Military spouses have an important resource that can help with financial planning in a military family. MilSpouse Money Mission is a website created by the Department of Defense that provides tools, teaching, and resources for military spouses that will help them understand the complexities of a military family’s financial needs.
One of the first things new recruits for all branches of American military service learn when they join the ranks is financial responsibility–an issue the Department of Defense takes VERY seriously.
After all, those in uniform are provided government charge cards to pay for official travel with, there are AAFES credit programs, military auto sales, and even interest free “loans” to servicemembers in the form of advance pay which must be paid back over time.
Being financially responsible is an important part of the whole-person concept emphasized by military leadership. But what about the role of military spouses in the financial responsibility equation?
Military spouses rarely get their full due for their crucial role in military readiness. Who is responsible for dependent children getting to school or daycare, clothed and fed when the service member is on a deployment, TDY, or remote assignment?
Who winds up being tasked to handle last-minute financial emergencies while troops are in the field? The men and women who are married to these service members.
MilSpouse Money Mission
The Department of Defense has long recognized the role of the military spouse in DoD readiness (financial and otherwise) even when the general public doesn’t.
MilSpouse Money Mission is what the DOD considers its “primary resource designed for and to provide military spouses with trusted information they can use to be more empowered” and be an active partner in the financial decisions for their families.
The About page for this official site explains that MilSpouse Money Mission was created “by a team of financial professionals who understand military life because they have experienced military life.” The entire website’s content has been vetted by Certified Financial Planners and other finance experts. This site has also been vetted by the Department of Defense Office of Financial Readiness.
The site’s contents include videos, a blog about money issues, links to resources, and the following:
- Money Ready: Financial topics presented in college-class type formats (Money Ready 101, Money Ready 202, etc.)
- MilLife Milestones: A “resource to empower spouses” to make good money choices at critical phases in life
- MilSpouse Cams: Features seminars on different issues
- Social Media
In the site’s Money Ready section, Money Ready 101 and related classes are a combination of text, blogs, and video on specific topics related to military families and their finances. Those topics include, but are not limited to:
- Creating a family budget
- Understanding how credit works
- Debt management
- Protecting yourself from identity theft
- Retirement planning
- Estate planning
- College saving
There are also very helpful sections on how to read and understand a military partner’s Leave & Earnings Statement (LES) and how to apply for a military dependent ID card or a replacement card. There are checklists for new military spouses, guides on understanding military benefits, and other good resources for newcomers and experienced milspouses alike.
Under the official site’s MilLife Milestones section, military spouses will find a range of important options including checklists for things military spouses commonly find themselves dealing with the first time early in a military marriage:
- New Spouses
- Your first child
- Military member promotions
- Pre-deployment issues
- Post-deployment/reunion issues
- Permanent Change of Station moves
In the Resources section you will find links to important agencies such as military relief societies, links to legitimate free credit report resources from the credit agencies themselves and from the only government-approved free credit report site, AnnualCreditReport.com. You can also find resources in Spanish. The official site doesn’t leave out Spanish-speaking military families, stating “Tenemos la misión de educar, empoderar y elevar a los cónyuges militares hacia la preparación financiera.”
How To Use MilSpouse Money Mission
There are plenty of DoD resources and some might argue the abundance of them creates a situation with far too many logins, passwords, and other details to remember. Between MyPay, eBenefits, MyHealtheVet, and others, how many logins can you stand?
MilSpouseMoneyMission.org is not only free to use, it requires no signups, logins, or other measures. You can simply go to the official site and start learning.
Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News