Archive for the 'money' Tag

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Macho Money

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Macho Money

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Our Macho Money area has videos filled with valuable financial information including, Definitions, Military Spouse Investing 101, Financial Advice, and Money Do's and Don'ts.

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COMING SOON! Our Macho Money area has videos filled with valuable financial information including, Definitions, Military Spouse Investing 101, Financial Advice, and Money Do's and Don'ts.

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MACHO MONEY VIDEO SERIES

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Our Macho Money area has videos filled with valuable financial information including, Definitions, Military Spouse Investing 101, Financial Advice, and Money Do's and Don'ts.

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MilitaryTownAdvisor.com provides Neighborhood, Apartment, School Reviews near Military Bases

Here is a great chance to win some money for the holidays! Simply go to MilitaryTownAdvisor.com and leave a review of your current (and/or past) neighborhoods, schools, apartment complexes. The more reviews you leave, the more often you are entered to win! We all want as much information as we can get about our next move and Military Town Advisor is becoming a great resource for that info!

 
MilitaryTownAdvisor.com - Neighborhood, Apartment, School Reviews near Military Bases
 
militarytownadvisor.com
 
MilitaryTownAdvisor.com is a relocation resource where military families write reviews about their local areas, neighborhoods, apartment complexes and schools in military towns.

2294 Views | 50 Likes | 35 Dislikes | 0 Comments


Posted in Business Links

Macho Money Video Series

Posted in Macho Money

The Advantages of Being an Active Duty Entrepreneur

JasonAnderson.jpgThe Assumption:

At the basic level, I think it is safe to say that human beings fundamentally get tremendous satisfaction out of creating something that is uniquely their own. I personally think this spirit is at the core of all human beings. I see this everyday in my own children when they develop their arts and crafts and proudly show my wife and I the bounty of the effort they put in. As we grow older, graduate from high school, college (or both) and enter the work force, we become part of an organization. While jobs vary widely (as does job satisfaction!), an objective person walking into any organization can see that waning passion is not an uncommon theme. I often wonder if that lack of passion is the cumulative result of getting farther away from your own interests and passions over time.

1345 Views | 73 Likes | 40 Dislikes | 0 Comments


Posted in Macho Money

Macho Money Definitions - What Is An Investment?

vid_whatisinvestTwo.jpgWhat is an investment?  According to the American Heritage New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy (3rd Edition), an investment is, “The purchase of property with the expectation that its value will increase over time.”

Seems straight forward enough, but for those who want a more thorough explanation with examples from USAA Financial Counselors J.J. Montanaro and Scott Halliwell, click on the short video.

1308 Views | 57 Likes | 43 Dislikes | 0 Comments


Marine Corps Considers Allowing Homesteading - Is the PCS Going Away?

image for Marine Corps Considers Allowing Homesteading - Is the PCS Going Away?

As a military spouse, it's hard for me to miss all of the talk on the news about the Federal Government looking for things to cut from the budget. The buzz around my very small military circle of friends has included mentions of "budget cuts" since the beginning of this year. I can think of many different ways the military can save money and I was happy to see a story about the Marine Corps considering one of my ideas - "homesteading."

2648 Views | 73 Likes | 39 Dislikes | 0 Comments


Think the Fiscal Cliff is scary?

(The Old Fart speaks his mind and we encourage that at Macho Spouse.  However, The Old Fart's views do not necessarily represent the views of Macho Spouse...but he sure is fun to read.)

daveblog.jpgThink the Fiscal Cliff is scary?
Wait till you do your taxes!!!
You crazy political cry-babies, you stubborn fools who call yourselves the people's choice – are you really that blind?

2545 Views | 64 Likes | 37 Dislikes | 0 Comments


From Breadwinner to Stay-at-Home Dad

brodniakfamily.jpgBy Aaron Brodniak

My journey as a military spouse began shortly after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Within a week my wife was recalled into the U.S. Coast Guard and working as a sea marshal boarding ships and performing inspections. At that time, I was the primary breadwinner of the family and had a job as a regional brewer.

Initially my wife's return to active duty was an easy transition since her first duty station didn't require us to move. That soon changed and less than a year later we were assigned to a duty station that led to me leaving my job.

My first challenges were house hunting and trying to figure out what to do with my time. In my adult life I had served in the Coast Guard and then worked in the private sector; this was my first time not having a job outside the house. Since we were expecting our first child, we decided it made more sense financially for me to stay home and finish up my bachelor's degree before my G.I. Bill expired.

