If you’ve been reading this site for a while, you know that I make a point of highlighting products and services that can help military families, veterans and their loved ones. This is because, like you, I have a huge amount of respect for our service people and I want to make sure that they are taken care of.
You can understand then how concerned I get when I read articles like this one from the UNC Health Care site. The idea that so many veterans are likely to become homeless because they don’t know how to manage their money horrifies me—almost as much as the fact that there are so many veterans and service people out there who have no idea what to do with their money when they are out of the service.
So! I thought I would put a post together to help any of the service people (or people who love them) who might be having trouble readjusting to managing their money as civilians.
Take Advantage of the Help Being Offered to You
Don’t let your sense of military pride keep you from taking advantage of the deals that are offered to you. You put your life on the line to serve our country. The veterans programs (government and independently run) are our way of trying to give to you what you’ve given to us. For example, companies like Lowvarates.com are set up to help military families buy homes using VA loans, without forcing you to have to pay a visit to your local benefits office.
Saving For Later Is Important
Military pensions don’t go as far as they used to (sadly). This means that you’re going to need to put money away on your own. Get a savings account if you don’t already have one and set up an automatic transfer. The amount of your transfer right now doesn’t matter—even $20 a month is better than nothing. What’s important is that you learn how to not spend everything as it comes in.
IMPORTANT: Do not link your savings account to your ATM or debit card. Set up the account so that it requires you to, at the very least, call the bank and arrange a transfer to be able to access the funds contained within it.
Coupons Are Cool Now
In fact, there is even extreme couponing. Saving money is the “in” thing to do so don’t let your pride keep you from scouring the paper, the weekly mailers or even the internet to find the deals you need. It is important, though, that you not get so caught up in it that everything starts to look like a great deal. Learn how coupons work and how to use them responsibly.
There are a bunch of different programs out there designed to help veterans with any number of things. There are programs to help you transition from service life to civilian life. There are programs that will help you learn how to deal with your finances, go back to school, find a job, deal with PTSD, get healthy, etc. You can get lists of them at your local VA office. You might also try checking with your local library or community center to see if there are any independent courses you can take or groups you can join to help learn how to be successful as a civilian.