A military spouse plays a vital role in maintaining their family’s finances. When a servicemember deploys, it often falls to their spouse to make sure that the family budget is kept to and the bills are paid on time. Even when the family is all together, a military spouse has a pulse on the family’s spending and may act as the family’s main accountant. When questions arise, there are many resources available to assist spouses in navigating military finances and benefits. Unfortunately, there are also sites and companies that prey on military members and spouses by offering poor products that they don’t need or cannot afford. It is important to use vetted resources to gain more personal financial knowledge. The resources listed below provide a good starting point.
- Financial Frontline: The financial readiness program of the U.S. Army, providing financial resources to soldiers and their families. The website details various milestones that individuals might hit in their lives, including being promoted, changing duty stations, getting married or divorced, and having a child, and the financial considerations that accompany each milestone. Resources are available in the form of videos, checklists, and handouts. While sponsored by the Army, these resources are available to anyone who accesses the website.
- FINRA: Educational materials covering military money, deployment, and retirement provided by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Articles range from informational (understanding the Thrift Savings Plan) to personal (a veteran sharing his experience with fraud).
- Investor.gov: A subsite of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that offers servicemembers and their families investment advice and tips to avoid common financial scams. Individuals can learn about the Thrift Savings Plan, the importance of investing early, and tips for protecting one’s investments. This site also links out to additional resources that may be especially useful to families as they begin their investment journey.
- Military OneSource: A Department of Defense-funded website that provides information and resources about military life to military families. Military OneSource covers topics that extend beyond financial literacy and wellness, like housing, parenting, health, education, and transitioning. The site is also useful if you are looking for information about taxes or legal affairs. Military spouses are eligible to use MilTax, a free tax filing and preparation service, and to take advantage of low- or no-cost legal assistance. Services from Military OneSource are not available to those serving in the Coast Guard unless they activate as part of the Navy; it is available to Coast Guard personnel after separation or retirement, from their separation date until 365 days past the end of their tour of service.
- Coast Guard SUPRT: The Coast Guard’s version of Military OneSource. The CG SUPRT financial wellness program provides money coaching and financial consultations via telephone. Their financial professionals can provide guidance in achieving financial goals and can assist with a variety of money topics including debt, credit, and budgeting; retirement planning and investing; and taxes. Sessions with money coaches are free and confidential.
- Military Saves: An organization dedicated to encouraging military families to save money and build wealth. Military families can use this website to get advice about saving for specific goals: emergency funds, education, transition funds, or debt repayment. Those who need a little extra motivation can “take the pledge” to save and receive email and text reminders with tips and resources to help them meet their goals.
- MilSpouse Money Mission: A Department of Defense website geared toward supporting the financial literacy of military spouses, recognizing that military spouses often take the lead in managing their households’ finances. Here you will find guides for goal setting, creating a household budget, investing, and planning for retirement. There is also a section on raising financially literate children.
- Office of Financial Readiness: The Department of Defense’s official financial readiness website. It is full of military-specific resources to help families understand and achieve financial security, from descriptions of military benefits and entitlements and consumer protections to tips on saving and investing your money. The Office of Financial Readiness also provides tools to help families track their net worth and measure the potential effect of financial decisions (like purchasing a new car or home).
If you are facing financial hardship…
Each branch of service has an independent relief society that can provide financial assistance to active duty servicemembers and their families. Assistance may come in the form of a no-interest loan or grant, depending on a family’s individual needs.
- Air Force Aid Society
- Army Emergency Relief
- Coast Guard Mutual Assistance
- Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society
The American Red Cross also works with military aid societies to provide emergency financial assistance to active duty servicemembers, retirees, and their immediate family members.
If you have questions about financial planning, retirement, or military life, you may find answers in our Resource Center. Navy Mutual’s Education and Veterans Services team is also available to answer any outstanding questions you may have about financial readiness, military benefits, and retirement planning. Our representatives can be reached at 888-298-4442 or email@example.com.