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John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
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6 Budget Management Tips for Military Families

November 11, 2015 12:54 am

As we honor our military heroes, we are reminded of the many sacrifices service members and their families make to protect our nation – at home and on the front lines.

“Military families do an amazing service for this country,” says American Bankers Association (ABA) President and CEO Frank Keating. “The nature of their jobs is inherently stressful – but financial stress shouldn’t be part of it.”

Servicemembers and their families can pave the way to a strong financial future by taking steps to cement their finances. The ABA advises:

Meeting with Your Banker before Active Duty

The Servicemember Civil Relief Act offers all military personnel entering active duty a variety of financial protections. The SCRA covers issues ranging from interest rate reductions to limits on debt accrual. Ask your banker about the key provisions of this law and how it can help you. 

Considering Housing Options

Frequent relocations and deployments can make owning a home challenging and expensive. Renting may be a smart option for short-term assignments. Decide what’s best for your family and your finances.

Planning for Deployment

Before deploying, have a conversation with your family about managing the household budget. Consider granting power of attorney to your spouse should they need to make any urgent financial decisions while you are gone. Check with your bank to see if they have pre-printed forms you can use for bank accounts. Military personnel also receive additional funds while deployed, so decide on the best use for that extra cash.

Budgeting for a Single-Income Household

Frequent moves are an inevitable part of military life and can make it difficult for spouses to establish stable careers. As a precaution, make plans to operate on a single-income household budget. That way, should your spouse’s employment status change, your family will be prepared.

Setting Up Automatic Bill Pay

Whether you’re stationed stateside or overseas, automatic bill pay will give you and your family one less thing to worry about each month. It can be particularly helpful during deployments in regions where Internet access is unreliable and mobile banking isn’t an option.

Contributing to a Thrift Savings Plan

Military members have access to the Federal Thrift Savings Program, which offers the lowest-cost retirement-savings plan available. Have automatic contributions withdrawn from your paycheck.

Source: ABA.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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The Financial Challenges Faced by Veterans

November 11, 2015 12:54 am

Active members of the military, veterans, and their families are routinely facing complex challenges in their daily lives. Among the matters that weigh heavy on servicemembers and their families are debt management and savings, which are common challenges for civilians, as well. Among the aspects of military life that pose challenges to personal financial management:

Frequent Relocation – With each move, military families are presented with new housing choices and a different local economy to consider. Length of time at a duty station, employment options for spouses, and cost of living are all factors that can have a significant impact on household budgets and savings plans.

Employment for Military Spouses – A single income is often not enough to make ends meet; however, the changing local economy and the cycle of relocation make it nearly impossible for spouses to maintain steady employment. Carefully planning a budget to operate on a single income when necessary is the key to balance income and expenses while avoiding unnecessary reliance on debt.

Deployment – Deployed members of the military are protected from a pileup of interest and fees on existing debts through the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act (SSCRA, also known as the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act or SCRA). Although this protection can cap annual interest rates at 6 percent during deployment, it only applies to debt incurred before beginning active duty and requires a written request for relief to the lender. Responsible debt management that prevents further balance increases is an important consideration for deployed servicemembers and their families on the home front.

Transition to Civilian Life – Employers are encouraged to hire military veterans for a number of good reasons. Former servicemembers are among the best trained and most highly skilled employees available in today’s workforce. With all of the advantages of a distinguished military record, there can still be a few bumps along the way during the move from active duty to civilian life. Changes in salary and housing expenses can pose their own challenges that may require some reliable advice from objective sources.

“The men and women who serve our country as members of the military are faced with unique circumstances that can impact the financial choices they make,” says National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) President and CEO Susan C. Keating. “Our network of member agencies is proud to provide professional resources to guide military members and their families through financial matters throughout all stages of military life.”

Source: NFCC

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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