2118 Views | 58 Likes | 26 Dislikes | 0 Comments


How I Had the Best Summer Ever...While My Wife was Deployed

RobSitePic.jpgSince I've been married, one of the best summers I've had was when my wife was deployed.  Sounds crazy and maybe a little insensitive to my wife...but it's true!

First of all, don't get me wrong -- holding down the home front during the deployment was one of the hardest things I've been through. But without the structure of my wife's workweek I was able to spend the summer exploring the great outdoors with our 2 boys. We went on one camping trip after another, any day of the week. A couple times I didn't even bother unpacking the truck when we got home. I just did some laundry, re-packed the cooler, and after a day or two at home we headed back out to another National Park.

1289 Views | 49 Likes | 9 Dislikes | 0 Comments


How Much to Spend on Christmas Gifts

RobSitePic.jpgWhatever your Winter Holiday tradition, now is the time when many cultures have historically livened up the dark days of winter (in the Northern Hemisphere) with celebrations of community, charity, and gift-giving*.  Going into debt, however, should not be a part of your tradition.

How much should you spend on Christmas?


I'm big on using percentages when budgeting.  Except for the really, really poor or really, really rich, it makes sense to me that if Martha gets paid 50% more than George, then Martha can spend 50% more than George.  That generally goes for housing, cars, or Christmas presents. In other words, don't try to “keep up with the Joneses,” especially if you get paid less than the Joneses.  That's the idea behind the 60% Budget: keep regular, monthly expenses down to 60% of your gross income, so you can save 10% each towards retirement, long-term savings, and short-term savings; the last 10% is 'fun money' for Starbucks, beer, wine, pizza, McDonald's, toys, etc. Ideally throughout the year you've saved up enough in your short-term savings to pay for Christmas, even after you've paid for oil changes, shoes for the kids, and a trip to the beach over the summer.

 

1383 Views | 68 Likes | 21 Dislikes | 0 Comments


Find Military Family Deals and Discounts at MilitaryOneClick

Military One ClickWhen you are looking for military family deals and discounts, make sure that you visit the Shopping, Deals & Money page at  MilitaryOneClick. Here at Macho Spouse, we will continue to search for, ask for and highlight male military spouse deals and discounts. We want to help you save money by pointing you to the information that is already available online.

As we pointed out in an earlier post, MilitaryOneClick is the premier virtual resource for military families and the community that supports the military. So, visit the Shopping, Deals & Money page and see how they can help you save money.

[[EXLINK_14]]

Marine Veteran/Male Military Spouse - Scentsy? Yep!

AndrewWebPic copy.jpgMarine veteran and male military spouse, Andrew Ferguson, has stepped outside his comfort zone to make a little money.  He is selling Scentsy stuff.  Guys, THIS is the type of creativity, determination, and courage it takes to be a successful business person as a miltiary spouse!  When we asked how this new venture came about, this is what Andrew said:

1579 Views | 58 Likes | 25 Dislikes | 0 Comments


Macho Money Definitions - What Is A Bond?

vid_whatisbond.jpgWhat is a “bond?” No, not a secret agent from England, but an investment tool used to grow wealth.  According to the Wall Street Journal, bonds are a form of debt. Bonds are loans, or IOUs, but you serve as the bank.  You loan your money to a company, a city, the government – and they promise to pay you back in full, with regular interest payments.

Pretty understandable, but for greater detail and examples, click on the video and listen to Scott Halliwell from USAA explain.

1018 Views | 91 Likes | 23 Dislikes | 0 Comments


Posted in Definitions

Donating to a Worthy Non-Profit This Holiday Season? Here is a Worthy Organization.

My mom was looking to make a holiday donation to a trustworthy non-profit organization that supports military families, but she had no idea where to give.  I told her about this medium-sized non-profit doing great work putting military spouses and veterans to work, I believe they've placed about 7,000 veterans and spouses in 2015 (maybe more/less, I don't have access to the up-to-date numbers).

Unfortunately it's a fact that not every non-profit organization spends their money wisely, many pay for bloated salaries, bloated leases, and bloated bonuses before actually helping the military family.  CASY and MSCCN have busted their asses to keep their overhead low while spending most of their money/effort on finding jobs for every one of their applicants.  I believe they spend $.93 of every dollar on their mission...impressive!  But don't take my word for it, watch this video and learn more about these great people doing great things.  Then decide on whether you can trust them with your donation.

460 Views | 0 Likes | 0 Dislikes | 0 Comments


Posted in Find Work

When She Comes Home

HappyCouple.jpgThe 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.

