2 Minutes That Can Save Your (Financial) Life

Military Benefits

Maintaining financial readiness is not easy for your young military family. There are many ways to spend money and make risky decisions, and not nearly as many ways to get smart on your personal finances —  at least not without having to slog through dozens of pages of sleep-inducing material.


No matter how challenging — or boring — it may seem to you, maintaining personal financial readiness is an imperative, not just for you as a young service member, but for the U.S. military.

Why does the state of your finances matter to the military?

First, Congress has laid out extensive new expectations and requirements for the financial education of service members, establishing troops’ financial literacy and preparedness as a crucial priority for personnel management.

Second, the Department of Defense considers financial readiness to be an essential element of overall military readiness because it directly impacts a military family’s strength by reducing stress and enables personnel to maintain security clearances required for mission readiness.

Related: How To Manage Your Finances As A Student Veteran »

Third, the harsh reality is that financial problems are very real for our nation’s service members and their families. In a recent Blue Star Families survey, 40% of active-duty respondents said they felt financially insecure, and 87% of active-duty respondents expressed a desire for financial readiness training that is more specific to the needs of their family.

Finally, with the military’s new blended retirement system phasing in over the next few years, maintaining personal financial readiness is becoming an even more daunting prospect for service members not sure where to go to get smart with the minimum amount of effort.

The military will do its part with mandated training efforts, but nonprofit resources also exist to help you achieve personal financial readiness. I want to introduce one that I helped create, the Command Your Cash Microlearning Center, a new mobile-optimized tool that supports the financial education of service members.

This online program, launched in early October by The USAA Educational Foundation, is specifically designed to educate military millennials and shape their financial futures. Lessons covered in the first phase of the program range from explaining how to keep debt from ruining your life, to how to live on a military paycheck and still get ahead.

The microlearning approach delivers short, precise content focused on changing a specific behavior. This allows today’s military professional to understand the “why” and “how” of each financial readiness topic by presenting 1 – 2 minute videos. The videos are followed by quick knowledge checks and downloadable tools that can be personalized. The videos are engaging and many feature veterans who have been exactly where you are now. You can view the lessons in any order, enabling you to create a custom experience made up of material relevant to your needs and tailored to your learning style.

The microlearning center can also be used at the unit and command levels to provide managed guidance, either as a standalone curriculum, or as a component of a comprehensive lifecycle training program. Regardless of how you decide to use the material, the highly focused design of microlearning content delivered anywhere and at any time on mobile devices offers you a unique way to achieve financial readiness.        

The military understands that the personal finances of its troops are an important issue. As a retired Air Force senior noncommissioned officer and learning and development professional, I’ve seen first hand that if you can’t get your money management right, your military journey simply won’t be as rewarding as it could be.

USAA Educational Foundation
(Reuters/Carlos Barria)

WASHINGTON/RIYADH (Reuters) - President Donald Trump imposed new U.S. sanctions onIran on Monday following Tehran's downing of an unmanned American drone and said the measures would target Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Trump told reporters he was signing an executive order for the sanctions amid tensions between the United States and Iran that have grown since May, when Washington ordered all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil.

Trump also said the sanctions would have been imposed regardless of the incident over the drone. He said the supreme leaders was ultimately responsible for what Trump called "the hostile conduct of the regime."

"Sanctions imposed through the executive order ... will deny the Supreme Leader and the Supreme Leader's office, and those closely affiliated with him and the office, access to key financial resources and support," Trump said.

Read More Show Less
(DoD/Sgt. Amber I. Smith)

President Donald Trump may have loved to call former Secretary of Defense James Mattis by his much-loathed "Mad Dog" nickname, but his own transition team had concerns regarding the former Marine general's infamous battlefield missives and his lackluster handling of alleged war crimes committed by U.S. service members, according to leaked vetting documents.

Read More Show Less

Beloved readers: It's been a rough week inside the Five-Sided Fun House as it looked like the United States and Iran were on a collision course until President Donald Trump aborted planned air and missile strikes at the eleventh hour.

As your beleaguered friend and narrator writes this, the Pentagon has not scheduled any briefings about how close the U.S. military was to attacking Iran, or even if those strikes have been called off or are on hold.

It would be nice to know whether we are at war or not. One would think the headquarters of the U.S. military would be a good place to find out. But the Trump administration has one spokesman: the president himself. His tweets have replaced Pentagon's briefings as the primary source for military news.

Read More Show Less
(DoD/Petty Officer William Selby)

Former Army Gen. David Petraeus, the former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan who resigned in disgrace as CIA director amid revelations of an extramarital affairs, was passed over by then-president-elect Donald Trump's transition team because of his criticism of torture, according to leaked vetting documents.

Read More Show Less