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Top Five Ways To Enter The Military As A Husband
Image: – – Macho Spouse
Fellow male military spouse and general provocateur, Chris Field, shares his "Top 5 Ways to Enter the Military as a Husband."
5) Read. There are any number of "military spouse" books and websites that explain the mechanics and formal structure of the military and military living. I found that reading as much as I could about the terms, code names and acronyms (i.e., your ability to learn the quasi-language of Militarese) was invaluable in acclimating myself to my new military life. Arm yourself with a basic understanding of such phrases and acronyms as 'PCS' (relocation), 'LES' (her paystub), 'TDY' (a shorter, out-of-town work trip). Just as you would learn a few basic phrases like “Wie geht es Dir?” (How are you?) and “ein Bier, bitte” (A beer, please!) if you were vacationing in Germany, know the basic terminology of your wife's new employer. I promise you, you will never regret reading too many articles and books on military spouse living.
4) Learn the Culture. Your wife didn't just take on a new job, she joined a new culture. And so did you. And just as you can never fully appreciate a people or a culture by reading about it, neither will you come to understand military life unless you immerse yourself in it. Oh, initially it will be unsettling. Anything new is. But get past those early jitters, and take a hands-on approach to learning about military life. The books are informative, yes, but you will never get a true feel for "how things are done" on the ground unless you make it a point to go out and see how military life is lived. Keep your eyes and ears open at all times; you never know when you'll pick up something useful.
3) Admit your ignorance. It's hard to confess to someone, “I have no idea what the hell you're talking about.” “Could you walk me through 'X'?” “Could you explain 'Y'?” “What does 'Z' mean?” Have the courage to look someone in the eye and admit you have no idea what the hell is going on. Ignorance is no badge of honor, but compounding your ignorance by being too proud or too stubborn to throw yourself at someone's mercy…just enough to ask a question or two…is just foolishness. People will respond to you if you're honest about not understanding a term or a process. Own it, admit to being in the dark about something, and ask away.
2) Put yourself out there. I really came to appreciate this notion at the beginning of my wife's second assignment. We PCSed (that means "moved") to Germany, and during the day I was stuck in our "transition hotel" for many weeks with two young kids. Housing was very limited, and the German real estate market was wildly unfamiliar. There are many different practices for renting a home in Germany than those in the US. The orientations on post were informative, and the foreigners at the housing office were helpful. But not nearly as helpful as sitting at the hotel breakfast table with a dozen other military wives, all of whom were able to contribute some useful bit of knowledge and insight to the process. As a guy, I felt a little ill-at-ease about chatting with the wives after breakfast. But there would have been no way to secure our very adequate off-post housing if I didn't. These women were a group of smart self-starters who knew the lay of the land much better than I did. And there would have been no way I'd have picked up half of the useful stuff about our new life in Germany if I'd cowered in the hotel room, unwilling to confront an uncomfortable situation.
1) You're the Man of the House. And don't you forget it. Because there will be many times when you'll question it. There's a lot of testosterone surging around military installations, and you'll see, up close and personal, just how much of a marshmallow you really are. More than other jobs your wife might take, being a military husband will force you to clarify your idea of manhood and your sense of "how to be a husband and father." Manhood is not about jumping out of airplanes or unloading your clip in the direction of hostile forces. Manhood (and not only manhood) is about facing uncertain or terrifying situations and forging ahead. As a male military spouse, you're breaking new ground. You're an early adopter who's gotten in on the ground floor. Have the stones enough to be confident in yourself and in your marriage. Because there are any number of elements of 'military husbandry' that could end up making your life feel invaginated.
Chris Field has been an Active Duty Army spouse for 8 years. He teaches University Philosophy wherever his wife's duty stations take him, and writes regularly for DC Military Family Life. Having played college football, he knows that life can and will put you on your ass. Manhood begins when you pull yourself up and pick the turf out of your facemask. He hasn't snarled “Get off my lawn!” at anyone in at least a week.
Did you know that there are virtual career fairs held that allow you to meet and interact with recruiters from the comfort of your own home? Check out this press release from Veteran Recruiting Services about an upcoming virtual career fair for military spouses.
PHILADELPHIA, May 7, 2013 -- /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Veteran Recruiting Services, the recognized leader of virtual career fairs for the military community is pleased to host the Military Spouse Appreciation Day Virtual Career Fair in support of the White House Joining Forces Initiative on May 10th.
Military Spouses from all over the world with have an opportunity to meet and interact live with recruiters in the virtual career fair, and from the comfort and convenience of their home or office. Each employer will have a virtual booth that will provide everything the spouse will need to consider when looking at their next career choice.
Thirty of America's leading employers will participate including: 24 Hour Fitness, Aetna, Airgas, Citi, Comerica Bank, Convergys, DaVita, DialAmerica, DISH, Exelon, Graybar, Intercontinental Hotels Group, Lowe's, Military Spouse Employment Partnership, Nordstrom, Penske, Pfizer, Progressive, Sears Holdings Corporation, The Mission Continues, Travelers, TSA, USAA, Union Pacific Railroad, Verizon, Volt, Walgreens, Waste Management, Wells Fargo, and Xerox.
