Serving your country is a great honor. Those who have never had the privilege really can’t ever know what it’s like. But anyone who is in the military — or now living in civilian life as a veteran — understands the incredible commitment and sacrifice at stake.
Even knowing all this, it’s also important to understand the other commitments in your life. None are greater than family. So you need to learn how to balance your service and professional life with the need to do everything in your power for your loved ones.
This isn’t easy. Military life is grueling. But even if you can’t make major changes overnight, you should already be thinking about where you want to be in the next five to 10 years. Time can fly by, and as you already know: If you’re failing to plan, you may as well be planning to fail.
Naturally, there are a lot of things to consider when we’re talking about the next decade of your life. But if you start with the following three areas, you will put your family in a great position to thrive in the future.
1. Finding a Home Base
Some aspects of military life are both fantastic and fantastically difficult at the same time. Moving around so much might be at the top of the list. While you get to see the world and your children may get the chance to experience so much, it can be hard to never put down roots in one community.
But, eventually, your family will probably be better off by establishing a home base. Especially as kids get older, relocating gets harder and there is much more to give up each time. You don’t have to necessarily put your career on hold right now if moving up requires moving around. But start thinking about where — and when — it will make sense to make a more permanent home. Schools and community are always big factors, and it can be very helpful to settle down near other members of your family if possible.
2. Pursuing the Best Education
Serving your country is a great tradition that many parents pass down to their children. It is a wonderful heritage that can give a family purpose, identity, and great pride. But whether your kids want to follow your path or not, they will be best served by getting the best education possible.
So you should be working now to plan their educational future. Tuition assistance from the military can be great down the line, but it’s key to also put a college fund aside so that they can take advantage of any opportunity that presents itself later. And in the meantime, getting into good schools now is very beneficial and the same goes for cultural and extracurricular activities. Think long and hard about how you can help your children be all they can be — whether that future is in the military or not.
3. Finding Financial Security
It’s hard to sleep well at night unless you know your family is safe. Physical safety is paramount — as everyone in the military knows all too well. But in our modern world away from the battlefield, financial security is almost just as important.
And this is yet another area where serving your country can prove very beneficial. There are a wide range of unique financial accounts, benefits, and perks available to military members through USAA. Many military families already take advantage of the institution’s robust insurance coverage options, including auto insurance, to stay protected even in the worst-case scenario. Don’t let opportunities go to waste when it comes to improving your financial future.
Making Your Next Commitment
Whether in the field or at home, we all need a game plan. And there is no time like now to start setting up your family for success in the near future.
Start thinking about where your family will be best served to live in the next few years, put a great priority on education no matter how young your kids are, and do everything you can to stabilize your financial security.
You have already done so much for your country. Now it’s time to make sure you are just as committed to your loved ones.