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3 Ways To Be Better With Your Finances Today
As an American veteran, your service and defense of the nation sets you apart from most other Americans. But that's not all — your financial circumstances are also different. Caring for your family today and in the future requires a specialized approach to money management that is geared toward your experience as a veteran. Financial skills can be complex, but fundamentally they consist of three components:
- Budgeting for today
- Saving and investing for tomorrow
- Protecting against unexpected risks
Think of these tasks as three legs of a stool: Neglecting any of them will unbalance the stool and topple your financial stability. Additionally, these components evolve from active-duty service, to transitioning from the military, and finally to retirement.
This is the first of three articles and it addresses the specific habits needed by active-duty military families to develop the right financial habits today so that they will be set up for financial success throughout their lives.
Few military operations take place without a written plan, but many families never write down their financial goals or estimate what they should spend each month. Military pay and allowances should be able to cover all of your necessary expenses, so you should develop a plan and have the discipline to stick to it.
Budgeting helps you to avoid debt. In the military, you have a steady, government-issued paycheck, which means you will likely qualify for loans and credit cards. Unfortunately, many businesses are eager to "help" you purchase expensive items with their credit so they can charge exceptionally high interest rates. By living within your income, you can avoid expensive consumer debt.
Saving and investing.
Your “rainy day fund” should include three to six times the amount of your monthly expenses so you can pay for a major car repair, replace that old refrigerator, or travel for a family emergency without going into debt. Saving one-twelfth of your paycheck each month will fill your emergency fund in under three years.
After starting your emergency fund, save for long term goals like buying a home, paying for college, or transitioning out of the military. While in the service, you benefit from annual cost-of-living increases and well-deserved raises for longevity and promotions. When your income goes up, put at least half of each raise into long-term savings. By implementing this simple savings strategy throughout your career, you can build substantial long-term savings while still steadily improving your quality of life.
Losing a valuable asset — such as your car, your property, or your life — can be a financial disaster unless you are protected against that risk. That is why insurance is important so that if the unexpected happens, your family will not be financially devastated.
Shop around for insurance to save money each month, because those savings really add up. Even the government-provided $400,000 of Servicemembers Group Life Insurance, or SGLI, which costs $28 per month, is not the least expensive. There are non-profit associations, such as AAFMAA, that provide the same benefits as SGLI for a lesser monthly fee and the insurance continues after you leave the service.
Americans' mighty military may have met its match when it comes to erecting barriers to keep out intruders.
An alligator in Florida recently had zero trouble flopping over a chain-link fence to get onto a naval air base. Motorist Christina Stewart pulled over to film it, and local television station WJAX posted it on Facebook.
Wallace Ward graduated from West Point in 1958. More than 60 years later, at age 87, he's still kicking ass and joining new academy plebes for the annual March Back.
Army study recommends more sleep for recruits at basic, which drill sergeants will absolutely not disregard or anything
(Reuters Health) - Soldiers who experience sleep problems during basic combat training may be more likely to struggle with psychological distress, attention difficulties, and anger issues during their entry into the military, a recent study suggests.
"These results show that it would probably be useful to check in with new soldiers over time because sleep problems can be a signal that a soldier is encountering difficulties," said Amanda Adrian, lead author of the study and a research psychologist at the Center for Military Psychiatry and Neuroscience at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Maryland.
"Addressing sleep problems early on should help set soldiers up for success as they transition into their next unit of assignment," she said by email.
Thousands of U.S. service members who've been sent to operate along the Mexico border will receive a military award reserved for troops who "encounter no foreign armed opposition or imminent hostile action."
The Pentagon has authorized troops who have deployed to the border to assist U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) since last April to receive the Armed Forces Service Medal. Details about the decision were included in a Marine Corps administrative message in response to authorization from the Defense Department.
There is no end date for the award since the operation remains ongoing.
A former sailor who was busted buying firearms with his military discount and then reselling some of them to criminals is proving to be a wealth of information for federal investigators.
Julio Pino used his iPhone to record most, if not all, of his sales, court documents said. He even went so far as to review the buyers' driver's license on camera.
It is unclear how many of Pino's customer's now face criminal charges of their own. Federal indictments generally don't provide that level of detail and Assistant U.S. Attorney William B. Jackson declined to comment.