 

1468 Views | 75 Likes | 37 Dislikes | 0 Comments


2015 'Thank You' and Year In Review

malemilitaryspouse_2015_YIRIt's the holiday season and to me that means spending time with family and friends while reflecting on the year that was. How many had a good year? How many of you feel as if you've accomplished, overcome, loved and laughed as much as possible? There have been a few bad years in my life where I just wanted the damn thing to finish so I could start fresh with a clean slate, it's a mindset, but we all know that reality doesn't work that way. I usually judge my life in a similar way as to how we judge football coaches, “what have you done for me lately.” My year was a good one, a net-positive. So congratulations, you get “happy Chris,” or at least “less grumpy and sarcastic Chris.”

The tremendous amount of progress within the male military spouse community is one reason why 2015 was a good year. Guys, we're finally starting to get some recognition. People, businesses, and other organizations are starting to approach us and ask for our input, insight, and yes, our business. Marketers are finally recognizing that we are a demographic worth pursuing; just check out this holiday spot from Toys R Us. (I just bought 4 gift cards for my nieces from them because of this commercial.)

In 2015, Macho Spouse was approached by the Sonoran Desert Institute's School of Firearms Technology to hold the first ever “Male Military Spouse Appreciation Day” where SDI donated a full-tuition scholarship to their popular Gunsmithing certificate course. (Male military spouses are a large demographic for them.) USAA asked for our participation to help raise awareness on the importance of life insurance during “Life Insurance Awareness Month.” Yeah, I didn't know that month existed before this opportunity either, but USAA sure knows that we exist! And Marriott really knocked us off our feet when they offered several nights worth of hotel stays in return for a few reviews on their TownePlace Suites properties. TownePlace Suites made it very clear that they are interested in helping military families who are on the road, from PCSing to family vacations, TownePlace Suites wants our business!  And it's not like this is some shabby hotel chain guys, their rooms are usually very spacious, clean, come with fully equiped kitchens, and hot breakfasts.  I was surprised to learn how many were actuallyl located near military installations, which makes them a great temporary housing option, or vacation get-a-way. In full disclosure, I dispersed their generous offering quietly among those guys who have helped keep Macho Spouse up and running over the last few years. We don't make any money here, so when a top-notch organization such as Marriott offers us some swag, I like to spread it out amongst our volunteers first. If you want access to some of this cool stuff, contact me and be prepared to help build our community. But while I'm speaking of TownePlace Suites, you guys should check them out because they're really showing their appreciation and commitment to our military community! That goes for USAA and Sonoran Desert Institute as well, these organizations aren't just talking about supporting male military spouses, they're actually doing it. So let's not forget to return this generosity in 2016.

While I'm patting others on the back, I can't forget the amazing content NextGen Military Spouse, Military.com/SpouseBuzz, and Military Spouse delivered on behalf of male military spouses in 2015. When I started Macho Spouse in late 2011/early 2012, there was nearly nothing…nothing, written for or about us male military spouses. No blogs, no websites, no Facebook pages, no nothing. Now look at us, male spouses are popping up everywhere! (We've probably had absolutely nothing to do with this trend, but I will take full credit.) So despite terrorism, politics, war, and racial unrest, life hasn't been all bad this year. It's been good enough for me to crack a cold one, light a cigar, sit back and reflect on how far we've come and how many goals are still left to accomplish. Don't worry, I won't be consuming and driving while reflecting, Dana and I have already booked our New Year's Eve room at the San Antonio Riverwalk TownePlace Suites. Happy 2015 everyone, have a safe holiday season!

685 Views | 0 Likes | 0 Dislikes | 1 Comments


Rune of the Apprentice - A Novel Written by a Male Military Spouse

Jamison Stone and wife 2.pngHello male military spouse community! 

My name is Jamison Stone and I am the spouse of Staff Sergeant Rebecca Bainbridge of the United States Army Field Band at Fort Meade, Maryland. Because of her assignment, my wife, and the rest of her company, are on tour and away from their families for over 100 days out of the year.



As you very well know, Military service is hard on families. While I speak more about this topic on my blog, the ongoing struggle is very taxing to both the heart and the mind. Most difficult for me is the sadness and depression of separation during my partner's deployment and training.



Sadly, many Military Families have it far worse off than we do, particularly those with service members actually in harm's way, and especially of course those who make the ultimate sacrifice defending our country. All these women and men who proudly wear the cloth of our nation, and their families, are true heroes.



