Orlando, FL (PRWEB) March 24, 2009
While nearly half of U.S. servicemembers are confident about their ability to retire comfortably, 22 percent are unaware of the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)--the federal government's equivalent of a 401(k) plan--according to a new survey funded by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation.
The Military Financial Confidence Survey (MFCS)--conducted by the FINRA Foundation in cooperation with the Employee Benefit Research Institute® (EBRI) and Mathew Greenwald & Associates--shows that 47 percent of servicemembers report feeling either very confident or somewhat confident about their ability to retire comfortably.
In an interview with MilitaryMoney.com, John Gannon, president of the FINRA Foundation, the largest foundation in the country devoted to investor education, addressed military personnel's major concerns regarding their ability to meet future needs.
"First, 29 percent are worried about paying down debt or loans," Gannon said. "Their second most pressing issue (25 percent) was saving or planning for retirement."
The FINRA Foundation encourages servicemembers to pay down credit card debt, especially as banks increase interest rates and late fees and reduce limits on credit cards--which means higher borrowing costs. Lower credit limits can also mean lower credit scores if servicemembers don't pay down their credit card debt. Servicemembers can read more at http://www.saveandinvest.org/Military/manageMoney/managingCredit/index.htm.
The FINRA Foundation's MFCS suggests that doing a retirement needs calculation may lead to having a more realistic savings goal, since the amount of retirement savings believed necessary was higher among those who had performed a retirement savings calculation than among those who had not. The FINRA Foundation offers a free retirement calculator at http://apps.finra.org/Investor_Information/Calculators/2/RetirementCalc.aspx.
The TSP was the leading savings vehicle used by servicemembers saving for retirement, with 68 percent of such servicemembers reporting contributing to the TSP. The likelihood of contributing to the TSP was steady across demographic groups, including rank. The MFCS also highlighted the importance of financial education. One-quarter of servicemembers (26 percent) reported that a briefing given by military financial educators encouraged them to participate in the TSP. To learn more about the TSP and retirement planning, servicemembers can log onto http://www.saveandinvest.org/Military/planRetirement/index.htm.
For more information about Military Money magazine or to listen to the interview with John Gannon, log onto MilitaryMoney.com.
View Survey Executive Summary.
About the FINRA Investor Education Foundation (http://www.FinraFoundation.org): The FINRA Investor Education Foundation is the largest foundation in the United States dedicated to investor education. Its mission is to provide investors with high-quality, easily accessible information and tools to better understand the markets and the basic principles of saving and investing. In 2006, the Foundation launched a multifaceted program to expand the saving and investing knowledge of military servicemembers and their spouses, including a free, unbiased resource, http://www.SaveAndInvest.org. A proud partner in the Department of Defense Financial Readiness Campaign, the Foundation also presents financial education forums at military installations worldwide.
About InCharge® Institute of America, Inc. (http://www.InChargeInstitute.org): Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., InCharge® Institute of America, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with affiliates specializing in personal finance education and credit counseling. InCharge® Education Foundation, Inc., publishes Military Money magazine and offers financial literacy education to clients and the general public. InCharge® Debt Solutions provides professional credit counseling and financial education services to consumers and is a member of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies (AICCCA). Consumers can access InCharge Debt Solutions credit counseling services for free by calling 1-888-360-9694 or online at http://www.InCharge.org.
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