Veterans and Financial Health: A Guide for Veterans on How to Budget and Manage Money

  • November 11, 2021
  • By: GreenPath Financial Wellness

When it comes to veterans and financial health, those who have served our nation face the same money problems as other Americans. It is important for everyone to plan for the future and take care of finances. Veterans deserve support and resources to stay on a positive financial footing. Learning how to manage personal finances can benefit every family – in and out of uniform.

Veterans bravely protect our freedoms and keep us all safe and secure – true heroes for who they are and what they do. When it comes to managing their financial well-being and providing security at home, many may need help. Where can they turn and what assistance is available to help manage their money and futures? While many veterans are confident in their ability to meet financial commitments, studies show some questions remain.

Like civilians, military families can benefit from support to keep track of money coming in and going out. A recent study by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) showed nearly 70-percent of active service members say they could really benefit from solid advice and clear answers to common financial questions.

About half of veterans (49%) wish they had more information about financial resources specifically for veterans, and a similar amount (50%) feel there are not enough financial resources available specifically for veterans.

NFCC SURVEY

When considering questions about their financial futures, veterans may ponder:

  • How to start a budget or savings plan
  • How to manage debt
  • How to get approved for loans
  • How to understand credit
  • What home buying programs are available for veterans
  • Understanding student loan debt and how to pay it off

The good news is GreenPath has tools to help veterans as they learn to manage their money. Among them are:

  • Financial assessments
  • Home buyer counseling
  • Credit report review
  • Debt management

Veterans and Financial Health – Education is Key

Another great tool for military service members and the general public is GreenPath’s Learning Lab. This resource offers well researched courses and tools to help better understand money for a healthy financial life.

How to Budget and Manage Money as a Veteran

Buying on the fly can be a challenge for military families. However, when combined with life circumstances and the challenges of deploying or dealing with health issues as a service member, it becomes even more complex.

Every family should keep a budget to track their spending and make a plan to pay off debt. The average military family’s income, housing expenses and transportation costs can be higher and those costs must be accounted for.

Take into account the military’s unique pay structure, which is tied to the length of a service member’s career. Service members can get paid different amounts every pay period based on when they report for duty. Regardless of rank or deployment status, a budget can help prepare the family for any income inconsistency.

Impact of financial stress

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How to Understand Your Credit as a Member of the Military

Veterans are often eligible for credit cards and loans. But they may not be aware of the importance of their credit rating, which could impact their ability to get these products in the future. Understanding your credit rating will help you keep your finances in good condition and manage your money better.

In the ever-changing world of finance, understanding your credit is more important than ever. Veterans should be smart about handling their credit and should always keep a close eye on their finances.

Credit management is an important component of your financial well-being, which is why it’s important to understand how your credit scores work. Credit scores are based on information in your credit report.

Whenever you make payments or use your credit cards, lenders can request your most recent credit score before they decide whether to grant you a loan. And if you want to make sure that they’re giving you the best rates available, there are several steps you can take. It starts with making sure you obtain and analyze your free credit report every year.

You can access your credit report each year at no cost from each of the three credit reporting bureaus. Visit annualcreditreport.com for your free credit report.

Keys to Debt Management for Military and Veterans

Military families can face financial disruptions due to frequent moves and deployments. Understanding credit reports, interest rates, and how credit cards work can help avoid money complications.

Managing Medical Expenses as a Veteran

Military veterans who’ve served honorably are eligible for a VA health care benefit. This means they may be able to access services without paying any out-of-pocket costs after filling out the Health Eligibility Verification form, also called HAVA.

Managing expenses can be challenging without a solid understanding of financial basics and a plan. Reach out for help when you need it so you can be better prepared for any situation that may come up.

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