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.

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

Take Ownership of Deployments Deployments are a fact of life for military families. They mean rearranging your family dynamic to accommodate a new, but temporary, way of life. 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… Read more »

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) was created with the Fiscal Year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act. What is the Blended Retirement System (BRS)? The Blended Retirement System, or BRS, is a new military retirement system. The new system blends the traditional legacy retirement pension with a defined contribution benefit. This benefit is applied to the… Read more »

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

Basic Training for Tax Time for Military Taxes are due on July 15, 2020, 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. Earned Income Tax Credits See if… Read more »

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

Key Points for CARES Act and Your VA Loan The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law by President Trump on March 27, 2020. Its purpose is 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… Read more »

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 Although occurring in slow motion this year, PCS season is upon us. 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… 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 »

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 »

best states veterans

10 Best States for Veterans

10 Best States for Veterans Deciding where you want to move is one of the many decisions made when planning your transition out of the military. After being told where to move from duty station to duty station, you now have the choice of where you want to move and there may be many places… Read more »

financial tips for enlisted service members

Financial Tips For Enlisted Service Members

More than the GI Bill: College Bound, Service Member Financial Tips With a little planning you can stretch the GI Bill into a graduate degree.  Here are a few tips that should help you create a five-year plan to get you through one enlistment and in to college.  There are tips spanning those looking to… Read more »

PCS Move Overhaul 2021

PCS Move Overhaul Underway for 2021

Big Changes Ahead for Next Year’s PCS Moves LATEST UPDATE: USTRANSCOM Revokes Contract On April 30, 2020, the US Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) announced the award of a $7.2 billion contract to the American Roll-On Roll-Off Carrier Group (ARC), which is based out of Parsippany, New Jersey and provides global logistics and shipping support to the… Read more »

SSI and VA Beneficiaries Have Until May 5 to File Taxes

Deadline For Some SSI & VA Beneficiaries with Kids is May 5

ATTENTION: SSI and VA beneficiaries You may be eligible to receive an additional $500 per dependent. If you are a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Veteran Affairs (VA) beneficiary with dependent children and you have NOT filed your taxes for 2018 or 2019, then you may need to read this. If those conditions apply to… Read more »

Deployment Financial Planning

Financial Planning For Your Next Deployment

Deploying?  3 Tips to Get Your Financial House In Order An overseas deployment rotation is a reality that most service member experience in their careers. However, over the last two decades, there has been an increased requirement of the United States military in areas around the world. In the past, most of this burden would… Read more »

COVID19 Stimulus Check

Best Ways to Use Your Covid-19 Stimulus Money

Covid-19 Stimulus Check Investment Opportunities Thanks to the Coronavirus Aide, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act millions of Americans will be receiving stimulus checks throughout April. A single taxpayer will receive $1,200, a married couple filing jointly will receive $2,400, and each qualifying dependent will add $500 to the check. Quick math will show a… Read more »

The VA Loan

The VA Loan, A Military Benefit You Should Use

The VA Loan, A Military Benefit You Should Use As a service member or veteran, you have a very important benefit you can use to help your family, the VA loan. The VA Home Loan program has been available for more than 75 years now. And can be a good way to get into a… Read more »

veterans benefits banking program

New Veterans Benefits Banking Program

The New Veterans Benefits Banking Program Detailed As of December 20, 2019, the VA has a new program to help veterans receive better access to banking. Through the Veterans Benefits Banking Program (VBBP), the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Association of Military Banks of America (AMBA) are working to offer veterans and service members… Read more »

help military families covid19

Help For Military Families During COVID-19 Pandemic

Organizations Supporting Military, Veterans and Their Families During The COVID-19 Pandemic During this time, many military families might be struggling either emotionally or financially. A spouse might have lost their job, they might need to spend more money on childcare, and regular resources could be limited. The good news is that there are different programs… Read more »

National Guard and Reserves Benefits

Big Boosts for the National Guard and Reserves

There is a possible change coming for members of the National Guard and the Reserves. Elected officials want to ensure that even part-time service members are receiving full credit for the work that they do. In February, a group of both Republican and Democratic senators introduced a measure that would do just that. Called, the… Read more »

no more VA loan limits

No More VA Loan Limits In 2020

Starting on January 1st, 2020, there will be changes to the VA loan limits. Because of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, VA loan limits will be eliminated and VA loan fees will rise. This new law was signed into law by President Trump earlier this year. This bill has been a… Read more »

military shopping

3 Million to Gain Access To Military Shopping

According to an article by Military Times, 3 million more people will gain access to military shopping in 2020. These new customers will be able to shop at the Commissary and the Exchange.  In addition, they will have access to some MWR programs. ** For latest updates, go here. When Will They Gain Access This… Read more »

Best PCS Tips

Best PCS Tips For Military Families

Tips For Military Families Set to PCS Summer means PCS season for military families. While you might not be moving this year, you probably know plenty of people who are, and your own PCS could be coming up soon too. PCSing can be a stressful time. You have to move your home, your kids, your… Read more »

SCRA

SCRA and MLA: How They Can Help You Financially

Have you ever been frustrated about your credit situation? You may have joined the military, hoping to get ahead, but you still have some debt you need to deal with. Did you know there are protections just for active duty military members that can help you financially? Life in the military can be unpredictable, and… Read more »

COLA

COLA 2020 Changes

COLA Changes For 2020 COLA stands for Cost of Living Adjustment and is a way to increase benefit amounts in order to keep up with inflation. COLA in 2020 went up 1.6% Because of federal law, the COLA changes to the VA’s compensation and pension rates are the same percentage increases that social security benefits… Read more »

military pay raise

2020 Military Pay Raise Impact

A 3.1% military raise for 2020 is set to take effect as of Jan 1, 2020.. This is higher than the 2019 raise of 2.6% and the highest raise since 2010, when the raise was 3.4%. Of course, before this is to happen, there will be debate about the raise within Congress and won’t be… Read more »