Members of the military and armed forces tend to lead busy lives and are often not on the same day-to-day work routine as everyone else. When it comes to investing, military members also do not have access to all of the same investment plans that workers in the private sector do. Their busy schedules may not leave them with enough free time to do a lot of research on the investments available to them, which are already less well-known than those offered to their peers.
For example, even if you don’t know much about how it works, most people have probably heard of a 401(k), as it’s one of the most popular retirement investment accounts around. Military members however, cannot participate in 401(k)s like those in private workplaces, and instead have their own retirement savings plans offered by the federal government.
Since members of the military are in the unique position where they are crunched for time and have to figure out specialized federal investment plans, below is a helpful roundup of the best investments military members can choose to make.
Best investments for military members
Pay off your debts first
According to a recent survey by nonprofit credit counseling service American Consumer Credit Counseling, 27 percent of military service members had more than $10,000 in credit card debt compared with 16 percent of civilians. It is a long and touted principle in investing that paying off your debts first is paramount in any financial plan, but it is even more important for members of the military.
A report by Military.com states that more than one-third of military families struggle to pay the bills each month and that 20 percent also ended up borrowing money outside of banks just to make ends meet. This means family members, friends, etc. The constantly shifting schedule and frequent location changes for military families only compounds the issue.
The unemployment rate among military spouses jumped to a whopping 38 percent during the pandemic and has hovered around 25 percent for the last decade, as moving around from post to post makes it difficult for many military spouses to maintain one job. This can also make accumulating debt easy, and paying it off harder, but it’s crucial to stay vigilant against mounting debt obligations.
Getting a proper repayment plan in place can help. Check your credit score and assess where you are and how much needs to be repaid. From there, start a realistic budget and if you can, put aside 10-20 percent of your income each month for debt repayment. Call your debtors and see if a compromise can be made in the amount you owe or number of …….