Finance

Service members and veterans have financial benefits and resources that their civilian friends don’t.  Make sure to take advantage of these benefits. These include everything from exclusive life insurance options, to retirement benefits, to VA home loans.  You have an amazing opportunity to save money, plan for retirement, and buy a home at good rates without a down payment.

Spring Cleaning and PCS Prep: Companies That Can Help 

PCSing anytime soon? These Companies Can Help PCS season is here and with it, military families from around the US and the world are getting ready for their next move. There can be so much to do and a lot to think about when preparing for a PCS. Here is a list of companies that… Read more »

military pay charts 2022

Military Pay Charts 2022 [estimated]

The estimated Military Pay Charts for 2022.  According to federal law, military pay increases are to mirror private-sector wage growth as stated by the Employment Cost Index (ECI). According to the military pay raise formula, the military pay raise for 2022 will be 2.7%. Find out your estimated military pay for 2022 in our handy military pay charts.

Washington DC Real Estate

Washington, DC Area Real Estate Options for Veterans

Real Estate Options for the Washington, DC Area for Veterans and Military If you serve in the military long there is a chance you will be stationed in or near Washington, DC. There are many bases including Joint Base Andrews, Fort Meade, Quantico Marine Corps Base, Washington Navy Yard, and of course, the Pentagon. Veterans… Read more »

Self Employment Taxes: An Overview

Those who run their own small businesses or operate as independent contractors and gig workers, which includes Uber and Lyft drivers, personal shoppers who deliver groceries, military spouses who find traditional employment challenging, and freelance writers like me, must be aware that there are tax issues and deadlines that are different from regular, W-2 positions.

on-base housing tenant rights

New Tenant Rights for Some Military Families in On-Base Housing

New Tenant Rights for Some Military Families in On-Base Housing In mid-February, a few additions were approved for the Department of Defense’s (DoD) 2020 Military Housing Privatization Initiative Tenant Bill of Rights. This bill, signed in February of 2020 and put into effect in May, “commits the [DoD] to ensuring privatized housing tenants receive quality… Read more »

military families buying a home

Military Families: Should We Buy a Home?

Things for Military Families to Consider when Deciding Whether to Buy a Home Buying and owning a home is often more complicated for military families than civilians. Between navigating mortgage options, pinning down the best neighborhood for your family, and predicting the next PCS, there are many factors to consider. While running through the recommended… Read more »

VA Streamline Refinancing

What is VA Streamline Refinancing and How Can It Benefit You?

VA Streamline Refinancing is a different way of referring to the VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan, or VA IRRRL (pronounced “Earl”) and is an option for some homeowners who utilized a VA Loan to purchase their house.

military pay raise 2022

Military Pay Raises Likely to Be Smaller for 2022

For the last 2 years, service members have enjoyed pay raises of at least 3%.  However, it is becoming apparent that troops should not count on a similar military pay raise in 2022.

VA Loan For National Guard

VA Loan Eligibility Expanded for National Guard

The National Guard’s COVID-19 response has created some additional benefits, in the form of veteran home loans, or VA Loans. The latter was activated during the pandemic, thanks to a provision in the Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act.

live after military

Where Should Veterans Choose to Live After the Military

Deciding where to live and work after transitioning out of the military can be an overwhelming process especially if you haven’t decided which state to live in. We have put together some factors for you to consider. Setting yourself up to make sure your money goes further and living in a state that has veteran employment programs as well as companies willing to hire veterans will help the transition from military life to civilian life.

payback deadline for deferred social security tax extended

Payback Deadline for Deferred Social Security Tax Extended

Payback Deadline for Deferred Social Security Tax Extended With the passing of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 just last week, the major change affecting service members, federal employees, and their families is the extension for repayment of deferred payroll taxes. Effective September 1, 2020, through a presidential order, military and federal employees’ paychecks presented… Read more »

military financial preparation

Military Financial Preparation: An Introduction

When first joining the military understanding your military pay factors, military benefits that can save you money, and tricks to reduce spending is crucial for financial planning. Understanding your finances from the start and developing a healthy cost-saving mindset can help you throughout your military career. Here’s a quick intro to financial preparation for the military.

