New report shows improvements needed to thoroughly assess financial preparedness of servicemembers and efficacy of financial training efforts
New retirement system implemented last year increases importance of providing servicemembers with adequate resources, training, and information on financial management
Murray: “Our servicemembers are putting their lives on the line to defend our freedoms, and we owe it to them to make sure we’re doing our part to secure their futures as well.”
Durbin: “Our men and women in uniform, who put their lives in harm’s way to serve our country, should have the adequate resources, training, and information to successfully manage their finances and their futures after service.”
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), released a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) assessing the Department of Defense’s (DOD) implementation of a new military retirement system and its efforts to educate and prepare servicemembers to make decisions with long-term implications for their financial wellbeing. The report identified several financial literacy challenges, and found that some of DOD’s financial education efforts generally lacked any assessment component that could be used to ensure the trainings were effective or to improve future financial preparedness efforts for servicemembers.
“Our servicemembers are putting their lives on the line to defend our freedoms, and we owe it to them to make sure we’re doing our part to secure their futures as well,” said Senator Murray. “This report offers an important roadmap for improvements we should make to help provide the brave men and women who serve our country the secure financial futures they deserve. I’m working to make sure we act on these findings to put our servicemembers in the strongest possible position to manage their financial futures.”
“Our men and women in uniform, who put their lives in harm’s way to serve our country, should have the adequate resources, training, and information to successfully manage their finances and their futures after service,” Senator Durbin said. “I will continue working with Ranking Member Murray to ensure the Defense Department follows the suggestions in GAO’s report to improve the financial preparedness efforts of our servicemembers.”
The Senators requested the report in 2017, as DOD prepared to implement the new Blended Retirement System (BRS), which leaves servicemembers with greater responsibility for managing their finances. Among other findings, the report looks in depth at DOD’s efforts to educate new servicemembers who are automatically enrolled in BRS, and servicemembers in the old retirement system who had a window last year to opt-in to the new BRS system—an irrevocable decision with long-term implications for their financial security.
Read the report HERE.