Money Management Tips for Recently Discharged Young Veteransby Mark Courts on 01/05/20
Establish a budget and learn how to track it
The first step in understanding and monitoring your finances is to create a budget. Start by calculating your expenses. Make a list of everything you spend money on, from food to gym memberships and entertainment. Keep in mind that many businesses offer discounts to veterans, which can help you save. For example, as a veteran, you may be eligible for lower premiums on your car insurance, and you can save even further if you add a security device to your vehicle and bundle insurance policies.
Once you have an idea of your monthly expenses, create a list of your monthly income, including salary from a job and any veteran’s benefits you may receive. The goal is to create a "zero budget" that accounts for every cent of money that goes out, whether it’s for food or savings.
Creating a budget alone is not enough. You also have to track your spending and income to make sure you are sticking to it. If you allot $200 per month for food, for instance, you don't want to exceed this. You can download handy apps to your phone to track your spending. Mint is a favorite because information on bank accounts, bills, credit cards, and investments can be found in one place. You can view your balances and transactions, manage bills, and even benefit from free credit score monitoring.
Plan for the unexpected with savings
When you create your budget, allot one section for savings. Even if you don't have a huge income, setting aside even a small amount of money every month is beneficial. Say you put just $100 per month into your savings, for instance. Within one year, you’ll have saved $1,200. This is enough to cover all kinds of emergency costs, from medical expenses to car repairs to a new phone if yours breaks. An automated savings account is the easiest option. Studies show that people who enroll in automated savings plans save more.
Your savings can also help cover costs such as life insurance or end-of-life services. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs actually provides some coverage for a non-service related death (up to $780). That said, a funeral or cremation can cost more than $10,000. If you set aside money and preplan your own service, you save your loved ones the hassle of this expense as well as the stress of trying to figure out what you would have wanted for your final wishes. When you preplan, you can decide everything from whether you want to be buried or cremated, to what kind of casket you want.
Prepare for the future by improving your credit
Another important part of preparing for the future involves building up good credit. Young veterans may not have had the opportunity to do this while they were serving. You can start now by taking out a secured credit card, which requires you to make a deposit in the amount of credit desired, and using it (and paying off the balance) regularly. You can then eventually get a standard credit card. You should further diversify your credit, as GoBankingRates explains, with a loan such as a car loan. When you establish a good credit rating, you will be more easily able to take out larger loans for long-term goals, like getting a mortgage for a house.
Young veterans have to adapt to civilian life in various ways. With a bit of assistance, however, the transition doesn't have to be difficult. The above tips can help you at least get a handle on your finances. With solid money management abilities, your day-to-day life will be easier and less stressful.
Cheryl Conklin is a freelance writer and tutor by trade and a blogger, adventurer, traveler, and creator of Wellness Central in her free time, Cheryl Conklin created Wellness Central because she believes one can't have physical health without mental health and vice versa.You can visit Cheryl online at https://wellnesscentral.info.