Back to Basics

During the government shutdown, no-military-pay scare earlier this month, it became even more apparent how many military families are stretched thin financially and living paycheck-to-paycheck.  Folks, this is no way to live!  I know that there are many of you out there who will say, “We can’t save” or “We don’t make enough!”  I’m going to make myself very unpopular here and say this:  If one member of your family is in the military, even as an E-1, you are already so far ahead of most of the U.S.  Please, please, take advantage of a steady income, including a housing allowance, and medical insurance, to set yourself up for a financially successful future.

“But…”

Yes, I’ve heard it.  I’ve been there.  Paycheck-to-paycheck is no way to live, so you’ve got to figure out a way to get past this, and I will try to help you if you will let me.

I’m going to do a 10 part series on the very basic steps of getting a hold of your financial situation.    If you are like the thousands of military families who have no idea where to start, then join us on this journey.  If your no longer stretched thin, but want to improve things for the future, then join us, too.  I’m going to be doing each of these steps with you, too – basics are ALWAYS good.  None of this stuff is rocket science, but there are multiple ways to look at each step.  I’m thinking a week per step – that brings us to right before the 4th of July:  Independence Day!

  1. Assess your current situation
  2. Identify out your goals, your dreams, and what motivates you
  3. Figure out where your money is currently going
  4. Make a plan for where you WANT your money to go in the future
  5. Start saving – even a little bit helps
  6. Build a solid foundation:  insurance and legal documents
  7. Decrease your living expenses
  8. Increase your income
  9. Reduce your indebtedness
  10. Stay on track and enjoy the benefits!

I’m hoping that lots of people will join us on this plan to get ourselves headed in the right direction.  In just a few short weeks, you could lay the groundwork for a much improved financial future!

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.