Military life offers families a multitude of challenges, and in families where there is a family member on active duty, life offers many uncertainties. The prospect of deployment is an ever present reality, and that presents a wealth of other considerations. Military families never know whether their lives will be turned upside down in the blink of an eye. For this reason, learning how to plan for any type of potentiality is crucial, and that means that financial planning should be at the top of that list.
*Understand the importance of an emergency fund
Everyone should have some sort of emergency fund. By regularly putting money into an emergency fund, a military family should, at some point, have accumulated several months of income (preferably at least six,) that they can rely on in the event of any type of emergency. This is especially important for families where someone on active duty is going to be deployed.
The danger of deployment into a combat zone should never be minimized. It isn’t possible to know whether a loved one will return alive, return with injuries that are so extensive that they can no longer work, or return safely. Because of that uncertainty, an emergency fund can help the surviving family members make it through the months following the death of a loved one.
Although military personnel get insurance, and that insurance is quite good compared to what civilians get, it doesn’t always pay for everything. Family members won’t get the comprehensive coverage that the enlisted person will get. Dental care is not included in the basic military insurance. Retirees are able to purchase dental insurance, but it won’t cover things like braces, or the total cost of things like root canals, bridges, partials, or oral surgery.
Having a stash of money that can be used for these sorts of things is crucial. It will eliminate the need to put the cost of this care on a credit card where it will accrue interest, forcing you to pay even more than what you would have paid for the care, had you paid for it outright.
Life insurance is something that all military families should have. A life insurance policy can help pay for funeral costs, credit card debt and other things should a member of the military lose their life in combat. The military may pay a death benefit, but that won’t be enough to cover those expenses and help a family survive.
Military families should look into the Survivor Benefit Plan. It will require that a portion of pay be set aside and put into this fund, but it will allow a military family to continue getting payment from the military in the event that the family member dies. While it may not provide a family with a lot, it will be tremendously helpful.
Although the military does pay for the cost of moving when they transfer people from one military installation to another, each family will have to pay for other costs associated with a move on their own. Saving money for this possibility is a good idea. Moreover, if you are going to be transferred and know that you’re going to have to stay in a place for a while, you might even want to purchase a home. Saving in anticipation of this may mean the difference between being able to get a home and having to rent.
Military life requires that families make immense sacrifices, the greatest of which is a willingness on the part of an active duty soldier, to place their life on the line. By taking the time to plan for all sorts of uncertainties and consulting with a financial planning professional, if necessary, military families can be assured of having greater financial security and knowing that they can survive through tough times, even times that are as difficult as an economic recession.