Most of those truly noble and brave souls who choose to serve in our military realize at some point they have to take a hard look at the future for themselves and their families. After returning home, many find themselves in difficult financial straits. One soldier we spoke with explained it this way, “It’s a vicious cycle and the harder I tried, the deeper in debt I became.” He’s not alone.
The military employed 314 full-time personal financial managers on military bases around the world in 2012. There were hundreds more who volunteered or who work as military contractors. These planners conducted 1.8 million meetings with soldiers of less than 15 minutes, according to the Pentagon. Just 162,000 “extended contacts,” or longer meetings, were provided for service members that year. Clearly, it’s woefully lacking. It’s little wonder so many find themselves wondering, “What now?”
There are the “here and now” crises many military families face. That’s followed by thoughts for the future and ways to ensure their financial situation, once repaired, will never again result in sleepless nights. The problem for many is they have no idea of where to turn for help, especially considering the scenario mentioned above.
Military advocates have known for years the importance of troops to find and incorporate solid financial strategies and that will benefit them both now and in the future. Once they’re out from under the debt, they’re ready to begin planning for the future. What’s not surprising is that again, they aren’t sure who to contact. They’re already familiar with the role of future planning – as they have to put those mechanisms in place as part of their military preparedness. Past that, many have no idea of who to call to update a will or change a power of attorney. Many are unsure if they even spoke to an attorney as they went through that process of creating a will and other estate planning tasks.
But it gets worse. The number of military suicides is on the rise. Financial problems and uncertainties about their future finances is a huge contributing factor. Sadly, many say they’re worth more dead than alive. They’re referring to the insurance policies provided by the military of $400,000. These policies aren’t nullified due to a cause of death being suicide. Not only that, but their families receive an immediate payout of $100,000.
Fortunately, many are now considering the benefits of a financial planner, one they choose based on their needs versus those provided by the military. Often, this is the solution that allows them to not only pay down their debt, but it encourages future planning as well. Armed with education, proper planning tools, many are finally beginning to consider other tools, such as a current will and other important estate planning tools. They’re learning that trusts are a great addition, even with a life insurance policy.
One of our clients told us, “Honestly, I hadn’t even considered estate planning in a serious way. I’m only 34. I was lucky. I found the right people who showed me a different path. My dad kids me now and says I’m better prepared for retirement than he is.”
Ready to tackle your future planning? Contact us today to learn more.