Congress, the Department of Defense (DoD), and the Marine Corps consider the financial readiness of Marines to be mission critical. You should too! A Marine who must focus a significant amount of attention on addressing personal finance concerns has that much less attention to focus on other areas of life, including being a good Marine.

Congress considers financial readiness to be so critical that it mandated financial education at many points in the military life cycle. That’s why you might have already received an MOL notification informing you that you are required to complete some financial education. (And it’s why you will continue to receive them!)

Financial Literacy and Preparedness Survey 

Since 2017, DoD has included a Financial Literacy and Preparedness Survey as part of the annual Status of Forces Survey, as mandated by Congress.

The 2019 Status of Forces Survey is open now, but the window will close soon. If you are selected to participate in the Status of Forces Survey, please take a few minutes to do so. The purpose of the survey is to ensure that DoD makes policy based on the actual experiences of those who serve in our military and their families. Input from Marines like yourself will help DoD evaluate retention, readiness, family policies, and benefits. Please let us know how we are doing and where we can improve.

Not everyone is invited to participate because OSD Office of People Analytics (OPA) uses well-established, scientific procedures to randomly select a sample that represents the Defense community based on combinations of demographic characteristics (for example, gender, race and ethnicity, and paygrade). That means if you are asked to participate, your specific feedback really is important!

If you have been invited to participate, you should have received a letter and weekly email reminders (since early December 2019) with information on completing the survey.

Major highlights from the previous Status of Forces Survey include:

  • 82% of Marines indicated their financial situation in 2018 was better or stayed the same compared to 12 months prior
  • Marines had better or comparable financial well-being scores when compared to U.S. adult population scores
  • 81% of Marines indicated that they have a saving or investment habit, while 85% reported having a goal of saving for retirement
  • 80% of Marines indicated that they have an emergency savings fund (which means that 20% do not—and junior enlisted were most likely to be in this group)
  • 29% of Marines reported in 2018 that they experienced specific financial problems in the previous 12 months (including having personal relationship problems with their partner due to finances, having to pay overdraft fees, borrowing money from family and/or friends to pay bills, and failure to make monthly/minimum payment of credit cards)
  • Marines with financial problems were more likely to report dissatisfaction with aspects of the military and more stress in work and personal life

Marines WITH Financial Problems

Aspect of Life

Marines WITHOUT Financial Problems

40%

Dissatisfied with their total compensation

22%

55%

More stress in personal life

36%

54%

More stress in work life

42%

 

If you aren’t sure whether you’ve been invited to participate, go to DoD’s website: https://www.dodsurveys.mil and then select the button “Am I in the OPA Survey Sample?” and enter your DoD ID number from the back of your CAC along with your date of birth.

Take Control

If you are under financial stress and don’t feel confident about your current financial planning, the first step to improving your situation is to contact the Personal Financial Management Program (PFMP) staff on your installation or your unit Command Financial Specialist (CFS). Both offices can provide you one-on-one counsel, or you can take workshops from your PFM staff on a variety of personal finance topics including how to build a spending plan, saving, investing, credit, debt, car buying, retirement planning, and more. These services are available to all Marines at no cost, and your meeting is totally confidential.

So what are you waiting for? Contact your local Personal Financial Management Specialist and start feeling more confident about your financial management skills today.