Female Mil Spouses are very lucky to have a wide network of other military wives to lean on during these difficult times. Sadly, we men, are not as fortunate. Personally, I find it extremely challenging as an Army husband to find a real sense of community. This is particularly emphasized when my wife is away on training or tour.

1525 Views | 68 Likes | 0 Dislikes | 0 Comments


Conversations from the Men's Room - What is the

MensRoomImage.jpgOne 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.

‪Jar 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).






 Blue Cash Preferred, 6% back at the commissary, 3% back at the gas station and 1% everywhere else (no fee for military).

C-3PO: 

 I haven't dealt with them, but I hope AAFMAA is as good as NMAA.

‪C-3PO: PenFed has pretty good credit cards for military too.

‪Jar Jar Blinks: .... all these damn acronyms....

Yoda: FUBAR right?

C-3PO: (image that can't be shared)

C-3PO: Sorry about being a wiseass

‪Jar 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.






 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: ‪Luke, to be excruciatingly technically correct, it's the rule of 69.3. Here's the math behind the answer:
‪http://betterexplained.com/articles/the-rule-of-72/
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:
http://betterexplained.com/?s=rule+of+72

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.

‪Lando 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: ‪Lando, 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).






 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.

1176 Views | 67 Likes | 28 Dislikes | 0 Comments


Posted in Macho Money

Entrepreneurship 101: The Main Reasons You Need a Business Plan

JasonAnderson.jpgYou have captured your small business idea, now what do you do? If you are like me, once the idea is seeded in your mind, you begin to brainstorm the best way forward. But what is the best way forward. Depending on your own personal experiences, getting your mind caged to help your idea might be one of the most challenging things you do.

I think one of most amazing aspects of starting a business is the pure creation of the endeavor. I think the concept of turning your thought, a series of synapses that fired in your brain, into an existing and tactile entity is one of the best attributes to being human. I personally think this pure creation provides is what provides deep satisfaction and feeds the soul of man and woman. Despite the feelings that great ideas provoke, it is still hard to see the path forward if you don't know how to proceed. This is where the business plan fits in nicely.

1145 Views | 76 Likes | 38 Dislikes | 0 Comments


Posted in Macho Money

Entrepreneurship Fundamentals: Becoming the Entrepreneurial CEO

JasonAnderson.jpgA CEO is that one person who embodies the entirety of the business they represent. They internalize everything about the business and then direct their energy and effort into making good decisions that (hopefully) fall in line with strategies designed to grow the business into profitability.

What makes an Entrepreneurial CEO so special is their humble starting point. While CEOs of existing companies have resources, a staff, and money to operationalize their actions, an Entrepreneurial CEO typically has none of that. You are the resource. You set the framework from which to organize, then layout the business' milestones and timelines in pursue of the desired end state. You also have the challenge of simultaneously balancing present-day tasks with long-range planning and being able to effectively communicate that to the team. And ultimately, you are the one responsible for how well (or not) things turn out. Sound intimidating? It is! But you have some things working in your favor.

849 Views | 116 Likes | 0 Dislikes | 0 Comments


Posted in Macho Money

Game Show "Let's Ask America" Casting Military Women

LAAPromo.jpg

1245 Views | 59 Likes | 23 Dislikes | 0 Comments


Posted in Macho Money

How Do I Shop for New Health Insurance Coverage?

OK, here is an important topic USAA wrote about a few months ago and we obtained permission to re-post on Macho Money.  For those of you who are new to the military, you will receive your health insurance from Tricare.  Tricare is offered to all active duty members and their dependents.  Once your active duty spouse retires, your family is eligible for Tricare For Life.  However, if you guys decide to separate from the military before retirement qualifications are met, you aren't eligible for Tricare.  At this point the VA may be an option, but there are specific eligibility requirements so not everyone will qualify...plus the VA doesn't cover dependents.  So, for many of us, the pain of shopping for health insurance is inevitable.

 

Health insurance coverage is available to more Americans than ever under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), which created a marketplace of plans with a range of costs and benefits.

But before you start shopping around, it's wise to think about your needs and budget to find the best plan for you and your family.

Here's how to weigh your health insurance coverage options:

  • Figure out your budget. Your first move should be determining whether you're eligible for a health care subsidy under the ACA, says Bob Lord, product management director of health solutions for USAA. If your income is less than 400% of the federal poverty level, you may qualify. The subsidies are based on the second-lowest cost silver ACA plan in your area and can be applied toward more or less costly plans. "Understanding what you can afford outside of whatever the ACA is going to provide for you is powerful knowledge," Lord says.

