This page is designed specifically with Service Members and their family members, DOD Civilians, and Retirees of the Armed Forces or DOD in mind! First, from one Service Member to another, thank you for your service! This is a career that I didn’t plan on having, but it’s where life led me, and I’m so glad it did. When I’m old and look back on my life, one of the greatest privileges will have been to serve with you; and also as a Physical Therapist, to have served some of you! My personal mission statement is “to serve those who serve us” and this page is a second way I do that.
My goal is to provide financial information for a unique population that often finds themselves in difficult financial situations. Often, while a paycheck in the Service is consistent, expenses are not and opportunities for saving and investing have recently changed. Whether it’s another PCS, deployment, or another kid on the way, finances tend to be tight and it’s important to have a solid source of financial information.
First, I’d like to address everyone in the service under the age of 30 – you have such a great opportunity to build wealth for your future!! One of the greatest benefits of being in the Service is the ability to save and invest using the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). This plan is similar to the 401k retirement plan on the civilian side. We’ll also cover the new Blended Retirement System, the “old” retirement system (AKA, the “Legacy” or “High Three”), the Savings Deposit Program, and other financial opportunities that are available to us.
As exciting as saving and investing is, I will also spend a lot of time focusing on some topics that I view as even more important – especially to young Service Members and their families – that is personal finance, budgeting, debt management, making smart purchases, and how to increase the amount of money you have to save! This is the most important thing!!! If you get this wrong, there won’t be money to save! So, start at the beginning of the articles as they are added and work through your financial situation. This takes time, so stick with it and be resilient (sorry to bring up resiliency training!).
We will also address a lot of common mistakes that I, and other military financial bloggers, notice Service Members making with their money. I’ll provide some real life examples of ways that Service Members waste (blow!!) their hard-earned money, get taken advantage of, miss opportunities to do well for themselves, and struggle to have and provide for a family due to financial strain.
Finally, I feel like I’m giving a brief here, but I feel it’s important to give full disclosures! While it’s true that I’m in the Service, I do not represent the DOD, the government, your chain of command, or even a financial adviser! I am a Service Member sharing credible information with other Service Members in the hopes that it will benefit you as much as it has me! Please ask questions when you don’t understand and I’ll do my best to answer or point you in the right direction to find the answer.
I’m working on getting more military-specific content on here, but in the meantime, here’s a couple of blog posts I wrote for www.the-military-guide.com on the Blended Retirement System that are highly pertinent to all Service Members right now! Best of luck with your decision to opt-in to the BRS or stay put!
Should you opt-in? Here’s an article on some key things to consider before making the choice – https://the-military-guide.com/opt-militarys-blended-retirement-system/
If you do opt-in to the BRS, here is how to make sure you get the most out of it – https://the-military-guide.com/maximize-brs-decide-opt/
Here are more great financial resources specifically for us:
http://www.militaryonesource.mil/web/mos/financial-legal – has some good options for financial counseling, etc.
https://the-military-guide.com/ – another great personal finance/investing blog for Service Members by retired Service Members