I’d like to share some of my favorite personal finance tips for Army National Guard Personnel. To give you a quick disclaimer I am not a financial adviser or CPA. I recommend you get qualified advice from a licensed professional. That being said, I have learned a few financial tips during my 15+ years of military service that I would like to share with you. Most of these things are common sense, yet soldiers rarely follow them.
- Save a Percentage of Your Drill Pay Every Month: Make it a goal to save a portion (or your entire drill pay) every month. Set up a retirement account or use the Thrift Savings Plan and then have an Electronic Funds Transfer set up that automates the process so you don’t have to think about it. Start at 1% your first month and then raise it by an additional 1% each month until you get to 10-20% of your gross drill pay being invested in a retirement account each month.
- Hire a Financial Planner: Even if you are just starting out, you should hire a financial planner (not on commission) to help give you some financial advice. They can help you set up a plan and give you basic financial knowledge so you know important numbers such as your balance sheet and income statement.
- Stay Out of Debt: If possible stay out of debt. Keep your debt to a minimum, especially unsecured debt such as college loans, personal loans and credit cards. If you buy a car, shop around for a good rate and consider buying a used car with cash.
- Track Your Monthly Progress: Every month sit down with your spouse and update your net worth sheet to see how you did for the month. Set yearly and monthly goals and track your progress. As you reach some of your goals don’t forget to celebrate.
- Ignore What Your Peers are Doing: It amazes me how many people want to “keep up” with their peers with material possessions. Don’t worry about your E-5 best friend who just bought a Mercedes AMG and has a $1500 per month car payment. He is broke, but doesn’t know it yet! And don’t be embarrassed because you drive a paid off “beater” car. Look at what everyone else is doing and do the opposite.
The bottom line is that you must be disciplined and take responsibility for your own personal finances. Just because no one has ever taught you about money before doesn’t mean you aren’t responsible for your own financial livelihood. Educate yourself, develop a plan and stick with it for the long-term. You will be glad that you did.
Listed below, I’ve shared a few resources that I think can help you out with your personal finances. Good luck!
It is not difficult to save and be financially secure, it just takes determination and a plan. Follow these tips and you can be financially secure.
Feel free to post your tips, opinions and questions below. Thank you.