There are many things that set military couples apart from civilians, but financial stressors we all share. Sure military families have different financial stressors than civilian families, but they are there nonetheless.
Here are 8 financial stressors military families face and how to overcome them.
8 Financial Stressors Military Couples Face and How to Overcome Them
Not Agreeing on How to Handle Finances
Most couples are made up of one spender and one saver. This can be great as the saver can keep the spender in check and the spender can get the saver to live a little. When a couple can’t decide together how best to handle money, financial stressors occur.
To overcome this, sit down and talk to each other. Set aside time when children are not around and there are no interruptions so that you can have a serious financial discussion. Don’t leave the table until a decision has been made.
Communication is key in a healthy relationship. If you are not being honest with yourself or your spouse about spending, more financial stressors will occur.
Do you hide shopping bags in your car until your spouse isn’t home so they don’t see how much shopping you’ve done?
Ask yourself why you feel the need to do so. Did you spend more than you should of? Are you worried they will be upset with you for this?
Not Creating a Budget
Forget financial stressors, money-conscious couples that set budgets have less stress. Knowing how much money is coming in and going out will bring relief.
Knowing that you have enough money to pay all the bills by allocating money each month will set fears aside. As a couple, decide how much money you want to save and how much you’re comfortable spending each month.
Putting Off Saving for Retirement
When you’re young and facing bills, saving for retirement might be the last thing on your mind. Savvy savers know that saving now for retirement can alleviate financial stressors. You can contact a financial planner, attend a saving for retirement seminar or do your own research.
The sooner you start saving for retirement, the better off you’ll be when the time comes.
Not Having an Emergency Savings
It is recommended to have an emergency fund with the greater of either 2 weeks’ worth of pay or $1,000. You can use an emergency fund calculator to determine the right amount that your family should save. When an unexpected event occurs that brings in a large bill, financial stressors arise. Help lower the stress by having a plan already in place.
Taking on More Debt Than You Can Handle
You and your spouse need to be realistic on what you can afford. Keeping up with the Joneses is what gets military families into trouble.
If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it.
Just because your neighbor has a new car or put in a pool does not mean that you need to do the same thing.
How many financial stressors do you need in your life?
Is trying to keep up with the social status of your neighbors or friends worth the burden?
Be realistic with your wallet. If you can’t afford the payments on a new car, maybe you don’t need such an expensive one.
Struggling with Finances on Your Own During a Deployment
When your spouse is deployed and you are unable to communicate immediately or even frequently, financial decisions are often made on your own.
It can be extremely frustrating when financial stressors arise during a deployment. You don’t have your significant other to help you make a decision and are forced to deal with it on your own.
Setting time aside before your spouse deploys to discuss what to do in this instance can help significantly.
Not Expecting a Baby to Change Your Finances Dramatically
If you don’t have children yet, you might not understand this but it is true. Children are expensive. The more you have, the more it will cost you. Having a child unexpectedly can create financial stressors if you aren’t prepared. Not everyone gets the opportunity to plan ahead for a growing family, but if you are able to plan financially for your little one, life will be a little easier.