Drive. Ambition. Tenacity. There were a number of factors that led you to creating your own business and becoming a military spouse entrepreneur.
Many milspouses launch their own entities as a solution to a unique challenge they face. Between frequent PCS moves, different certification requirements among states and countries, unemployment, and underemployment, military spouses are go-getters who decided to take the reins!
When I first launched my LLC, I was clueless for lack of a better word. I didn’t understand taxes, annual fees, insurance, or business bank accounts. I tested out different invoice systems, and used UpWork and Fiverr to outsource certain tasks. I created my social media pages, printed some business cards, built my landing page, and was ready to roll!
What I didn’t have was a plan for my net earnings. Obviously, some would be reinvested into the business, but what did I want to consider as payroll, and what did I want to save?
Have a Plan for Your Money
Do you remember what you did with the earnings after your first sale or client? Did you celebrate? Did you buy something for yourself? Did you reinvest it back into your business? Truth be told, years ago when I was first paid $10 for a blog post, I converted it to a celebratory bottle of wine!
Your business may involve acquiring merchandise, brick and mortar monthly rent, accounting fees, and necessary supplies, among other things. No matter what industry you’re in, as long as you have a positive cash flow and solid net profits, you should practice thoughtful money habits.
Consider these options for your earnings:
- If you have consistent earnings, set up automatic transfers to a separate, personal account, such as a savings or a money market account that is FDIC insured.
- Establish a retirement account for yourself. You can open your own Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or brokerage account, or purchase mutual funds or a Certificate of Deposit (CD).
- Apply for term life insurance for yourself. Sure, your active duty spouse may have his or hers while in the military, but it’s not a bad idea to start your own. The younger you start, the lower your premiums are.
- Put money aside for your kids’ future through a 529 college account, a Uniform Gift to Minors Account (UGMA), or a Uniform Transfer to Minors Account (UTMA).
- Feed an emergency fund for your military family. Aim for a certain dollar amount or a certain percentage of your household earnings “just in case,” so that you can borrow from yourself and not incur debt during an emergency.
- Consider a fun money account. You can open several savings accounts and give them specific names. For example, you could have a “Vacation Fund” or “Fun Money” so that the capital is handy when you’re ready to take a break and pamper yourself. We know that entrepreneurs can work around the clock with few breaks, so when you’re ready to take one, you’ll have money earmarked!
Make a Pledge to Yourself and Check Out Military Saves Month
April is Military Saves Month, an annual free, virtual event where hundreds of organizations come together to encourage the military community to do a financial wellness check in. It’s hosted by Military Saves, a participant in the Department of Defense’s Financial Readiness Network. Our research-based program is coordinated by the nonprofit organization, Consumer Federation of America.
Over the course of a month, we’ll cover money-related topics from a relatable, down-to-earth, positive perspective. Savers will end the month with tools, resources, and clarity on their current financial situation, new savings goals, and a realistic plan to achieve them.
We’ll focus on the tangible and intangible ways we can set ourselves up for success as military spouse entrepreneurs when it comes to money, spending habits, and saving.
In addition to this wealth of information, Military Saves Month participants have the chance to win $500 during our #ImSavingFor Sweepstakes! What a perfect way to jump-start your business!
As you count down to our event, we encourage you to take the Military Saves Pledge. Once you make a promise to yourself to embark on your financial journey, you’ll join a community of #MilitarySavers and can look to Military Saves for accountability. We’ll keep you on track with emails, text reminders, free resources, and tips to help you realize your financial goals.
Whether you’re just starting your business or you’re a seasoned entrepreneur, we encourage you to be a part of the conversation. Visit us at militarysaves.org for more information.