How Military Spouses Can Be Involved In The Family Budget
You're not bringing in an LES, but you can still be a financial asset to the family.
Being a military spouse comes with a plethora of stereotypes, obstacles not frequently encountered in the civilian world and unparalleled opportunities. For many individuals whose partners bring in LESs, financial autonomy can become increasingly hinged upon the next PCS.
Furthermore, financial autonomy for the non-military member may seem to slip further away if they are not employed, have non-traditional employment such as working from home, or constantly make career changes with every duty station.
Non-Military Spouses And Employment
Establishing a fulfilling career as a military spouse is a common challenge, and PCS moves make maintaining any long-term employment difficult to say the least. Moving every three to five years across the country or globe can leave career-oriented spouses feeling like they don't adequately contribute to the family in a monetary sense, are not fulfilling their vocational potential or even like they have no right to be involved in the family budget.
However, being part of a military family provides unprecedented opportunities for financial transparency. It all boils down to communication and seizing those opportunities – taking what appears to be obstacles and morphing them into stepping stones.
Financial Transparency And Communication
Within any relationship, communication is the key to a healthy and strong bond. No partnership is perfect or void of struggles, but by keeping open lines of communication, those struggles can be addressed and handled and not become fodder for financial nightmares.
When one member of the partnership is in the military, communication takes on a new level of complexity. Not only is every aspect of the family's life contingent upon the military member's contract, but maintaining transparency is a daily hurdle. With so many aspects of military life obscured for security reasons, having a solid foundation of open communication at home becomes even more important.
Below are a few areas in budgeting that military spouses can get more involved in. By communicating and making budgeting a collaborative effort, military spouses and their soldiers/sailors/marines/airmen can share the burden of budgeting and equalize the partnership.
While the first pieces of advice are important and applicable to all couples, they are especially relevant to military families who face the probability of deployment. Without a foundation of financial transparency and open communication, household financing can become a financial nightmare for the spouse who stays stateside. With limited and unpredictable contact with the deployed, financial responsibilities are often shifted entirely to the non-military spouse.
By establishing a partnership based in financial transparency, shared responsibility and open communication, military families can weather life's storms more easily. If you or your loved ones face financial difficulties, reach out to your financial advisors on or off base and take control of your financial situation. Ignorance does not excuse or negate financial blunders. Increase your financial literacy and take advantage of services available. Become your own best financial advocate.
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