5 Common Financial Challenges Of Military Families – And How To Deal With Each

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Financial challenges happen to anyone. Regardless of where you are or your profession, you will always encounter issues in your financial life.

financial challenges

If you are a member of the military, your financial situation is bound to be unique. This is mostly caused by the frequency by which your family will be required to move. Even your own deployment overseas will make things more difficult.

financial challenges

Being a member of a military family is stressful enough. To make it bearable, you may want to keep your financial issues under control.

avoid financial challenges

Here are 5 financial challenges that military families usually go to – and how you can solve them.

Financial challenge 1: Managing finances while deployed overseas.

Despite the fact that online banking made financial transactions easier, it is still challenging for a military personnel especially when they are deployed overseas. There are security measures that might get in the way. Some financial institutions have put up these barriers to control incidents of fraud. When you are overseas and in a hostile place, your location might make logging in quite difficult. If you cannot access your account how can you manage your money?

financial challenges money management

What you can do about it…

Choose the right financial institution and automate.

There are military banks that have addressed this issue about online banking overseas. Choose these banks so you will not have a hard time managing your account while deployed to another country. Not only that, you have to automate important contributions. On top of the list is your retirement contributions. That way, you do not have to worry about missing out on a contribution or a payment while you are deployed.

financial challenges retirement planning

Know your combat-zone perks.

There are benefits that you can avail when you are on active duty – specifically when you are deployed in a combat zone. For instance, you can get tax exclusions on your Roth Thrift Savings Plan. If you are eligible, you will not be taxed for your earning. This is a great way to maximize your contributions since you are getting pre-taxed money and it will never be taxed.

financial challenges combat zone perks

Financial challenge 2: Moving all the time.

Military families move all the time. When a service member is deployed elsewhere, the whole family usually makes the move together. The thing is, the cost of living is usually different between states. If your family came from the Midwest and suddenly moved to Washington D.C., you might be surprised at how much your monthly expenses will rise.

financial challenges moving

What you can do about it…

Postpone buying a home.

If you know that your family will move all the time, postpone homebuying for now. The only time that you should consider buying a house is if you are sure that you will stay there for 5 years or more. Either that, or the family will not move with you or your spouse when deployed elsewhere. If that is not something that you can do, then just be content to rent for now.

financial challenges buying a house

Always have a moving fund.

Since you will do it all the time, it is best to have a moving fund ready. After you have done it a couple of times, you should have an idea about the expenses that you will usually incur. It is best to have this ready. While every move will require a different amount, it pays to have this fund ready. If anything, this can be part of your emergency fund too.

financial challenges moving fund

Financial challenge 3: Getting a military spouse career.

It is hard for a military spouse to get a career. The frequent moving makes it tough to hold a job. Most of the time, military spouses are forced to take on short-term jobs or just stay at home to take care of the kids and the household. While there is nothing wrong with that, some people need a career to feel fulfilled or productive. Not only that, a two-income household is better than one – at least when it comes to reaching financial goals.

financial challenges career for spouse

What you can do about it…

Create a budget for a single-income household.

If a military spouse finds it hard to hold down a job, it is best for them to create a household budget based on a one-income family. You can use a frugal budget to help you fit everything under one income. Of course, that does not mean you and your spouse will not try to earn from another career. But anything that is earned by the military spouse can be used on other things like saving goals or investments.

financial challenges single income budget

Work online.

If you or your spouse is having a hard time getting work because of the frequent relocation of military families, then you can simply opt to work online. There are so many freelancing jobs that you can do and the best part about it is, you can work on them regardless of where you are. Some companies also accept employees with a preference for working remotely. Check out companies that allow this type of work so you or your spouse do not have to keep on changing jobs whenever you move.

financial challenges work online

Financial challenge 4: Finding the right financial advice.

Sometimes, it is also difficult for military families to get the financial advice that suits their specific money issues. Those in the military are actually targeted by scammers and malicious minded individuals. This is also true for veterans. Most of the time, their limited finances are compromised by financial products and offers that are “too good to be true.”

financial challenges getting advice

What you can do about it…

Educate yourself.

Obviously, you would not seek financial advice if you know what you are doing. However, that does not mean you should rely on that advice alone. It is very important for you to improve what you know about your finances and how to manage it. This will help you filter the information and advice that you will get. Start by knowing your financial situation. You do not have to understand it yet. Just make sure that you know your numbers. As you are studying your finances, jot down questions that you may have. You can search for answers online as you analyze your finances or you can do that later on. The former is preferable. Soon, you will find yourself getting a clearer picture of your financial position.

financial challenges getting education

Find a mentor or role model.

This can be a famous person that already acquired your financial goals or someone close to you that you admire and respect. For the former, you can read about how they became a financial success. For the latter, you can talk to them and ask them how they got to where they are. They may have habits that they can share with you – something that you can emulate.

financial challenges finding a mentor

Financial challenge 5: Becoming a civilian.

The life of a military service member is so different from that of a civilian. Most people cannot live on their military pension alone. This is why you need to consider your financial situation after retiring from service. Not only that, the transition can be stressful, not just financially, but also, emotionally and mentally.

financial challenges civilian life

What you can do about it…

Know the military assistance programs available.

There are various programs that will help you transition into a civilian member of society. These programs involve seminars and trainings that will help you adjust to your new life. Usually, these are offered free to veterans.

financial challenges military assistance

Learn how to manage your money like a civilian.

Since you will be living a new lifestyle, it is best for you to learn how to budget your money like a civilian. In the past, a military service member is given a lot of perks because of their unique lifestyle. Now, there is no more excuse. You have to learn how to manage your money like a civilian – paying your bills on time, contributing to a new retirement plan, etc. Make sure you learn how to save and budget your finances so you can protect your future and that of your family.

financial challenges civilian money management

Are you going through these financial challenges as a military family?