  • Estimate your household health care expenses. If you are young, single and healthy, you likely won't be using services that often, and preventive visits are one of a range of essential health benefits covered under all plan levels. But families with young children can find themselves on a first-name basis with the staff at their pediatrician's office, so they should consider a plan that offers co-pays for office visits.

  • Peruse prescription benefits. If someone in your family is on maintenance prescription drugs, see what they'll cost. Health plans have a formulary — a list of prescription drugs they cover. Lord suggests choosing a plan where the formulary includes any brand-name drugs you use, as they are covered at a higher level.

  • Decide if you'll see Dr. Who. If keeping your current health care provider is important to you, find a plan with your provider in its network. Out-of-network providers are covered at a lower rate, if at all, than those in network. Conversely, if you find a plan that saves you a lot of money but makes your doctor or specialist out of network, weigh the savings versus having to switch providers.

Members with questions about health insurance coverage should contact USAA.

"We can help point them in the right direction if we have policies available or to the appropriate state-regulated or federal exchange," Lord says.

To get started, visit the USAA Health Insurance Marketplace.

(Note: USAA did not pay for this post, we re-posted because it is good information.  If you, or your company/organization, would like to offer more insight on this subject please feel free to contact us.)

500 Views | 0 Likes | 0 Dislikes | 0 Comments


Posted in Macho Money

Military Saves Week Aims to Motivate Male Military Spouses to Better Their Finances

Military SavesAs a male military spouse, I know how important it is to stretch every dollar as far as I can for my military family. I'm always looking for tips on how to save money and I really appreciate money saving tips for the Military Family.

Here are some questions to think about:

Do you have an emergency fund? Are you saving enough money for retirement? Do you have a budget? How close are you to financial freedom?

Military Saves Week (25 February- 2 March, 2013) is fast approaching, and we are helping to get the word out to the military community about this effort to motivate service members and their families to better their finances.

1693 Views | 65 Likes | 24 Dislikes | 0 Comments


Posted in Macho Money

Money Tool for Male Military Spouses - PowerPay

PowerPay Money ToolVery early in my experience as a male military spouse I encountered the [[EXLINK_4]]. I remember the day my wife brought home a floppy disk with the DOS version of this financial software. (Yeah, that just took me waaaaaay back.) It didn't have any frills, but PowerPay helped us calculate, plan and execute our path to debt elimination.

I know that there are plenty of money management tools out there. PowerPay is worth a look, especially if you need to develop your debt-elimination plan. This money management tool helped my family.

- Taurus

Posted in Macho Money

NO MONEY DOWN DOESN’T MEAN NO MONEY NEEDED

MollyPic.jpgBuying a house can often times seem like an impossible dream for the average American. But as military family members, many people believe it's “easy” because, when eligible, we can buy a house with “no money down.” Now when you hear this what do you think? What does “no money down” mean to you? Do you relate it to buying a car where you walk into the first dealership you find, you sign some papers and then drive off in your new car? Well, for most people, this is not the case. Buying a home is a wonderful thing, but if you are going to take on the single largest debt in your life, you may want to prepare yourself, take some time, and do it right.

940 Views | 55 Likes | 19 Dislikes | 0 Comments


Posted in Macho Money

Nurturing the Money Tree: Creating Income - Part 1

DirectionDivaLogo.jpgTo work or not to work that is the question on all of our minds at one time or another in our military careers.

It seems that the subject of employment comes up whenever money is tight, when the kids are all finally in school, or you PCS to a new duty station. I can't tell you how many times I have thought about getting a job outside of our home just so we could have a little wiggle room in the budget.

I even tried it one year to get some extra holiday cash, and frankly it was a disaster. Nothing got done, the kids were disappointed because I wasn't home when they came back from college, and my husband hated the fact that his life had to change, not to mention my home business began to struggle as well. (Yes, he is spoiled but the fact that he is a genius on the grill makes up for it)
For some military spouses working outside the home works for them, but for many of us the constant changes, multiple moves and unpredictability of our lives make employment very difficult unless you are fortunate to have a career that can move with you.

1045 Views | 111 Likes | 32 Dislikes | 0 Comments


Posted in Macho Money

Nurturing the Money Tree: Owning a Small Business- Part 2

DirectionDivaLogo.jpgIn Part 1 of Nurturing the Money Tree we chatted about creating income by working for someone else. But if you are like me, maybe working for someone else isn't for you, and many military spouses actually choose to own their own businesses.  I know I did.

