Male Spouse 101
At Macho Spouse, we believe Healthy Marriages positively impact the readiness of the active duty female spouse. If you're asking, "How do I do this?" - develop a healthy marriage - find some answers here.
Make A Difference Male Military Spouse - Macho Minute
A message to Civilian Male Military Spouses to encourage them to use what they know how to do to help others and make a difference in their communities.
MALE MILITARY SPOUSE YOU ARE NOT ALONE - MACHO MINUTE
A message to Civilian Male Military Spouses to let them know that "You Are Not Alone" in this journey as a male military spouse.
Did you know that American Flag Protocol (or American flag etiquette) is actually part of federal law? It provides general guidelines to answer some common questions about how the American flag should be handled and displayed. Although it is federal law, there are no federal penalties imposed for failures to comply with the law.
While stationed at Los Angeles AFB, I drove by this motel on the way to work one morning and I noticed that the US flag was flying upside down. People were entering and leaving the building as if nothing was wrong. So, I pulled in and asked one of the workers if everything was okay in the building and I notified him that they were dislaying the flag upside down. He said everything was cool and he fixed the flag immediately, but he didn't understand why I was asking if everything was okay. So I explained to him that a US flag flying or displayed upside down is a distress signal (extreme danger to life or property).
Did you know that a US flag flying or displayed upside down is a distress signal?
First, I would like to thank Macho Spouse's founder Chris Pape for all of his past, current and future hard work and dedication for the male military spouse community. Also, I want to thank Macho Spouse for the opportunity to write about one of my favorite subjects, BEER! In this blog I will write about beer from a consumer perspective, home brewer and craft beer professional.
Who am I?
I am a service-disabled Coast Guard veteran that transitioned to the craft brewing industry and have now been working in the industry for 18 years. I began my brewing career at a craft brewery in downtown Seattle just two weeks after being honorably discharged. During the course of my brewing career I have also worked in Brewpubs where I held the position of Regional Brewer for a chain of brewpubs. Currently, I consult for breweries and also operate a pilot system to teach prospective brewery owners and homebrewers about the differences between home brewing and professional brewing.
I am also a male military spouse, so I have had to juggle work (when I can), home brewing and the challenges that come with military life. During the last ten years I have primarily been at home taking care of my boys (now 7 and 10), earning a bachelors and just recently my master's degree. I have been keeping my feet wet by home brewing and doing some part time brewery consulting. Now, I am re-entering the craft brewing industry and will be an instructor at both a Craft Brewery Start-up Workshop and Craft Cidery Start-up Workshop for Oregon State University this Spring. Of course, immediately after the workshop we will be relocating so the next five months will be busy! Enough about me, let's talk beer!
(St. Paul, MN)—Award-winning independent publisher Elva Resa Publishing is pleased to announce the October 2014 release of Stories Around the Table: Laughter, Wisdom, and Strength in Military Life, a collection of personal stories from more than forty military family writers, including spouses, parents, children, and service members. (make sure you check out the list of authors guys...a few of us are represented in this group!)
From poignant to practical, tragic to humorous, these candid conversations shed heartfelt insight on many aspects of military life. Some subjects, such as deployment, reunion, combat injury, post-traumatic stress, and frequent moves, specifically reflect the military lifestyle. Writers also explore topics common to both military and civilian families, including marriage, education, parenting, friendship, faith, finances, depression, infertility, and grief, and how military life influences the experience.
The inspiration for the book came from a phone call Elva Resa author and publisher Karen Pavlicin-Fragnito received from a young military spouse who was facing several military life challenges. “We sent her a variety of books and suggested community resources,” says Pavlicin-Fragnito, a former Marine spouse, “but I really wanted to invite that young woman to my kitchen table, to have lunch or coffee or dessert with a handful of other military spouses who understand her life.”
At a spouse summit sponsored by Military.com in April 2013, Pavlicin-Fragnito spent two days gathered around tables, listening to military spouses recount stories and lessons learned from around the world. Many of those spouses regularly write or talk about their experiences on social media, in published books and columns, at workshops, or on the radio. “I wanted to invite them all to have lunch with that young spouse—and with other military families, new and seasoned—to laugh, cry, lend insight, and tell stories,” she says. “A book seemed like a great venue for a gathering of that scope.” The first person at the summit she invited to the literary table was Stars and Stripes columnist Terri Barnes.
Guys, the APA has determined that men and women share cognitive skills, we are fundamentally the same. The whole notion of guys being better at math and women being better at communication is simply a social construct. I firmly believe that statement, but that doesn't change the social construct.
This same social construct demands that we take care of our families and makes us feel like lesser men when our combat boot wearing women make more than us.
Throw that idea away, after all it's just an idea. Who makes what, doesn't have to matter.
Is it possible to buy a home with no money down? If you or your spouse qualifies for a VA home loan, the answer is yes. VA home loans are a special benefit available to current and ex-members of the U.S. military only and they can save homebuyers a lot of money. Veterans and active members of the U.S. military are eligible for some of the lowest interest rates on the market but that's not the only way VA Loans save buyers money. VA Loans are also "No Money Down" home loans.
Understanding "No Money Down"
"No money down" means homebuyers don't have to provide a down payment to obtain a VA Loan. Traditional mortgages or home loans require as much as 5% to 20% of the purchase price as a down payment on a home. On a $200,000 home that is between $10,000 and $20,000 that must be provided at the closing. Saving up that much money for a down payment is a huge stumbling block for many would-be buyers. They may have the credit and income qualifications needed to obtain a home loan, but just can't come up with the down payment. Too often they end up not buying their own home or they miss out on the home they really want.
