This spring, Navy Federal teamed up with Forrester Research to better understand the financial habits, behaviors and outlooks of the millennial generation in 2017 – and figure out how financial institutions can help. What we found? Even though millennials think they’re financially on track, their bank accounts tell a different story. Not to mention, many millennials are navigating these murky waters alone, relying heavily on their own research and personal contacts for financial advice.  

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be spotlighting results of our 2017 Military Millennials and Their Money survey, right here on the Navy Federal Blog. In this week’s installment, we’re talking savings strategies – and how you can turn to your financial institution for help.

You’ve probably heard it from your parents, someone at your on-base Financial Readiness Program, or maybe even a financial advisor. It only takes a little bit to start saving.

And yet, only 26 percent of millennials are turning to their bank or credit union for savings advice.

Setting aside money each month or every paycheck can help you build up your savings easily. But it can seem tough when you’re just starting out. Not sure where or how to begin? Here are some easy ways you can start saving today – whether it’s for a new car, vacation or a rainy day:

Savings plans

Millennials and Their Money shows 9 out of 10 millennials say saving money is a top priority – but an alarming 74 percent feel like they don’t know enough about managing their finances to actually meet their goals. This begs the question: Do millennials know how to start, or even that starting to save might be easier than they think?

Whether you’re building an emergency fund or saving for a few different short- and long-term goals, make a savings plan to simplify saving up.

Start by earmarking a monthly amount to set aside. This could vary depending on your goal – three months’ salary is the recommended amount for an emergency fund, or maybe you’re hoping to build up $1,000 for a vacation during the holiday season. Once you’ve figured out how much you’ll need to make it happen, categorize your goals and begin.

It may help to create a separate account for each when you prioritize your goals. You can easily see how much you’ve saved this way.

Savings accounts make for a great, simple option to set money aside for short- or mid-term goals. Interest rates on these are typically higher than rates on checking accounts, so you’ll get a little boost each month. Not to mention, you can automatically transfer a set amount from your checking to your savings. Out of sight, out of mind can make saving up even easier.


A certificate (sometimes called a share certificate or a certificate of deposit) helps you save over a period of time.

Certificate basics:

  • Start with a minimum deposit
  • Contribute additional funds at certain points
  • Withdraw the funds once the certificate has reached maturity

If you’re saving toward a particular goal, like a vacation or wedding, certificates are a great option. Most offer higher interest rates than savings accounts. This helps you earn more on what you’re putting away. Plus, you usually can’t tap into your certificate without incurring a penalty fee. This helps reduce your risk of spending what you save.

Money Market Savings Accounts 

Money market savings accounts are another great way to help your savings grow. They’re similar to your basic savings accounts, but typically offer a higher APY – which means you can earn more interest on what you’ve deposited. And like most accounts, MMSAs are federally insured up to a certain amount*, making them less risky than investing in securities.

Many MMSAs do require a minimum deposit, so they’re a great next step if:

  • You just sold a big-ticket item and want to deposit the money somewhere it can grow.
  • You received a monetary gift or inheritance and want to keep these funds separate from your everyday accounts.
  • You’re a master of savings, and you’ve accumulated a healthy sum beyond your emergency fund.

*NCUA/FDIC insurance is up to $250,000 per account ownership category.

With 83 percent of millennials going through everyday financial life without an emergency fund, it’s clear the time to turn to financial institutions is now. They make banking and achieving savings goals simple. From basic savings accounts to certificates, MMSAs to automated deposits, banks and credit unions offer easy ways to set aside money and get your savings in ship-shape.