Using Your Military Benefits to Build Your Family's Finances

by Elle Martinez, Guest Blogger

Founder/ Podcaster, Simplify & Enjoy

8.30.2016
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Articles

Having gone to school in Tidewater area of Virginia, I've had classmates, co-workers, and buddies who have made the transition from military to civilian life. 

One key to making things easier for both the service member and their families is getting finances squared away. 

While I have limited knowledge on the matter, I recently spoke to someone with both the knowledge and passion on military finances. 

Lacey Langford seen firsthand how tapping into resources can help service members and their families stabilize their finances and build some wealth.

She came on the podcast this week to highlight some benefits that may be overlooked or not properly utilized. 

Military Benefits That Can Boost Your Finances

Between obligations on base and with family, some things may slide and unfortunately finances can be one of them. 

Here are seven resources that provide tremendous value for military members and their families. 

  • Financial Counseling: Most military installations have a financial readiness office that can offer free financial counseling. This can be a huge help for those looking to start budgeting or get out of debt. Having a foundation is priceless.
  • Tax Preparation: Check with your military installation as you may be able to get your taxes prepared for free. With costs averaging $160-$270, money saved can be used to jump-start or build an emergency fund. 
  • Healthcare and Prescriptions: Once out of the service, health care costs can get expensive so it pays in many ways to make sure care and medication is properly managed.  
  • Retirement  and Savings Benefits: The traditional Thrift Saving Plan allows pre-tax dollars to be contributed towards retirement. Currently the annual contribution limit for 2016 is $18,000. If they're deployed in certain designated combat zones, they may also build up savings using the Savings Deposit Program. Soldiers can earn up to 10% on up to $10,000. Please check with the local military finance office for details. 
  • Estate Planning: We've had to create a will using an attorney and know how pricey this can be. Service members may be able to get this done along with a durable power of attorney for free. 
  • Life Insurance: If they have dependents, Service members Group Life Insurance (SGLI) is an affordable way to get coverage. No one wants to assume the worst, but having this done can give families some peace of mind. 
  • Shopping: On base, there are shopping discounts with the exchange and the commissary. Grabbing staples there can help families save quite a bit over the years. 

Thoughts on Military and Money

If you have any tips or stories about what has helped, please share! 

Could you please share this article with those you know in the military? Hopefully they can use the resources available and put themselves and their loved ones on strong financial footing. 

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