It is a phrase that gets used a lot when talking about military life, and the current questions certainly bring this phrase to mind. The internet, particularly blogs and forums, are full of people who feel very strongly about the federal budget situation and how it might affect military families. About one-quarter of those people are over-reacting out of fear that the military might not get paid, and about one-quarter are running around telling everyone not to be such an idiot because nothing of the sort will ever happen. The remaining half either has no idea what is happening and have questions, or fall into a more neutral, let’s be prepared and see what happens sort of mindset. I think that I am in the last group. I don’t anticipate that we won’t get paid on 1 April, but I am willing to concede that it is possible, and I think that everyone should be prepared for the possibility.
There are tons of reasons why a military person might not receive their pay, including being mistakenly separated from the service during a PCS move, having a huge overpayment that gets taken out all at once, having a bank account compromised, or any myriad number of other possibilities. Being prepared for the possibility that you might not get paid is just plain smart, regardless of the reason that the pay doesn’t show up as expected.
Which brings us back to the title of this article. I’m pretty sure we’re all on the same side of this conversation: We’re all hoping that this has been a lot of hoopla for nothing. But for me, it would be foolish not to a) consider the possibilities, and b) use this situation as a catalyst for positive change. Personally, it has made me think long and hard about how large an emergency fund is necessary to fund my family’s day-to-day life, and how many of our expenses could be curtailed if necessary. Thinking about finances is almost never a bad thing (unless you’re not sleeping because of financial problems.) Quite the opposite, most of us would find ourselves in much better financial situations if we thought about money a little more carefully. Let’s take the opportunity to do just that!