As we look forward to fall and the end of the year approaches, it’s a great time to start putting together the pieces of your financial picture and planning for 2024. What financial goals do you want to accomplish in the next year, and how will you get there?
Start with an Assessment
No matter where you are in your military career, the first step towards achieving your goals is to assess your year-end financial situation. Take a look at your financial activity from this past year and see if your budget was manageable and if your total income was more than your expenses. You can’t know yet what unexpected expenses may come your way in the new year, but planning ahead for issues that could affect you and your family can be addressed now. Will your budget stay the same or will you be making changes? Is your income expected to increase or decrease? Will there be any changes that could impact your finances if you are deployed?
Let’s look at where you might be in your career and think through changes that may take place at each stage.
New to the Military
If you’ve recently started your military career, you may have several years of service ahead of you. You may also have to make several PCS moves or perhaps you will deploy outside the United States. In your personal life, perhaps you are thinking of getting married. Or, if you are already married, you may be planning to have children. Here are a few items you will want to make sure are in your financial portfolio to help you handle these types of life changes:
The sooner you get started on ensuring you have the proper amount of life insurance and savings for the future, the more secure you’ll be knowing you’re prepared for whatever is ahead of you.
Mid-Way Through Your Career
Throughout your years of military service, you’ve developed a great deal of mission readiness. Translate that readiness into your financial planning for the future. Maybe you and your family are now ready to buy a house or start planning for your kids’ college expenses. At this stage, you may be considering adding these items to your portfolio:
- Home mortgage
- Supplemental term life insurance to ensure you have enough to cover your family’s full needs
- Whole life insurance that will stay with you after you leave the military
You already know the financial challenges life can bring your way. Putting financial plans in motion now to help support and protect the life you’ve built for yourself and your family is the key to securing your financial future.
Transitioning Out of Service or Retiring
As your military career comes to a close and you plan for your civilian future, you’ll want to understand your military benefits and determine if those will be enough to provide for your family should anything happen to you. Not only that, but you still have many years ahead in which you may want to move to your preferred location, earn a degree or certification toward a brand-new career, or even take a dream vacation.
Look at your long-term budget (it should cover 20-30 years out following your military retirement). If you know where you are going to live, do you also know how much the cost of living is there? Review your current debt burden and decide what you can do to afford the future you really want.
Consider including these options in your financial portfolio:
- Participating in the Survivor Benefit Plan
- Ensuring you have a life insurance policy that will replace SGLI
- Life insurance that grows a cash benefit over time
- Enhancing your portfolio through wealth-building accounts
- Evaluating your TSP and what will you do with it after military transition or retirement
Taking the time to assess and plan now will help you set you up for financial success in the New Year and beyond.
AAFMAA Can Help
As you look over your finances for the next year, we understand the unique situations you may be facing that could impact your military career and family. Contact us today if you’d like to learn more about our life insurance offerings and AAFMAA Membership benefits.