December 2, 2015, by Brooke Chaplan – According to Veterans Inc, an organization that serves veterans at their families nationwide, there are 2.25 million veterans in the United States. With so many people returning from service, you may think help would be readily available. In many ways, there are plenty of services available to assist veterans in returning to civilian life. However, it’s up to the service member to know where to look. If you’ve just returned from a tour of duty, here are some financial scenarios to consider and how to prepare yourself and your budget.
If you’ve separated from service, you will need to consider your housing options. If you went straight into the service from high school or college, you may have never had to arrange for your own housing before. If you want to purchase a house, consider a mortgage through the Veterans Association (VA), as the interest rates and terms can be quite attractive. You can also get good deals on mortgage loans from Mortgage Companies in Austin like Sente. There are also a lot of online tools and mortgage calculators available to help you find the right rate for your budget. If you’ll be renting, you’ll likely need to fill our applications and release your credit information. For those who don’t have much credit history, make sure you explain this to the rental office or property owner. Some are willing to make exceptions on lack of credit history for veterans.
For those who don’t have much credit history, everything from starting up utilities, to making big-ticket purchases can be a hassle. To establish credit, you may want to consider taking out a small credit card with a Visa or Mastercard logo. Use it responsibly, and always pay your bills on time. Setting up utilities at your new residence and paying them promptly and in full will also help you build credit, but you may need to pay a deposit to do this. If you need a vehicle, consider buying used and taking out a used car loan.
Saving for the Future
While you may qualify for a pension, you will also want to start saving for your future as a civilian. If you came home with a lot of combat pay piled up in the bank, don’t just let it sit in your checking account. Educate yourself about investments such as IRAs, 401(k)s through civilian employers and ETFs. Everything you need to know about setting up retirement accounts and managing them yourself can be found online or at your local bank. There’s usually no need to pay for a financial adviser unless your needs and situation is very complex.
Navigating your finances after a tour of duty can be a confusing time. By keeping these strategies in mind and educating yourself, you can make the best decisions for your financial future.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.