Survey shows that sixty percent of military families face a lot of stress as a result of their current finances. Military pay are often on the low side, especially for junior soldiers and federal sequestration and budget cuts are not helping matters where military benefits is concerned. Added to that, service members don’t get adequate financial education despite the efforts of various military branches. This lack of financial preparedness has cost many military men their homes as they’ve sunken in debt. Excessive bankruptcy and debt have also contributed to the high rate of military suicide.
Here are some of the primary causes of financial challenges that military families face and tip on how to tackle them:
- Frequent relocations
Moving every few years is something that’s part of military life. With every relocation, officers will have to make some adjustments to their life. Sometimes they’ll have to adjust to a higher standard of living—higher expenses. As a result, it’s advisable for military officers to financially plan ahead for deployment. There are additional funds military personnel receive while deployed, you can decide to either use it to increase thrift savings plan contributions or to pay off debt.
- Spouse employment
Officers’ spouses find it difficult to hold down a job due to frequent relocations. The unpredictability of military assignments makes it important for military families to budget for a single income. Spouses of officers can also find jobs that are not dependent on location or apply for tuition assistance in the Military Spouse Advancement Accounts program. The extra money gotten from spousal income can go into retirement or debt planning.
- Borrowing loans
Despite how attractive it is to have access to immediate cash, try as much as possible to be debt-free. If at all you are considering getting loans that come with very aggressive fees like payday loans, carefully think through it before making a decision. It’s best to completely avoid these types of loans, if you can. Being indebted will put a strain in your financial life and can make it difficult for you to enjoy your retirement period.
- Changes in potential benefits
Military health care and retirement are subject to constant changes. It’s best to prepare ahead for possible changes in military retirement like saving more in the Thrift Savings Plan. You can also take advantage of the best financial benefits for military families to help evade this financial challenge. Your financial life is something that you can control, it just demands a lot of energy.
When it has to do with the challenges that military families face, it’s different strokes for different folks. However, you can handle your finances in a much better way through careful planning and by putting the knowledge provided here to good use.