This option gives them the flexibility and control that they are looking for while building something for their future at the same time.  Being a business owner has some great advantages, but if you don't know what you are getting into and you don't have a plan of action it can quickly take over your life or worse leave you in a financial pickle.

Posted in Macho Money

Totally Fake Reader Mailbag Edition

RobSitePic.jpg[These aren't real questions that avid readers have sent in, yearning for my sage advice. I'm just paraphrasing some discussions I've had about money with family, friends, and co-workers]

I just changed jobs. Should I leave my 401(k) with my old employer, or roll it over to my new employer's 401(k) plan?

No.

You shouldn't do either. You should rollover your old 401(k) into an IRA with low-cost mutual funds, like Vanguard. There are 2 main problems with 401(k) accounts in general:

First, the investment choices they offer are usually going to be fairly limited. They might not even have index funds. Opening an IRA with someone like Vanguard, Charles Schwab, or Fidelity gives you access to just about all of the mutual funds each company offers. It's like comparing a state-run grocery store in the Soviet Union to a well-stocked Wal-Mart in the United States.

(Click here for the rest of Rob's blog)

 

Rob Aeschbach is a male military spouse who spent 12 years as an active duty Marine before becoming a Navy spouse. Since then he has been a stay-at-home-dad for more than 10 years, served in the Marine Corps Reserve until his recent retirement, and started a personal finance blog.

1061 Views | 60 Likes | 23 Dislikes | 0 Comments


Posted in Macho Money

What Does "No Money Down" Really Cost?

FlagHouse.jpgIs 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.

1045 Views | 70 Likes | 22 Dislikes | 0 Comments


Posted in Macho Money

What is an Active-Duty Entrepreneur?

JasonAnderson.jpgAn active-duty entrepreneur is a military service member or spouse who deliberately plans and carries out the steps required to conceptualize, develop, and (perhaps) launch a small business while still on active duty. They understand that utilizing their unique military ecosystem (which provides job security, a dependable salary, health-care, and a predictable career timetable) provides them a built-in advantage over other aspiring entrepreneurs. In fact, the military ecosystem might be the ideal place to begin small business development. Think of the untapped well of entrepreneurial potential energy the Department of Defense has to offer! If only a small percent of the overall military population mobilized this new approach, it would be a game-changer by spurring small business development, innovation, and job creation resulting in an overall positive affect on the sluggish US economy.

2409 Views | 133 Likes | 27 Dislikes | 0 Comments


Posted in Macho Money

Before We Invest

vid_beforeinvest.jpgMacho Money Investing 101 is a video series based on the fundamentals of investing. These videos will discuss many different types of investment accounts, some basic investment philosophies, and offer advice on how to find the right financial planner to fit your needs. Investing is a risk we take to build financial wealth, and even though the level of risk varies from one military family and investment to another, there will always be an opportunity to lose money. Anyone remember 2008? So before we begin investing our hard-earned cash, we really should have our basic life needs covered just in case something goes wrong. In this video, Certified Financial Planners, Scott Halliwell and JJ Montanaro, discuss what anyone's first steps to investing should look like.  Wrestling with the idea of cutting money from your budget to build a savings account?  Below is some great advice from both JJ and Scott on why it's important to have some cash readily available in a savings account.

2576 Views | 81 Likes | 45 Dislikes | 0 Comments


Macho Money - What Worked For Me with Alan Brown

vid_workAlan.jpgMacho Money "What Worked For Me" videos are a series of short videos that highlight some financial successes people have accomplished.  These quick interviews are not from Certified Financial Planners, bankers, or any other type of sophisticated financial gurus...they are normal, hard-working people who made some smart decisions with their money.  In this video, Alan Brown shares a quick tip on what helped him start a savings plan nearly 20 years ago.  We can only imagine how much he has in savings today!

1004 Views | 52 Likes | 25 Dislikes | 0 Comments


Macho Money - What Worked For Me with Julie Finlay

vid_workJulie.jpgMacho Money "What Worked For Me" videos are a series of short videos that highlight some financial successes people have accomplished.  These quick interviews are not from Certified Financial Planners, bankers, or any other type of sophisticated financial gurus...they are normal, hard-working people who made some smart decisions with their money.  In this video, Julie Finlay shares why she is looking at a potential early retirement.  If you've already seen Alan's video, we think you'll start to notice a patern.