Military Payroll Tax Deferral

Military Impact of Payroll Tax Deferral

President Trump signed a memo last month to allow employers to defer payment of employee-side social security payroll taxes, to provide relief to workers during the coronavirus pandemic. Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions.

veterans group life insurance

VGLI: Veterans’ Group Life Insurance Overview

VGLI Veterans’ Group Life Insurance What Is VGLI Coverage? VGLI is short for Veterans’ Group Life Insurance.  It’s a renewable term life insurance policy the VA offers recently separated Servicemembers and Veterans. It allows you to continue the life insurance coverage you had in uniform under the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) program. Unlike most… Read more »

Blended Retirement System Updates

Blended Retirement: BRS Round 2

Blended Retirement: Round 2 On June 23rd, 2020, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, introduced the Re-Open Enrollment for Servicemembers to Opt-In to Updated Retirement Choice for Enduring Security (RESOURCES) Act of 2020, which “would promote financial security for military families by improving financial training,” according to a… Read more »

Life insurance for military

Does Your Life Insurance Match Your Life?

Make Sure Your Life Insurance Matches You and Your Family’s Needs? Though money can’t begin to fill the void caused by a death in a family, making sure the financial needs of your loved ones will be met, even in the worst case scenario, will give you peace of mind.  When you join the military,… Read more »

Buying a Home Remotely

Buying a Home Remotely

Buying a Home Remotely The military life makes people resilient, up to any challenge. They’ll go off to war for a year, let the whims of fate send them to their next installation—they’ll even buy a house sight unseen. It’s old news that mortgage rates are lower than rental rates these days. A military family… Read more »

organized during pcs

Staying Organized During a PCS

Staying Organized During a PCS Moving can be an exciting and stressful time for military families, that is why it is important to stay organized during your PCS. Each PCS is different, and a little planning can go a long way in making your transition to a new home easier. Research Research while you wait… Read more »

purchasing a home

Preparing to Purchase a Home

Preparing to Purchase a Home For many people, buying a home will be the biggest money-decision they make in their lives. Some families save for years to feel fully prepared for the big leap while others dive into a 15 or 30-year mortgage without making a game plan. No matter if you’re in the market… Read more »

personal finance tips

Personal Finance Face-Off: Dave Ramsey v. FIRE

Choosing Dave Ramsey or FIRE – Personal Financial Management in the Military Dave Ramsey and his counterpart Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE) are two big names in personal finance. Both offer great advice on how to save your money and live comfortably in your later years, but as a service member how do you know… Read more »

borrow more than home worth

VA Loan: Can You Borrow More Than Your House is Worth?

Can You Borrow More Than Your House is Worth With a VA Loan? Let’s say you want to buy a $250,000 home. You qualify for a VA loan and know that it will be a $0-down mortgage. The problem is, you want to replace all of the kitchen appliances, and that carpet in the master… Read more »

VA Loans

What Do You Need to Know About VA Loans?

What Do You Need to Know About VA Loans? By: Justin Fisher Homeownership remains at the heart of the American Dream. That is especially true for Veterans and the military community, who continue to own homes in greater numbers than their civilian counterparts. To assist Veterans and Service Members in purchasing a home, the Department… Read more »

ways to improve your credit score

Ways to Improve Your Credit Score

Improve Your Credit Score Lenders use your credit score to evaluate your credit risk and estimate how likely it is that you will pay them back on time. If your credit score isn’t high enough, you won’t be able to utilize any of the benefits that come with it such as receiving loans, credit cards,… Read more »

Veterans Economic Recovery Act

Veterans Economic Recovery Act Bill Introduced

New Legislation for Veterans Economic Recovery Introduced In an effort to get veterans and their spouses back to work so they can provide for themselves and their families, top Veterans Affairs lawmakers on Capitol Hill (Phil Roe, R-Tenn., Senate Veterans Affairs Chairman Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, Senate ranking member Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Rep. Mike Levin,… Read more »

ownership deployments

Take Ownership of Deployments

Deployments are a fact of life for military families. Deployments can mean missing birthdays, holidays, and special occasions with your military member. However, they can also be a time of growth and opportunity to achieve personal and professional goals. A deployment might just be the perfect time to accomplish them.

Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance

Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance (S-DVI) Overview

Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance (S-DVI) is a Veterans’ Affairs insurance program that offers low-cost coverage to eligible service members. It is available to veterans who have service-connected disabilities. The basic coverage amount is up to $10,000. Can you apply? You can apply for S-DVI if all of the following conditions are true. You:… Read more »

Veteran’s Mortgage Life (VMLI)

Veterans’ Mortgage Life (VMLI) Overview

Veterans’ Mortgage Life (VMLI) If you have a service-connected disability that the VA concluded was caused or made worse by your service, you may be eligible for a Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI) policy. In the event of your death, this insurance can help your family pay off the home mortgage that has been adapted… Read more »

blended retirement system

Blended Retirement System (BRS): An Overview

The Blended Retirement System (BRS) is the new military retirement system. It went in to effect in 2018. The new system blends the traditional legacy retirement pension with a defined contribution benefit that is applied to the service member’s Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) account. It is one of the most significant changes to the compensation system since World War Two.

thrift savings plan

Thrift Savings Plan (TSP): Everything You Need to Know

The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is a retirement savings and investment plan for federal employees. The plan is also available for members of the uniformed services, including the Ready Reserve. The Thrift Savings Plan was established by Congress in the Federal Employees’ Retirement System Act of 1986.  The TSP offers the same type of savings… Read more »

maximize tsp

Maximize Your TSP Retirement Fund

Maximizing Your Thrift Savings Plan Retirement Fund All government employees are uniquely positioned to set themselves up for a great retirement. How? Through the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). The TSP offers the same type of savings and tax benefits that many private corporations provide their employees under their 401-K plans. (Learn the full ins and… Read more »

new tsp options

Service Members Now Have More Options to Invest in TSP

Service Members Now Have More Options to Invest in TSP The Thrift Savings Plan will retire one fund and add six new funds on July 1st. The six new TSP options consist of L Funds or lifecycle funds which are crafted to allow investors to balance returns and risk on their TSP portfolio of holdings…. Read more »

taxes military

Basic Training for Taxes for Military

Taxes are due on April 15, 2021, though if you’re serving in a combat zone, you have additional time to file. Whether you have one month or several before your deadline, taking these steps can help you make sure you don’t overpay.

PCS checklist

PCS Checklist

Checklist for PCS Moves For most military families, moving becomes second nature. From the pack-outs to the paperwork, it can be a very stressful time for everyone involved. A Permanent Change of Station (PCS) is a good way to get organized quickly and force yourself to get rid of that old lawn mower that has… Read more »

best personal budget plans

Top Personal Budget Plans

Top Personal Budget Plans Monthly budgeting can be a tedious task, but acknowledging that there’s no one perfect way of doing it leaves room for comfort. There are countless ways to control personal finances, depending on income bracket, amount of debt you’re in, desire for control over your finances, or simply personal preference. If you’re… Read more »

housing grants disabled veterans

VA Adapted Housing Grants: An Overview

VA Adapted Housing Grants: An Introduction Our military community is amazing! They are frequently away from home, missing anniversaries and birthdays, to answer the call of the nation. Many honorable men and women have sacrificed their lives in the service of our country. Many others have suffered and become disabled as a result of their… Read more »

CARES Act and VA Loan

CARES Act and What It Means For Your VA Loan

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law to address the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the U.S. economy by “providing fast and direct economic assistance for American workers and families.” For most Americans, this included stimulus checks, additional unemployment payments, tax-filing extensions and insurance coverage of virus-related treatments. But for service members and veterans with a VA home loan, there are some additional benefits the CARES Act provides.

