Sunday, May 6, 2012

You have an opportunity to do so much more: Part 2

You have an opportunity to do so much more: Part 2

By Keith Bunn Jr.

May 6, 2012

Part 2: Married soldiers

As any married couple will tell you, being married can be tough at times, but it is my opinion that being married while serving in the armed forces is even tougher. It is already a fact that money issues are the #1 cause of divorce in this country, but when you add the stress of having to move often all over the world and being separated for long periods of time, the odds of having a successful marriage drops significantly.

This topic was not as easy as I thought it was going to be. I found myself having dozens of things that I would and wouldn’t over again going through my head. So the simplest thing I came up with was to do some bullet points that I thought would help both your marriage and your finances.

·         Communication: As I stated before, money issues are the #1 reason couples get divorced, so if you and your spouse talk to each other and get on the same page about your money, that opens other doors of communication in other areas of your lives, which in turn sets a good foundation in your marriage. With all the different ways we can communicate with people today, it is more important than ever to learn how to communicate with the person beside you in life.  

·         Sacrifice: The civilian world can’t even begin to understand all the sacrifices a military family must endure, especially these days. With that said, what I’m about to suggest will seem small in comparison. You need, as a family, to learn to sacrifice some small things in order to win big in the future. Sell some stuff to help pay off debt and develop a plan to live on less than you make by trying to live on your base pay only. Service men & women who receive Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), Basic Allowance for Separations Rations (BAS), and Cost of Living Allowance (COLA), just to name a few, can find themselves dependent on those funds to live on and can later find themselves in a pinch when they get deployed somewhere and lose one or more of those allowances. Buy used vehicles instead of new. And also, rent homes instead of buying or live on post when possible. This will save you and your family a lot of headaches as well as money when you get orders to move.

·         Plan: Where do you and your spouse see yourselves 5 to 10 years down the road? You need to dream about where you want to be and plan on how to get there. There is a lot of uncertainty in the military. Making plans on what you want to do, grounds you to your family and helps you make decisions when some of that uncertainty surfaces.

·         Serve: This alone falls directly on the service men and women themselves. Serve your family with the same honor, commitment, and a sense of duty as you do serving your country. The military isn’t always a safe work environment in peace or at war, so make sure you have your affairs in order. Make sure you have a Will, make sure that your family knows exactly what needs to be done and how to do it if something were to happen to you. Don’t buy a lot of stuff with payments on it just because you were off somewhere defending us. You and your family have sacrificed enough without the extra stress of possibly going broke if something were to happen to you.

I have seen a lot of service men and women hurt themselves and their families financially because of making selfish and childish decisions and racking up debt in the process. You don’t deserve that! You have an opportunity to do so much more!!

As with all my blog and social media posts, I welcome any comments and feedback on the topics I write about. It is the only way you and I will learn more about ourselves and each other, so ask away!

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