New DoD Program Focuses on Military Spouse Financial Readiness

play money in a stack
(Kemberly Groue/DVIDS)

Earlier this year, the Blue Star Families Military Family Lifestyle Survey revealed that 63% of respondents experience stress due to their current financial situation.

There are several reasons why military families are stressed about money, including child care costs, housing expenses that exceed the Basic Allowance for Housing and debt.

In some military families, the responsibility for managing finances falls solely, and squarely, on the military spouse. Now, the Defense Department has a financial readiness resource specifically tailored to those spouses.

The Milspouse Money Mission strives "to educate and empower military spouses to elevate their families by making smart money moves," according to the mission statement on the website. And they're doing this by providing a variety of resources for military spouses at all stages of financial readiness and military life.

Money Ready

In the five-step Money Ready program, military spouses can start the process with learning the basics of personal finance and the importance of setting financial goals. For spouses who have already mastered the topics of creating a budget, understanding credit and managing debt -- the subjects covered in Money Ready 101 -- there are three additional levels of information available.

As you move through the levels, you'll learn about saving and investing, planning for retirement and planning your estate. Not sure where you are in the process? Take the Financial Readiness Quiz and find out.

Adjusting the Plan

With each twist and turn of military life comes the opportunity and responsibility of reviewing your financial plan. Sometimes, this can be hard to explain to someone who doesn't know the military lifestyle. The financial professionals who built this resource know the ins and outs of military life, because they have lived it.

What do you need to do to prepare for your first PCS or your first child? There are four financial considerations listed in this area, as well as a reminder to check your service member's Leave and Earnings Statement for any allowances that may change when you have a child. For example, when you are receiving a cost-of-living adjustment the amount is per dependent, so that amount should change on the LES.

Deployment can mean a big change to your family's financial situation. There are so many things that make it confusing, and this is one area where it's really helpful to have a budget and someone who has been through it before helping you out. The same can be said for redeployment. While finances may go back to the way they were before, they could change yet again.

Resources for Everyone

Some people love videos, while others like checklists or reading blog posts. There's something for everyone on Milspouse Money Mission. Videos on what it was like for one spouse when they added a baby to their household can give you an idea of what you can plan for. A blog post on financial goals and how to stay on track with them may be exactly what another spouse needs to read.

The first step to financial success begins with figuring out where you are. The website can help you do that and help you lead your family to a stable and thriving financial future.

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--Rebecca Alwine can be reached at rebecca.alwine@monster.com. Follow her on Twitter @rebecca_alwine.

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