NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Military personnel have enough on their minds without having to worry about money. But just like the civilian population, military members have to set budgets, pay bills, save for new homes and retirement and set aside money for life insurance.
But military members really do operate differently. As a December 2013 study by Finra's Investor Education Foundation says:
Being in the military also involves unique circumstances and stresses that can make financial management even more difficult: deployments, frequent changes of station and prolonged separation from immediate family. Military personnel must also be vigilant about their credit ratings in order to preserve their security clearances. On top of these stresses, postwar force reductions may limit future military career opportunities for some service members.
The burden of dealing with finances while on active duty falls even harder on younger military personnel. Many enter the service while in their teens, and without a great deal of financial savvy under their belts. But there is help out there.
Michael Meese, a retired brigadier general with the U.S. Army and chief operating officer at AAFMAA, a nonprofit that provides military members and their families nationwide with financial planning solutions, has a few tips for younger military members.
"Give yourself a budget," he says. "Make sure to set aside a portion of your pay each month for necessities, and also a portion to put into savings. Avoid spending more than the money left over on unnecessary items."
Meese also advocates being aware of resources available to young service members. "There are a variety of military benefits and discounts that should be taken advantage of. For example, most military bases have trained financial counselors to help with money management, and there are discounts on necessities such as cellphone plans and car insurance."