By Colby Stream
Debt Reduction Services
As a service member, worrying about your financial situation at home may move to the back of your mind if you are deployed or TDY. Understandably, serving your country quickly becomes your main priority. However, growing out of touch with bills and loans can create financial hardships.
Free Financial Consultation for Active Duty
There are resources available for active duty service members by nonprofit programs like Debt Reduction Services, which offer free financial consultations to those military personnel in need.
At Debt Reduction Services, we understand the many sacrifices our service members make, including the financial burden that comes with serving due to frequent relocation, the increased need for childcare, and bridging the gap between rent and housing allowance. The most recent military survey indicates that 20% of military families have over 10k in credit card debt, 10% of homeowners are upside down on their mortgage, and as a result of both, financial issues were considered the second biggest stressor during time served in the military.
Financial counseling is a great first step to take when tackling any type of debt.
Tips to Start at Home
While a free consultation is a great start, understanding your financial situation yourself is extremely important. Guidance can help, learning more about your financials at home will help you obtain a better understanding of where your money goes compared to how much you bring in, and so on.
There are plenty of money-saving tactics you can start using at home. A good start begins with:
- Tracking your spending and creating a budget
- Checking your credit score and knowing what will affect your number
- Setting up bank and credit alerts (via text, email, phone call, etc.)
- Check out this article for more information
Taking these steps before you leave for duty can help you manage your money easier while you are away. Having financial alerts in place can help you remain in touch with your financial accounts by observing all credits and debits running through them.
Take advantage of online and mobile banking. Going digital with your finances is a great option when you can’t easily step into your financial institution.
DoD Financial Counseling and Assistance Programs
The military itself provides an array of financial based assistance, education and counseling to its service members. These programs can assist with hardship, foundational education and help you overcome the barriers involved in transitioning from military-to-civilian life.
Additionally, there are military installation resources available through family readiness centers.
Other Resources Available Online
Aside from financial counseling, education, and digital banking, the internet can be a great resource of information for financial situations, particularly for military service members whose situation might be a little different than your average citizen. There are hundreds of websites providing useful information – check out these resources that have been vetted by the Association of Military Banks of America.
Setting aside time to get your finances in order is important — and it will certainly pay off in the long run.