1163 Views | 57 Likes | 25 Dislikes | 0 Comments


Macho Money Definitions - What Is A CD?

vid_whatiscd.jpgIf you hear someone use the letters “CD,” they are abbreviating the term “certificate of deposit.”  And according to Investopedia, a CD is A savings certificate entitling the bearer to receive interest.  A CD bears a maturity date, a specified fixed interest rate and can be issued in any denomination. CDs are generally issued by commercial banks and are insured by the FDIC.  The term of a CD generally ranges from one month to five years.

It can get a bit confusing, but for a more clear explanation with examples, click on the video and listen to Scott Halliwell from USAA.

1123 Views | 50 Likes | 30 Dislikes | 0 Comments


Macho Money Definitions - What Is A Market Index?

vid_whatisindex.jpgWhat is a “market index?"  According the SEC, a market index tracks the performance of a specific "basket" of stocks considered to represent a particular market or sector of the world stock market or the economy.

 

There are indices for almost every conceivable sector of the economy and stock market.

USAA Certified Financial Planner, Scott Halliwell, does a great job in this video of giving a more thorough explanation of a market index with some examples.

1434 Views | 59 Likes | 32 Dislikes | 0 Comments


Macho Money Definitions - What Is A Mutual Fund?

vid_whatismfun.jpgAccording to Investopedia, a mutual fund is an investment vehicle that is made up of a pool of funds collected from many investors for the purpose of investing in securities such as stocks, bonds, money market instruments and similar assets. Mutual funds are operated by money managers, who invest the fund's capital and attempt to produce capital gains and income for the fund's investors. If you're still a bit confused, click on the video and watch USAA Certified Financial Planner, Scott Halliwell explain in further detail.

1085 Views | 54 Likes | 29 Dislikes | 0 Comments


Macho Money Definitions - What Is A Stock?

vid_whatisstock.jpgWhat is a stock? According to Dictionary.com, a stock is:

1. the outstanding capital of a company or corporation.
2. the shares of a particular company or corporation.
3. the certificate of ownership of such stock; stock certificate.

Click on the video and listen to a couple cool USAA Financial Counselors give a more thorough explanation with examples.

1100 Views | 61 Likes | 27 Dislikes | 0 Comments


Macho Money Definitions - What Is An Investment Account?

vid_whatisinvacc.jpgAn investment account is defined by the web as an account that allows you to invest in a wide variety of securities including stocks, bonds, mutual funds and fixed income products. InvestorWord.com defines an investment account as an Account held at a financial facility for the purpose of a long term investment for capital preservation, growth or fixed income. Both are correct, but you can get a more thorough explanation in this video that features USAA Certified Financial Planner, J.J. Montanaro.

3333 Views | 63 Likes | 35 Dislikes | 0 Comments


Macho Money Definitions - What Is An IRA?

vid_whatisira.jpgWhen talking investments, IRA is the abbreviation for “Individual Retirement Account,” not “Irish Republican Army.” According to About.com, IRAs are basically savings plans with lots of restrictions. The main advantage of an IRA is that you defer paying taxes on the earnings and growth of your savings until you actually withdraw the money. The main disadvantage is the tax law imposes stiff penalties if you withdraw the funds before you turn age 59.5 years old. There are different types of IRAs, each with their own tax implications and eligibility requirements. And here is a little fun fact, IRA's stem from the early 1970s when NBC broadcasted a television special called “The Broken Promise,” which showed Americans the consequences of poorly funded pension plans. In this short video, USAA Certified Financial Planner Scott Halliwell explains IRAs in further detail.

1156 Views | 53 Likes | 7 Dislikes | 0 Comments


Why Invest

vid_whyinvest.jpgOK, so you've taken the advice from our last video, "Before We Invest," and built-up a cash savings account.  Great.  But now that money is looking pretty good in savings, why risk any of it playing the stock market?  Having something is better than having nothing...right?  When it comes to planning for retirement, not exactly.  In this video, Scott and JJ (Certified Financial Planners with USAA) share some great insight on why it's important to start an investment account, what we should consider before beginning, and why it's not a good idea to simply start throwing money at random stocks.

Macho Money Investing 101 is a video series based on the fundamentals of investing. These videos will discuss many different types of investment accounts, some basic investment philosophies, and offer advice on how to find the right financial planner to fit your needs.

1434 Views | 72 Likes | 32 Dislikes | 0 Comments


How to be a Happy Military Husband

JackL.jpgWait, 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.

