this case, your policy would be voided and your survivors would only receive a refund of the premiums you had paid.

No, the COVID-19 vaccine is classified as a typical wellness check, for which we do not require disclosures and do not deny death claims. We strongly suggest that our Members follow CDC recommendations and receive the COVID-19 vaccination as soon as they are eligible.

Industry guidelines indicate that a COVID-19 diagnosis may postpone acceptance of your application for a period of three weeks to 1 year following recovery, depending on the severity of symptoms and treatment. This timeline is subject to change as new information becomes available and industry guidelines are adjusted accordingly. Those who experience a full recovery may be considered for issue before 12 months, while serious cases (such as those which required a ventilator) may be postponed for longer.

No. Receiving a COVID-19 vaccination will not affect the acceptance of your application.

No, AAFMAA cannot change your premiums or your health classification on a policy you currently hold. Your premiums and health classification will remain the same, even if you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or you are at a higher risk of exposure due to your job, living situation, or recent travel, or if you get one of the COVID-19 vaccinations approved for emergency use by the USFDA.