Learn personal finance from the military

I had plenty of time to learn personal finance tricks from the military. I served in the U.S. Air Force for nearly 14 years, and while I wasn’t part of a military finance operation (military finance is a topic for another day), I worked as a reporter for the Air Force News Agency and, as such, did a lot on military money matters write. Believe it or not, financial responsibility is an important part of a military career, and as an officer or registered member, you can get into great trouble if you don’t manage your finances properly.

Personal finance lessons

What did I learn from these experiences? A big deal for those (me) who hadn’t made that much money in one place before was managing my current income while planning future needs. The first time you’re forced to balance your today’s expenses with tomorrow’s big auto payment, this can be a real eye-opener.

What I took away from it as a very young person was that I had to look at my finances like a game of chess instead of … well, maybe poker.

Another lesson I learned was how to think like a businessman when trying to solve typical personal finance problems like getting a car loan.

Interest and other expenses

The military has an option for those who are reassigned or reassigned to a new base in the U.S. or overseas. You can request an advance on your salary, which is then repaid over a set period of time by deducting your military salary.

It sounds pretty straightforward, but when I started calculating this “prepayment” I realized that I had access to an interest-free loan with no fees whatsoever. Let’s say a junior person’s monthly wage is $ 3,000.

This is NOT an exact number, it is an arbitrary one. But for the example we take a single monthly wage and divide it into 12 equal payments and add five percent interest. That $ 3,000 loan will cost you over $ 200 in interest fees alone, let alone the origination fee that your lender will beat you with.

I didn’t get as much “free money” as I got “free loan”. And that woke me up to be much more concerned with the cost of things.

Add it up

How much does your GrubHub delivery order cost if you do not use GrubHub but order in person? These additional costs – delivery fee, driver tip, and handling fees – add up. If you look at the fees for a year and do the math, you will see what I saw then.

For me personally, the moral of the story is to be mindful of the added cost of EVERYTHING. Just like I think people should feel a bit offended if they are offered a 10% discount (because they are basically foregoing sales tax instead of giving you a real discount), people should feel offended when they are bothered with these socks for hidden or additional charges that they (likely) won’t see until after adding those costs over time.

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