Serving in the military is one of the highest commitments one can make to our country. We all owe a debt of gratitude to the brave men and women who serve in the armed forces.
As someone who has proudly served my country, I can say firsthand there is a sense of both honor and responsibility that comes with military service.
I also know being in the military has an effect on the financial lives of those who serve. For one thing, the pay isn’t great. For another, being deployed can make paying bills a little difficult. If you’re not careful, being in the military can have a negative impact on your credit.
However, it also can be a great place to learn about financial responsibility and building a good credit history. Here’s how:
Guaranteed check, but . . .
For one thing, being in the military comes with a guaranteed paycheck. It’s not a big paycheck mind you, but at least it’s consistent. Because of this, you should be able to make a budget that allows you to spend a little, save a little and begin building good credit habits.
Also, having that guaranteed paycheck from the government means creditors see you as a relatively small risk. Because of this, you will usually have little problem getting a credit card or a loan.
Actually, there are credit cards specifically made for military service members. Just be sure to review the terms and interest rates before you begin using it.
“Building good credit habits in the
military pays off down the road.”
Use credit cards wisely
Once you do have a loan and/or a credit card, it’s important to make the payments on time, every time.
One of the worst things you can do when starting out building credit is to establish a history of late or missed payments. These things stay on your credit report for a long time and can really damage your credit score.
Another nice thing about the military is it’s very good about offering credit counseling to members of the service and their families. Take advantage of this free service and learn everything you can about credit and finances.
Build good spending habits
Finally, I can’t say enough about building good spending habits. This is one of the best places and times in your life to learn this important lesson.
The structure that comes with military service is the perfect environment for creating a budget and learning to live within your means.
Of course, it’s also an environment where spending can get out of hand. Don’t let that happen to you.
If you begin building good credit habits in the military, you’ll find it pays off down the road. A good credit history is a valuable thing to have and something worth working for. Build your credit score now and it will help you financially for the rest of your life. Good luck and thanks for your service!
Photo source: washingtonpost.com