1503 Views | 47 Likes | 24 Dislikes | 0 Comments


Posted in Male Spouse 101

I Will SAVE America

JoshPicCrop2.jpgDid you know a total of 66% of Americans over the age of 20 are overweight, with a whopping 34% of those being obese.  And did you know that a little over 9 million children in America are overweight or obese?  Can you believe that a total of $1.7 trillion dollars goes toward treating overweight Americans annually?

Let's take a look at what happens to your body when you are overweight/obese.  If you “live” in this category, the door is open for you to have many different types of health problems that include high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, and certain types of cancer.  All of which lead to a shortened life expectancy and a decreased quality of life.

1076 Views | 82 Likes | 23 Dislikes | 0 Comments


Acronym Hell - Part 2

Acronym HellA List of Basic Acronyms and Terms for the Rookies - Part 2

Start learning what in the world your wife and her co-workers are talking about today! This is a basic, beginners list of military acronyms (something the military is very fond of creating).

Why Learn?

Let's be honest. You won't make it 6 months without some of this basic communication knowledge.

This is the second part of the basic military acronyms and terms list.

1621 Views | 75 Likes | 34 Dislikes | 0 Comments


Macho Spouse at the 2013 Military.com Spouse Summit

Macho Spouse and Chris Pape are mentioned in Alice Swan's article, Tuning in to the Military Spouse Network, in which Alice covers lessons she learned at the 2013 Military.com Spouse Summit (April 11-12, 2013). Here is what Alice wrote:

Build a service out of your unique experience and skill: A great example is Chris Pape, male military spouse and founder of Macho Spouse (http://malemilspouse.com/). Chris was kind enough to talk with me about how he started Macho Spouse.  Living in Columbia, SC, while his spouse is working on an ROTC assignment, Chris said he began to feel pretty isolated. He thought he was the only guy spouse out there looking for information and help. About two years ago, Chris began researching male military spouses on the web but found only two articles about guys manning the home fronts. One of the stories was written by Amy Bushatz who you may remember from my Spouse Summit blog: http://www.dcmilitaryfamlife.com/profiles/blogs/you-are-not-alone.

Chris emailed Amy, who helped introduce him to Wayne Perry, founder of Manning the Home front (http://www.dcmilitaryfamlife.com/profiles/blogs/the-outlook-for-mil...) – it was the Military Spouse network in action.  A video producer for 15 years, Chris had been working in Arkansas for the Department of Education, creating instructional videos before the PCS to Columbia. “I didn't see any information sites out there for guys to help share lessons learned or how to find jobs,” Chris told me, “so I decided to use the skills I'd developed making the educational videos to create learning videos for male military spouses.” Chris's fledgling video series has grown into a full service site for male military spouses to connect, get information on employment, money tips or gain insights through the Male Spouse 101 tutorial.

Facing another PCS soon with his Air Force spouse to San Antonio, Chris is excited about the opportunities the move presents. “I'm building a business I can take with me,” he explained. And while Macho Spouse is his future, Chris feels it can also lead to other opportunities in the present. Chris is confident that the work he's done creating Macho Spouse will lead to video and film production work in Texas.

1213 Views | 121 Likes | 30 Dislikes | 0 Comments


Posted in News

CFPB Changes Stay-at-Home Spouse Rule

The federal government's consumer watchdog has changed a regulation to make it easier for stay-at-home parents and others who don't work to be approved for new credit cards.

Monday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finalized a regulation change to allow card companies to consider financial support from other people when evaluating a consumer's credit-card application. It changes a 2011 regulation under which banks were allowed to consider only the applicant's income.

The 2011 regulation and its more accommodating new version both grew out of the Credit CARD Act of 2009. Its underlying purpose was to clamp down on students getting cards and racking up debt they couldn't repay, and it required individuals applying for credit to demonstrate an ability to repay what they borrowed.

As originally written, though, the regulation had a side-effect impacting more than students: Its "ability to repay" language meant that anyone who relied on someone else's income -- including stay-at-home parents or spouses who are divorced and don't work -- suddenly had a harder time being approved for credit cards and building credit histories in their own names.

"Stay-at-home spouses or partners who have access to resources that allow them to make payments on a credit card can now get their own cards," CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in announcing the rule change.  The agency proposed the change in October 2012, calling it a common-sense move.

Instead of just an individual's income, issuers can now consider broader measures, such as "available income" or "accessible income." Previously an issuer could not consider household income -- which used to be widely used on credit-card applications -- without confirming how much money the applicant has access to in order to pay bills. The changes apply to people 21 and older. 

932 Views | 63 Likes | 3 Dislikes | 0 Comments


Posted in News Headlines