Military Spouse Magazine

SEP 2018

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253603-0718: Views and opinions expressed by members are for informational purposes only and should not be deemed as an endorsement by USAA. IM2_NET0910_Views_and_Opinions_Blogs. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. owns the certification marks CFP® and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER TM in the United States, which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements. FPS2_FPC0800_CFP_Symbols_ Allowed. USAA means United Services Automobile Association and its affiliates. 1 S P O N S O R E D B Y U S A A G O O D A D V I C E I 'm s u r e t h e r e h ave b e e n t im e s w h e n yo u w o u l d n ' t h ave lin ke d " c e l e b r a t e " a n d " m ili t a r y li f e ." Hav- ing served—and now the parent of a young soldier—I get it. But when I step back and look at the big picture, the friend- ships, the camaraderie and the shared experience are just the tip of an iceberg of goodness found in military life. And when I put on my financial planner hat, the list gets longer. Here are six financial benefits worth celebrating: To Military Life Worth Celebrating By JJ Montanaro, Certified Financial Planner™ at USAA REGUL AR PAY INCREASES Every pay increase is an opportunity to put money that's not part of your spending routine to work. Whether you're trying to pay down debt, build savings or invest for the future, military life provides frequent chances to get things going. Think about it: You've got an annual cost of em- ployment increase in January, time-in-service pay increases every couple of years and promotions. REASONABLE HEALTH CARE It's hard to celebrate health care because often we seek it out under dire circumstances. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average American worker kicked in $476/month toward health care coverage in 2017. With no enrollment fees or in-network copayments using TRICARE Prime, an Active Duty family would pay a lot less. In that context, the military health care value proposition calls for party hats and horns. PCS RESETS Moving, and sometimes moving a lot, is one of the significant challenges military families face. Along with regularly turning your family's life upside down, these moves can present financial challenges. However, taking the glass-half-full perspective, a move can provide an opportu- nity to reinvent yourself and your money habits. Whether it's an opportunity to make a better housing decision, tighten up your budget or add some additional income through new employment opportunities, moves can inspire a fresh start. TA X BENNIES Tax-free housing and subsistence allowances, special capital gains rules when you sell a home, tax-free combat pay, favorable rules for deduct- ing moving expenses, and free tax preparation assistance are all worth at least a golf clap. DEPLOYMENTS Like the regular requirement to uproot your family and move from one duty station to another, deployments cut both ways. However, on the financial front, allowances make your paycheck a little fatter, and reduced taxes and perhaps fewer expenses at home all add up to an opportunity to make financial hay. If you're looking to save, check out the 10 percent-earning DoD Savings Deposit Program. And if you're investing for retirement, the opportunity to use the Roth TSP and/or a Roth IRA offers the very special opportunity to take tax-free combat zone income and invest it in a tax-free Roth account. Taken together, you have the potential to accumulate a big pile of money that's never taxed. All this is worth considering and may help put a positive financial spin on deployments. EDUCATION BENEFITS My son didn't celebrate the completion of his third year of service. However, he will be cel- ebrating the full Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits earned through that service. And his nephew will benefit from the 529 plan funds that will be freed up to help the next generation of our family. Educa- tion benefits associated with military service change the lives of those who wear the uniform. That's worth a full-out stadium wave. H 3 2 4 5 6 Photo by Erin Kent Photography 6 Financial Benefits 34 MILITARYSPOUSE.COM / SEPTEMBER 2018

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