Is Saving Money A Luxury for Military Families At The Moment?

I refuse to go into the government shutdown and how it is going to affect military . I did that about three years ago and had my chance to talk about it here on MSNBC. I can’t even bother indulging in the politics of how we military families have become pawns in this little game of chess that Congress is playing.

However , another topic keeps arising throughout the military spouse community whenever the words “government shutdown” are uttered. The issue of “SAVING” keeps causing friction among-st some military spouses especially right now when military personnel and their spouses are worried about the possibility of not getting paid.

Bianca Strzalkowski of MilSpouse Magazine wrote recently that several financial institutions were offering to help military families by advancing pay for October 15 2013 , as well as offering interest free loans. Naturally, the general reception to that was relief because times are hard and people need their pay.

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Through that somewhat positive news , phrases such as “the military makes more than enough”, “military couples should be better prepared and have savings”. etc keep making their way into the conversation. Generally speaking I get the basis behind people having a little nest egg saved for emergencies. The problem is there is not always enough eggs to put in the nest. For some reason people are forgetting that we all are of different pay grades and that we all have different expenses. It maybe very easy for the family of three with both adults working to save up a few hundred a month in comparison to a lower enlisted family of four where one parent stays at home.

The mere fact that thousands of military families utilize food stamps should tell people that folks are struggling. Having a savings is a luxury at this point! Years ago the average person coming into the military was an 18 year old with no kids looking to find his way. These days the the average recruit is 30+ years old and is coming into the military because it is still one of the most stable jobs out there (despite the annual government shutdown scare). They are coming in because they have families , are seeking benefits and steady pay. They may be living paycheck but not by any fault of their own. Additionally, we should remember that that there are different pay grades in the military so what may work for you won’t necessarily work for others.

I commend anyone who can save and is willing to forego many things to do that. And for the record I am not saying that saving shouldn’t be a priority or shouldn’t be done.  I am saying that it’s hard to save when there isn’t much to save with.

I’d love to hear your thoughts…feel free to share them in the comments section below.

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