The VA Loan program changes that and makes homeownership more accessible by waiving the down payment requirement. VA Loan mortgage lenders are willing to forego this requirement because VA Loans are backed by the U.S. Government. This minimizes the risk to lenders if a buyer defaults, which is one of the primary reasons down payments are typically required.
The following article was written for us by Ann Rayne, we found it very informative and full of solid advice.
When your loved one is away, it can be hard getting used to taking care of everything at home on your own. However, in some cases, their homecoming can be just as stressful as their absence.
Of course you want to help them enjoy their time off as much as possible, but sometimes, especially if you have little ones that require a lot of attention, there's no avoiding the stress of responsibilities that come with being home. You can get overwhelmed trying to find the balance between making their return home relaxing and incorporating them back into the daily routine. Also, they can get overwhelmed trying to take on their share while transitioning back into home life.
HuffingtonPost.com interviewed Sgt. First Class Kent Phyfe and his family to talk about the stress of homecoming. He said that while coming home is great, his wife doesn't deny that reintegrating him back into family life "is one of the hardest parts about being a military couple." He explained that the spouse at home has to be the mother and the father, taking over all the roles in the house. It can be difficult to release the duties at the drop of a hat to another person. While it's an issue that sounds trivial to those that don't experience it, it actually quite straining on a couple.
Wait, you're a stay at home dad? How'd you get on base?" said the hairstylist at the exchange when I responded to her question on what I did for the Air Force. This happens a lot when you're a military husband. You'll get salutes from the gate guards, military discounts that only apply to active duty personnel, and maybe if you're really lucky, the start of a chewing out over haircut and shave regulations by a senior enlisted person. Why? Because our wives make up a small part of the force.
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.
Fellow male spouse Tim Blake has a new post on his Army Dad Blog, "Thoughts on Command Pt 1." Army Dad is a blog by Tim Blake, a stay at home dad (sahd) who raises four beautiful children. He is the proud spouse of an Army Lieutenant Colonel and does his best to keep up with the kids and their activities. In his free time, he enjoys playing the bass and the occasional bass guitar building project. You can connect with him on twitter @ArmySpouse007.
You know, I started Macho Spouse because I couldn't find a job in my career field during our last PCS. Most of us military spouses have probably gone through similar depressing job-searches. But after two years of unemployment, here I am, back in the job market and gainfully employed. This time, however, I have a whole new appreciation for what it takes to land that next job. The following is a short list of what I learned during my latest employment drought.
The first thing every military spouse needs when planning his or her career is patience. Patience, patience, patience. We must understand that our career trajectories won't be as quick, or logical as our civilian counterparts. And that's OK. As long as we understand where we want to be at the end of our working life, taking a step backwards now and then isn't a big deal as long as it moves us further forward down the line. Remember, our life situations can change rapidly, so we don't have to find that “perfect” job today since we probably won't be able to keep it anyway. Focus on building your resume so that when your spouse does decide to retire, you will have a great resume and lot's of experience to land that “perfect”job.
The following is an excerpt from a paper I wrote titled “Changing Mechanistic Manufacturing”, which focuses on the culture metaphor inherent in many breweries. Of particular interest is the intrinsic (motivated by the nature of the work) characteristic of brewery workers.
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.
You're inside the store, so now what? With more stores providing more beers to choose from the task of beer shopping often leads to a paradox of choice for shoppers.
I believe going beer shopping should be a joyous occasion especially with the growing selection due to the surge of craft breweries in the U.S. Even if you are a naysayer that claims “I don't like beer” there is most likely an offering that will pleasantly surprise you.
However, the increased selection has also led to some confusion for consumers. For example, I often get asked how to select “good” beer by friends and even other shoppers.
We have all heard of the benefit of a good healthy diet. Included is the surge of Greek Yoghurt and all of the fabulous flavors that they have come up with. But did you know that 1 particular flavor should be avoided from our servicemembers diet?
Article by Craig Gilman, Faculty Member at American Military University
Joining the military means a life of training exercises and deployments away from home, not to mention periodic transfers with little choice of duty stations that can be found in countries half a world away. What comes with all that is a career, even if only for a few years, that provides opportunities for personal growth and satisfaction, professional challenge and reward, career development, and leadership opportunities that build a stronger resume.
Becoming a military spouse is a different story. In addition to the unpredictability of the military lifestyle and, often, the additional responsibility of being the de facto head-of-household and primary parental role model during deployments, there is no guarantee of a meaningful career or even temporary job to help pay the bills. Military spouses who want a professional career face high hurdles.
Military Base Firearm Laws can be confusing, especially when you end up living at two different military bases within one year like I did. I own several firearms and the first time I encountered military base firearm laws was during the PCS move when the movers asked me if my firearms were registered on the base. My response..."Huh?"
This incident took place when we had to move from the Pentagon to Maxwell AFB for my wife to go to school. I was already a male military spouse for more than 10 years, but I had never thought about or encountered military base firearm laws. An interesting point to note here is that in my entire time as a male military spouse, we have lived on base once. While this may have had something to do with my not encountering the military base firearm laws before this PCS move, it had nothing to do with my ignorance of the laws.