Military families face unique financial challenges when leaving the service, deploying, and constantly relocating. To help military families maintain financial stability, we asked financial coaches and veteran welfare managers for their best advice. From knowing how to budget their pay to developing several passive income streams, there are several things military families can do to help ensure financial well-being in and out of active service.
Protecting Your Financial Well-Being
Save by Living Below Allocated Budget
One thing military families can do to maintain financial stability is to create a budget and live below their means. It sounds so simple, but it truly is the best way to create realistic financial goals, save for the future, and save enough for unexpected expenses.
- Becca Stewart, PCSgrades
See my feature in: Don't Be a Fool: Take These Simple Steps Today To Begin Saving
Display Your Veteran Status On Social Media To Be Hired
Putting your service veteran status on all social media accounts will allow you to interact with recruiters, employers, aspiring entrepreneurs, and many others interested in hiring veterans/service members. It also allows these strangers to get to know who you are as a person, and it will help them see what type of person they want their company to hire.
- Gisera Matanda, WeLoans
Establish an Emergency Savings Account
Military families can better maintain financial stability by establishing an emergency savings account. Multiple bank accounts are not uncommon and one exclusively for long periods of uncertainty can be reassuring. Getting one started may be daunting, but even small increments can help. Many banks offer military discounts and can also customize a plan that is perfect for the family.
- Sasha Ramani, MPOWER Financing
Learn How To Budget Their Pay
Military families must separate their pay to maintain or gain financial stability. If possible, you can rely entirely on a military member's pay for ordinary household expenses and try to assign the military spouse's salary for items such as vacations, savings, and investments.
This strategy of pay separation helps mitigate the instability in the spouse's career and the instability in the finances that comes with that. Some families can do that very well, and others are less able to do that due to the different situations that they're in.
- Caroline Lee, CocoSign
Use The Government-Sponsored Thrift Savings Plan
Don't let an inability to purchase a home prevent you from making long-term investments for your retirement. Consistently moving can prevent investing in real estate. Still, thankfully military families have the option of the Thrift Savings Plan, which is similar to an IRA, that can help them prepare for retirement. Additionally, brokerage accounts based on consistently-performing index funds are a great way to build capital for the years before retirement.
- John Jacob, Hoist
Develop Several Passive Income Streams
It seems a little backward from the American self-conception: "Buy properties other people rent and rent my home?" That's precisely what I suggest. This allows you to stay location independent, build assets, and develop several passive income streams.
- Trevor Ewen, Southport Technology Group