Celebrating the Nation’s Military Families

The sacrifices of military families range from the emotional to the financial, including frequent transfers, separations, stress and professional hurdles confronting military spouses.

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    Celebrating the Nation’s Military Families

    Celebrating the Nation’s Military Families

    November was declared Military Family Month in 1996 to recognize the substantial sacrifices military families make in the service of our country. These sacrifices range from the emotional to the financial, including frequent transfers, separations, stress and professional hurdles confronting military spouses.

    Additionally, many military families located throughout the country may be in more localized units and cannot avail themselves of the benefits of being near military bases (benefits range from reduced childcare costs, tax-free grocery shopping and affordable housing).  All considered, the unique financial challenges faced by military families require a different playbook when helping current or recently retired members of the military to achieve their financial freedom. Additionally

    For financial advisors, military families may not be a core client segment as a transitory lifestyle could mean fewer assets. However, they can be an ideal audience for their community outreach and pro bono efforts, even if it’s only to point them to resources that can help.  Guidance from a professional could certainly be of great worth.

    Five Financial Tips for Military Families

    1. Get financially savvy. Like many Americans, military members may not have the requisite financial education to make sound financial decisions or even know the resources available to them. One place to start is Military One Source, a financial counseling and education service provided by the Department of Defense.
    2. Create a budget. A budget is fundamental to understanding where and how money is spent, as well as providing a discipline around future spending—especially in tough financial times. It’s the foundation for building on all future financial goals, like saving for retirement, a child’s education or a down payment on a home.
    3. Leverage available resources to help find a job for a military spouse. The ability of a spouse to find a job quickly is critically important to the financial health of a military family. Start with the Spouse Education & Career Opportunities program and Military Spouse Employment Partnership, both of which are great resources to finding employment.
    4. Take advantage of the thrift savings plan. This low-cost investment plan allows military families to begin building assets for their future retirement, with contribution matches of up to 5% of pay.
    5. Protect loved ones. Active-duty members have access to inexpensive life insurance and survivor benefits that may be eligible to be transferred after a member ends his or her service. These policies can help protect family members in the event of an insured’s death.

    How Advisors Can Help

    If you wish to help military families achieve a more financially secure future, there are ways you can help.

    1. Contact the Foundation for Financial Planning. The FFP works with a number of organizations that help active military service members. Depending on the needs and circumstances, the FFP may be able to connect CFP professionals who wish to volunteer their services with these organizations.
    2. Make your own mark. Advisors can reach out to local military and veteran groups to discuss providing free financial education services.

    As a retired colonel in the United States Marine Corps Reserve, I spent much of my adult life dedicated not only to the mission, but also to advocating for our service members and their families.  If you have any questions or issues, I’m happy to help.  Feel free to call me at 631.612.8295.

    To those who serve, and for families with members actively serving, we thank you for your service, and celebrate you this month and beyond!

    Please reference disclosures: https://blog.americanportfolios.com/disclosures/

    About The Author

     

    EVP American Portfolios Holdings, Inc. & Chief Legal Counsel 
    631.439.4600, ext. 206 

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