Although our great veterans gave years of their lives to help the rest of us live free in America, they aren’t always given the best chance for success when they return back home.
The number of homeless veterans rises every year, and many also deal with disabilities or other cultural disadvantages. It is not a great scene, but the good news is that with some knowledge and guidance, veterans can get their financial life in order and get back on track.
If you are a veteran who is back on American soil or is about to return, then you should be made aware of the tools that you have available to keep your finances in check. Today, we will talk a bit about budgets, resources, and how you can find a job once you leave the military.
Create a Budget
The first step that you need to take is to create a comprehensive budget so you can see where you stand financially and make the proper adjustments. Sit down with your family and make a list of all of your income streams, including the salary that you and your loved ones bring in and how much you may be getting from the government.
Next, write out every single expense that you have on a recurring basis. That includes your monthly utilities, grocery shopping, credit card payments, and all of your extra expenses, including how much you spend on the daily coffee runs and dinner out, plus the money you spend for fun on the weekends.
Now, look at what you have left over after all expenses are paid. If money is short or it will be a stress to make ends meet, then you need to eliminate some unnecessary costs. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Can you reduce your grocery bill?
- Do you need all of the streaming services that you pay for every month?
- Are you signed up for subscriptions you may not need?
- Can you make your food at home and bring it to work or use the discount menu instead?
If you can afford to put any money away, consider placing it into a high-interest savings account so you can earn some extra money that you can use when times are tough.
Use Your Resources
The good news is that since you fought to defend our country, the American government has some resources that you can use if you are facing financial straits. For instance, you can apply for a clothing allowance, help with your dental care, assistance with insurance, and a basic medical benefits package. If you qualify, then any one of those may help to lighten your financial burden.
There are even more resources for veterans buying a home if that’s something you plan to do in the near future. For instance, you can apply for a loan through the Department of Veteran Affairs. This is a wonderful option because these loans may be available even if you have a low credit score, and you may be eligible for low or no closing costs. If you live in a rural area, then you may be able to secure a loan through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The point is that there are options, so take the time to go online and see what is available for your particular situation.
If you still need help, then consider speaking to a financial advisor. These advisors have seen everything and have tackled just about every type of financial situation, so research online for an office near you. They will help you to identify your needs and goals and give you an avenue to reach them. Just make sure to maintain active communication with your advisor and call them if you have any questions at all.
When you hear a statistic like 53% of veterans are more likely to become homeless after their service, then you may feel like all hope is lost. However, you can land some type of position with the right tools and understanding of where to look. Again, look online or contact the Department of Veteran Affairs, and ask about local career fairs that cater specifically to veterans, then stop by and see if you find a job that fits your skills. You may also be able to find an internship that can get you in the door so you can show your talents and move up within an organization.
When you attend a job fair, you will want to have a resume in hand so you can show your skills and why you are a right fit for the position. Take the time to create a professional resume that includes a summary that mentions that you were a veteran, what you did, the skills you learned, and the type of job you would like to land. This is a chance to gloat about your achievements. Research the job ahead of time and modify your skills and accomplishments and express how they can help this new company.
Since you may have a little more freedom during this time, then you could consider starting your own business, especially if you have a good idea for one. You could do anything from writing a blog about life in the military that can help young people understand the transition to creating and selling merchandise. Before you get started, create a business plan that details what you plan to sell, how you will get the money to start your company, your marketing strategy, and everything else you need. Then, give it a try and see what you can accomplish.
As you can see, there are tactics that you can use to help your family get into a better position financially. Consider these tips, and you will be able to build the life that you desire.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Michael launched Wealth of Geeks to make personal finance fun. He has worked in personal finance for over 20 years, helping families reduce taxes, increase their income, and save for retirement. Michael is passionate about personal finance, side hustles, and all things geeky.