How Military Service Strengthens Your Financial Fitness

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The values and principles you've learned and upheld as a servicemember translate readily to civilian life, particularly when it comes to your finances. Here's how to apply some of those skills to pursue lifelong financial success.

Commitment. Improving your finances takes commitment, and there's no better time to start than now. Decide on your goals, such as getting out of debt, saving for a new home or a down payment on a car, paying for higher education and putting aside money for retirement. Then work on a plan to get there.

Discipline. Creating a budget or spending plan, saving regularly and living within your means takes discipline. You may be tempted by an impulse purchase, the latest electronic gadget or a high-end handbag. But if you keep your long-term goals in mind, you can resist and stay on track.

Resourcefulness. In the military, you may have experienced times of stress when you had to remain calm and think through your options. If you have an unexpected financial setback, such as uncovered medical bills, major car repair or job loss, that resourcefulness can help you manage until you get back on your feet. Having an emergency savings account is your first line of defense. However, you may need to take out a short-term loan, find an additional source of income or cut back on expenses temporarily.

Teamwork. Much of what you need to do to succeed financially rests squarely on your own shoulders. However, teamwork also comes into play, just as it does when you rely on your buddies in the military for support. If you have a spouse or partner, be sure you're on the same page about your financial goals. If you need professional financial help, don't hesitate to contact a financial advisor.

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