common money mistakes military

All-Too-Common Money Mistakes of the Military Family

Common Money Mistakes of the Military Family According to the 2019 Military Financial Readiness Survey, more than one-third of enlisted military members do not pay their bills on time and almost half say they had to find additional ways to supplement their income. Worries surrounding meeting personal finance goals are further heightened when taking into… Read more »

DIY Home Improvements

DIY Home Improvements to Increase Home Value

Three DIY Home Improvements for Home Resale PCS season is just around the corner. Many military families are once again facing decisions about renting or buying a new home. Selling a home requires understanding that a house is a product. DIY home improvements are excellent ways to pass the time since we are all staying… Read more »

Avoid Scams Targeting the Military

How to Avoid Scams Targeting Veterans and Military

How Military and Veterans Can Protect Themselves From Scams Scammers are coming out of the woodwork these days, and they’re getting more sophisticated. If you’re in the military, or a veteran, they want to get their hands on your government benefits. According to a recent AARP study, nearly 80% of veterans reported being targeted by… Read more »

IDT travel reimbursement

IDT Travel Reimbursement For Guard and Reserves

IDT Travel Reimbursement and Tax Deduction for National Guard and Reserves For soldiers in the Reserves and National Guard, the cost of traveling to and from Inactive Duty Training (IDT) every month can add up. Many live long distance from where their unit is located, some even traveling by plane for drill. It is not… Read more »

pcs pay entitlements

PCS Pay Entitlements

PCS Pay Entitlements In the United States Armed Forces, a permanent change of station (PCS) is the assignment, detail, or transfer of a member or unit to a different duty station under competent orders which neither specify the duty as temporary, nor provide for further assignment to a new station, nor direct return to the… Read more »

Overseas PCS

Overseas PCS: Things Not to Forget When PCS’ing

Less Obvious But Still Essential Overseas PCS Tips There is a lot of advice out there on what to pack and how to prepare for your Permanent Change of Station (PCS) overseas. Starting with deciding what to ship across the world and what to keep back, and ending with your final check list the night… Read more »

budgeting for military families

3 Basics of Budgeting for Military Families

Basics of Budgeting For First-Time Budgeters Have you ever wondered where all your monthly income went? We work hard every week and can’t seem to save anything or invest in our future. Many of us don’t have a budget nor do we record where our money is going. Simply put, the nexus of our decision… Read more »

VA Loan Right For You

Is a VA Loan Right for You?

How to Determine if a VA Loan is Right for You? VA loans are mortgage loans that are readily available for service members, veterans, and eligible surviving spouses. These loans are supported by the federal government and are provided by private lenders such as banks and mortgage companies. The VA guarantees a portion of the… Read more »

DFAS myPay

DFAS myPay: Help Getting Started

DFAS myPay The United States Military works hard to ensure that the individuals that make up its branches are provided for in all areas of life such as housing, healthcare, and finances. The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) is an agency of the United States Department of Defense (DOD), headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. DFAS… Read more »

VA Loan Best Practices

Best Practices For the VA Loan Process

VA Loan Best Practices If you are an active service member, spouse, or dependent, the chances are great that you have heard of VA Loans. You may have even looked into them or read about them somewhere on the internet. A few weeks ago, we published an article explaining why you should consider using this… Read more »

oconus move

Preparation for an OCONUS Move

OCONUS Move: Some Helpful Tips Some of the moves that families experience are within the same state or just a few hundred miles away. For other service members, the move could be across the United States or outside the continental U.S. (OCONUS). Knowing what to expect and how to prepare is a game changer in… Read more »

best budget apps military

Best Budget Apps for the Military

Long term planning goes hand in hand with military service. Enlistments and re-enlistments are for years at a time. Military members are always looking to the next inspection, the next physical training test, the next test to rise in rank. Just like some of their civilian counterparts, however, most don’t enjoy planning ahead with money…. Read more »

Financial Steps Early Military

Financial Steps to Take Early In Your Military Career

Set Yourself Up for Financial Success Early in Your Military Career If you are a young or new service member, not only do you have your whole career in front of you, you also have the benefit of having time on your side. It’s important to make smart financial moves now that you’re young, while… Read more »