by Lacey Langford, Guest Contributor
Managing money is hard, but when you add in military life, things get crazy. The constant transitions that come with the military lifestyle make it difficult to have consistency when it comes to money. You never know what’s going to happen next, a deployment, a school, a PCS. It’s anyone’s guess. The transitions aren’t going to go away — you have to learn how to manage money through all the changes.
As a financial coach, I see the stress and problems that come out of managing money in transition. And I wanted to do something about it. That “something” is now MilMoney Summit. An event created to help break the cycle of financial chaos that many military families face. We want MilMoney Summit to be where money is a fun, approachable topic versus one that is whispered and feared.
The first ever MilMoney Summit is being held at Fort Campbell on May 9. It’s partnered with the Road to Financial Wellness — a 50-city road trip that’s breaking the social taboo about money.
In honor of our upcoming event, I want to share five tips to manage money in transition.
5 Tips To Manage Money In Transition
Become A Goal Getter
What do you want? What are you working toward? Setting goals helps you do the things you want in life. Know what you’re trying to achieve in the long and short-term. Having set goals also enables you to make smart decisions and stay focused on what’s important to you and your spouse. They keep you on the same page.
And when life gets crazy, your goals will help you get back on track faster. Goal getting will set you up for success in life and money.
Live Off One Income
Military life makes it challenging for the military spouse to maintain employment. It can be a tricky — wanna pull your hair out situation to navigate.
Because of the uncertainty of employment, military couples should live off one income, to protect their budget.
When you have two paychecks, use the second income for saving, paying off debt and increasing your quality of life. Never be dependent on the second income to make rent or car payments.
Have A Budget Or At Least A Plan
Budgets, unfortunately, make some people’s stomach drop the moment of their mention. But they aren’t all bad. Think of a budget more as a game plan.
To help manage your financial life you need a clear picture of the money going in and coming out.
If you don’t have a firm understanding of your finances in good times, you aren’t going to understand them in bad times either.
A budget also helps keep you on pace with your goals. The secret to successful budgeting is picking a method that works for you. Some people prefer to use Excel or mobile apps and some others prefer to do it old school with a notebook and pencil. Pick what works for you.
Forward Think Employment
If you’re a military spouse, unemployment, underemployment or hate employment is the reality of your world. But that doesn’t mean you’re powerless. You can take control of your career but you have to give it thought and a whole heck of a lot of planning.
Think outside the box to control your employment.
Think about finding a job with a major company with the ability to transfer. Ask your employer about telecommuting.
What about entrepreneurship? Build a career that’s PCS proof.
Look for virtual jobs where you can work while the kids are on the playground.
Taking control of your employment helps see you through crazy transitions. Your only limit is your creativity and hustle.
Don’t Live Maxed Out
I’m not just talking maxed out credit cards here. Anytime you’re maxed out in life or money, stress and problems are going to be right there — like bees to honey!
Keeping your life simple and low stress goes a long way to help you through crazy times.
Think about it. If you have three kids in soccer and karate five nights a week, Boy Scouts once a week, you’re hosting Bunco once a month, grocery shopping, a job, volunteering, general household and family management you’re loaded down.
It’s a recipe for disaster because when you’re maxed out in life, you leave no room to move when other things pop up, like a deployment for example.
Keeping things simple helps you pivot when the transitions come.
Register today for MilMoney Summit, an inspiring and motivational event to help military families take action to improve their financial life, even with the constant moves, at https://www.milmoneysummit.com
Lacey Langford, AFC® is a financial coach, U.S. Air Force veteran and retired military spouse. She is the founder of LaceyLangford.com and Sage Services, LLC a blog and boutique financial coaching practice specializing in the unique world of military finance. She is also the co-creator of MilMoney Summit.