Financial Tips for New Military Members: Part 2

You’ve read Part 1!  Here’s part 2!

TIP:  “Don't rack up the debt. I've seen many airmen do that because suddenly they can get credit cards and such, now that they're in the military and have a stable income.”  -TSgt Kaleta, Angela

“I would suggest avoid using credit cards unless it's an emergency. Too many young Marines get wrapped up in them and before they know it, are way over their head in debt.”  –SSgt O’Connor, Thomas

Just because you CAN get a credit card doesn’t mean you should.  Every financial expert can make an argument that you need a credit card to build your credit.  If, and only IF, you’re mature enough to know that you can control your spending, should you have a credit card to build your credit.  If you know you will tend to swipe the card, then steer clear of using plastic to pay for anything.  Understanding how to use a credit card properly can build great credit, using plastic irresponsibly may lead to owing more than you want to pay.  

TIP:  “TSP, CD's, and a savings account that never gets touched. Learn about the stock market and invest small amounts” –SSgt Debose, Ana

I touched on TSP in ‘Part 1’. This tip encompasses savings in general.  Some people have a true savings account.  Some have a ‘save a little money, take a little bit out’ account.  There’s a BIG difference.   To use a savings account correctly, you don’t touch your savings.   If you properly save, and you don’t spend those savings early in your life, then your 30/40-year-old self will praise your saving habits.  Why? Because saving without spending for that length of time will allow you to have a ridiculous amount of money to retire on.  Think about it.  You’re 18-20 years old now.  In 10-20 years you’ll be 40-ish years old, you can say “I have $150k - $250k - $500k I’m going retire with.”  Consider the typical 40-ish year old person.  It’s likely they’re working hard and yet, not retiring anytime soon.  You can have that large amount you saved in TSP and get another job after the military… retire after 15 years (you’ll be 55 years old), and have two retirement incomes! Smart retired veterans do it all the time. Why not start saving early so that can be you?

TIP:  “Read The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey and do what it says. – Sgt Reid, Tyler

Successful people are willing to do what other people are not willing to do.  If you’re serious about retiring early and managing your finances better than your peers, then you should be reading about money.  Reading books about being savvy with money is essential to your success.  These types of books provide you with hard learned tips from people that have been successful at the game that we play with money everyday.