Military pay has always been a main topic in the military world. For many reasons, modern military families have had to move from a single income to dual income due to the low pay, Permanent Change of Station (PCS) expenses the military doesn’t pay for, high daycare expenses, and inflation are just some of the reasons having dual income is a MUST today.
An article from Military.com provides the difference between military pay and civilian pay. Civilian pay shows to be higher than military pay, but military pay is compensated with a health care provider (Tricare), housing, and education for active duty service members.
The civilian sector is eager to provide better pay, exchanging the comfort of having a healthcare provider, insurance, and the lack of housing benefits. The military may provide a great set of benefits, but the truth is even though the benefits seem great, single income doesn’t fully provide for the lifestyle military families want to have. Not to mention the many issues that military families are currently having with poor healthcare, unsafe military housing, and irresponsible military contracted moving companies.
One of the downsides many military families experience during PCS season is the lack of care from the movers and a large number of claims not fairly reimbursed. A survey performed by Blue Star Families showed that 42% of the military spouse respondents reported relocation stress was one of the top stressors for their family. This means that thinking about moving solely represents a stressor.
Can you relate?
And talking about costs, let’s talk about daycare costs. Daycare cost is by far one of the biggest challenges for military families. A survey from Care.com shows that people generally are paying more than 15% of their income in care only while the U.S. Government defines “affordable care” below 7% of take-home pay. The limited resources of the military to take care of military children push families to create a second income to meet their needs if the second income even covers daycare costs enough to make it worth it.
All this is due to inflation. The rising costs of quality of life and the importance of having a quality life pushes military families to look for job opportunities to fulfill their lifestyle to provide for their family in a way that is comfortable to them.
What can military families do to strengthen their financial position?
- Take every type of income seriously. Saving money needs to be a MUST on any income level. Currently, debt has been a major pain point for military families.
- Building a flexible and solid career that can continuously compliment your lifestyle even when military pay is not available.
- Continuously look for methods of cutting expenses and building a cushion for unexpected expenses and PCS season surprises.
- Always have a second job option. Never trust only having one option. The military has many programs that assist service members to smoothly transition from their military career to a civilian career. The sponsorship of many companies along with the benefit they get from employing a veteran makes military families an attractive asset to the civilian sector.
- Build a clear plan of contingency for unexpected events such as a government shutdown. Many families were affected by the last and longest shutdown from December 22, 2018, to January 25, 2019, and many of these families were single-income families.
- Side hustles are a great way to save more and pay off debt. Even though military life is a time-consuming job and lifestyle, there are many options to earn extra income to help accomplish financial goals.
Resuming, military families are moving from a single to a dual-income due to the low pay, PCS struggles, daycare costs, and inflation. Have you felt you needed a second income to provide in the way you want for your military family? Let us know.