Military Spouse Appreciation Day
Friday, May 10th
1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Join us for a great event exclusively for Military Spouses, and be entered to win some great prizes such as;
$50 Visa gift cards every 30 minutes
$200 Coach gift card
One of the great resources we have at Macho Spouse is the Men's Room for Military Spouses (sorry ladies, this is a private Facebook page designed for all male military spouses only). We plan to start sharing some of the more informative/interesting conversations on our website, the thread below is our first "share." Some of the names have been hidden for privacy purposes, see if you can figure out which names are fake...
Jar Jar Blinks: OK, what is this "Rule of 72?"
Yoda: Interest multiplied by time equals 72.
C-3PO: If you're not good at exponential math, it's a quick way to estimate how long your investment will double, given an interest rate. For example: if a CD is earning 3%, then it will double in value in 24 years (72/3=24)
Yoda: To double your investment.
Yoda: ^C-3PO's way is easier to follow. Way easier.
Jar Jar Blinks: So where do these investments live? Seriously, do savings accounts work the same way, assuming you can find one that offers interest?
Yoda: NFCU has a 3% CD right now.
C-3PO: It's all a matter of risk vs. reward/return. The S&P 500, aka TSP C Fund, returned about 30% last year. But it was down 37% in 2008.
Yoda: I was taught to expect a 10% rate of return on index funds back in 06, so my ROTH would double in 7.2 years.
â€ªJar Jar Blinks: I guess I have a trust issue... Can I trust the folks at USAA to steer me in the right direction eggs
Jar Jar Blinks: Eggs... Heheheh
Jar Jar Blinks: When asking to set up investments?help
Yoda: Not 100%. Their funds are kind of expensive compared to vanguard and the TSP. But it's better than nothing and their life insurance is fairly priced.
C-3PO: "It depends" USAA only has 2 real index funds, but together they match the entire US stock market. They are not the MOST expensive. Their insurance is pretty well priced, but you're probably find even better at NMAA or the equivalent for other services.
Yoda: If only all branches could use NMAA...
I'm not as conservative as some. Instead if having 6 months of expenses on hand I have 6 months of expenses in a USAA ROTH IRA (no fee for withdrawals of principle with some caveats), and now put everything into ROTH TSP index funds (lowest fees in the world!).
Yoda: I do keep some liquidity (cash or accounts that can very easily be converted to cash), but since we run a surplus each month even after investing, and the military pay is as stable as it gets, I don't keep much in that account (plus I "float" all my expenses other than car insurance, so I don't pay July's expenses until mid-September (if we have to spend more I can transfer assets as needed, has never happened, but just in case), and the "float" on credit earns us rewards and consumer protections).â€¨â€¨â€¨â€¨â€¨â€¨â€¨ Blue Cash Preferred, 6% back at the commissary, 3% back at the gas station and 1% everywhere else (no fee for military).
C-3PO: â€¨â€¨ I haven't dealt with them, but I hope AAFMAA is as good as NMAA.
â€ªC-3PO: PenFed has pretty good credit cards for military too.
â€ªJar Jar Blinks: .... all these damn acronyms....
Yoda: FUBAR right?
C-3PO: (image that can't be shared)
C-3PO: Sorry about being a wiseass
â€ªJar Jar Blinks: Better than being a wide ass
Yoda: C-3PO, you've got to take it easy on Jar Jar Blinks, he's a submariner. Just think how many bumps to the head he's suffered.â€¨â€¨â€¨â€¨â€¨â€¨â€¨ But on a serious note, it's pretty cool how many guys in this group have an understanding of personal finance.
C-3PO: If I only had a nickel for every time I hit my head while underway (says the 6'3" Marine)
Mace Windu: Personally, I would put my money in a multitude of investments. Like savings,cd's, 401k, TSP, money market fund and precious metals. Never have all your eggs in one basket.
Admiral Ackbar: â€ªLuke, to be excruciatingly technically correct, it's the rule of 69.3. Here's the math behind the answer:
I like the way they cheat by assuming that for small interest rates, the natural log of the quantity (1 + interest rate) is approximately equal to (interest rate). So it's not much of a stretch of radcon math to assume that 69.3 is about the same as 72.
You can also use the math to figure out when you'll be financially independent:
Luke Skywalker: I think NFCU has a special going on that if you open an IRA with $100 they will give you $100. I have 4 IRA's at USAA, IRA at NFCU, TSP and a 403(b) at Fidelity. Saving about $500 a month between all the IRA's.
â€ªLando Calrissian: Boy you guys are starting to make me worry about my future. Where do I start when I have no job and only a limited amount that my wife has volunteered to me over the years in some sort of retirement account?
Yoda: â€ªLando, my wife and I each maxed out our Roth IRA's for her first four years of service so we could build up our emergency fund (with the stability of military careers I feel as though the ROTH IRA is a good place to stash an emergency fund that is a very low probiotic of being utilized).â€¨â€¨â€¨â€¨â€¨â€¨â€¨ Now all the money goes into her TSP, but it's our retirement account.
**If you are a male military spouse and would like access to this private page, please send a request through Facebook and we'll usher you in as soon as possible.