Joining the military can be an exciting new venture for you and your family. However, it does come with a lot of changes and the need for unique adjustments to be made. It can get overwhelming as new military families are taking on a lot at once. However, there are several ways to make the transition a little easier.
- Prepare to Move
With military service comes the ever-present potential to relocate. Service members can be deployed and relocated to various parts of the country where they are most needed. If this is all new and you and your family are not used to moving, try to create a preparedness plan.
List the things you have to take care of like bills that need to be settled, tax and other legal documentations, jobs or employment records, children’s school records, as well as services and subscriptions you need to terminate or transfer. It is also important to identify the utilities the family will need to start-up in the new location and prepare it ahead of time. Save money dedicated for emergencies and moving expenses.
There are also things new military spouses have to prepare and take note of before deployment. This includes securing a military ID from the ID card facility and familiarizing themselves with the details of their spouse’s deployment. It can be challenging to be in constant transience, but it can also be a fun opportunity to meet new people and learn about new cultures.
- Know Your Financial Benefits
The government provides sufficient compensation and benefits to military service members and their families when they are on duty. This includes healthcare, education, insurance, job training, and even housing. There are great low-cost investment opportunities available while you’re in service. Much of a military service member’s income is not taxed, so take advantage of this opportunity to save.
After meeting the minimum active-duty service requirements, a service member is eligible for a home loan offered by the Veterans Affairs (VA). This is a great option for purchasing a home, especially when service members become stationary or choose to retire. You can use a VA home loan calculator to get insight into how much you and your family can borrow to buy a house.
- Get Life Insurance
A Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) policy is an inexpensive policy with good coverage for military families. Service members are automatically enrolled in this if eligible. The spouse and other family members have to be enrolled by the service member to become beneficiaries.
It is important to discuss this as a family and have it processed as soon as possible. If you or your family want to opt-out or prefer a private insurance provider instead, service members can change or decline the coverage at any time. Regardless, it is important to have life insurance no matter what your circumstances.
- Find Your Support System
Find mentors and experienced military families to befriend. This will help you cope better when deployed in different places. Most children can easily make friends through playing. Let them play with other children so they can build their social skills better. With all the emotional load spouses carry during deployment, they will also need their own strong support system.
Maintaining communication with relatives or old friends can be good for spouses. Making new friends through joining or starting interest groups is also a good idea. In addition to moral support, utilize the service support programs offered to you and your family.
Military families are eligible for various assistance, including employment, education, and even legal help. The Department of Defense also offers the Military Family Readiness System, which provides comprehensive assistance for family members. Also, knowing who to ask regarding legal, financial, or other questions will make a world of difference. T
- Different Doesn’t Mean Worse
Being a military family can come with unique challenges, but it does not mean it’s better or worse than civilian life, just different. If you are a military spouse, changing jobs and moving can be hard on your career, but don’t give up on your aspirations. Find a way to maintain what matters to you. If you don’t know where to start, there are job and education assistance programs for military spouses to consider.
Your Family is Now Among Millions of Military Families Worldwide
Military life can be exhausting and stressful for service members and their families, but it can also be rewarding and inspiring. It will be a balancing act and will require drastic management in various aspects of life. It takes time to adapt to the military family setup, but cooperation and communication will make you stronger and more resilient as a family. You are now among millions of other military families, and you are not alone.