It’s an unpleasant thought, but a financial crisis could strike when you least expect it, so you’ll want to be prepared. Protect yourself by setting up a cash reserve so you have funds available in the event you’re confronted with an unexpected expense. Otherwise you may need to use money that you have earmarked for another purpose–such as a down payment on a home–or go into debt.
Access to technology is a major advantage that benefits military families for helping manage finances.
These days, there’s virtually an app or a program for everything, and that includes financial basics. Do your homework and find out which ones could be the most helpful to you. Do you need alerts to remind you to pay bills on time? Do you need help organizing your finances? Are you looking for a program that allows you to examine your bank, credit card, investment, and loan account activities all at once?
While establishing goals for 2017, military members have critical decisions to make this year that could have huge implications to retirement planning and savings. Military retirement reform became law in November 2015 and takes effect officially on Jan. 1, 2018.
How does the new law impact military members?
The new law creates big changes for how retirement compensation is structured.
As a military member, you may already have a basic plan laid out for your future. You may be planning to start a family, purchase a home, or shop for a new vehicle. Either way, the best financial plans start with a big picture. With 2017 already in full swing, take the time to reflect on your specific goals, outside of how much they may cost or how limited you may feel your resources are.
If you are like most military families, you might be feeling the pressure to keep up with bills and expenses. With a limited income, a budget helps you stay on track with your financesThere are several steps you’ll need to take to establish a budget.
Like dandelions in a spring lawn, credit card offers pop up everywhere–stuffing your mailbox, flashing on the Internet, even falling from the magazines in your doctor’s waiting room. And they all sound so attractive. “0% APR until next year!” “No fee if you transfer a balance now!” “Low fixed rate!” You’re thinking of applying for a card, but how do you decide which offer is best for you?
It’s hard to imagine functioning in today’s society without access to credit. As a member of the military, you may be enticed to use credit to purchase the things you want while on a limited military salary. However, be careful not to fall victim to some of the pitfalls associated with credit card use.
If you are self-employed, you may be able to deduct the ordinary and necessary expenses of traveling away from home for your business. If you are an employee and incur unreimbursed travel expenses while traveling from your “tax home,” these expenses are deductible as miscellaneous expenses subject to the 2 percent of adjusted gross income floor (if you itemize your deductions on a Schedule A). These expenses can include the cost of transportation, lodging, and/or meals.
Most military families are on a limited budget these days. Often families are living in communities where a household is normally supported with a duel income (husband and wife have steady full-time employment). Military spouses often find it difficult to land good employment in the communities where they are stationed. No matter how tightly you try to control your spending or how strictly you follow your spending plan, the temptation to overspend is of increasing concern for many young families. At some point you are likely to wonder how you can cut costs.
If you’re unable to meet your financial obligations, you have options. Which option or options you choose will depend on how severe your financial problems are and what resources you have. You should, however, act now. Delaying action could lead to further difficulties, including potential damage to your credit history, or even the possible loss of your home.