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Thread: Military Family Planning ($$)

  1. 1/2 hippie, 1/2 diva... all Jersey
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    #1

    Military Family Planning ($$)

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    DH and I are no where near ready to be TTC. Just want to get that out of the way. That being said, we are both super plan-a-head-ers and started talking about our goals for savings, house fund, how to pay down my student loans, retirement and, of course kids.

    After calculating the numbers I realized that (despite what the pre-marriage counseling Chaplain said) we are no where near being able to afford to have children.

    The problem is, kids are super super expensive and I have no idea how we'll EVER be able to afford kids. How are we supposed to pay down debt (only my student loans), save for a house, save for retirement etc... and give our future kids all the amazing opportunities that we had? I'm overwhelmed.

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    #2
    I don't think there are very many families, civilian or military that can "afford" to have kids.

    however we all do it some way or another;

    I had kids young and went back to school after getting married - I had no student loan debt at all- I got my education by getting grants, scholarships and paying the rest out of pocket.

    I also was a working mom the entire time my kids were growing up, they went to day care, summer camp and weeks and weeks with family when they got older.

    I never started education funds for my kids, and told them that I would help them financially to offset the costs after grants and scholarships. My son went into the navy for 8 years, got 2 degrees while AD and then got his bachelors using his GI bill.
    my DD graduated high school, got married , had a baby and is now attending school part time.

    we invest heavily in the TSP because this money comes right off the top before taxes, and you can start small and increase as he advances/promotes.

    for the house- there is the VA loan that will allow a member to buy with no money down. so there is really no need to save 20-30% ( you can if you want of course)

    my kids are grown and DH is retiring in 2 years. Life was not always easy, and we did not always have the latest and greatest. but they had a great life with family vacations, school trips ect.

    also my kids were not raised to be materialistic- no game systems, no tv's in thier rooms, no expensive clothes and shoes. we had small christmases, and hardly ate out. But we had season passes to the water park, busch gardens, they had new bikes as soon as they out grew the old ones, they were involved in sports, dance, gymnastics ect. we just prioritized what was important for every thing we did.
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    #3
    Quote Originally Posted by gunsgirl View Post
    I don't think there are very many families, civilian or military that can "afford" to have kids.
    Truth.

    That being said, I admire you guys so much for your fiscal realism and responsibility.

    Will he be deploying at any point? Deployment played a huge part in our ability to get rid of all debt (though, we don't have a mortgage yet either). Getting rid of all student and vehicle loans first really opened up funds to invest for retirement and save future house down payment and continued education.

    Kids are an interesting expense. We are of the mindset that saving will be much more difficult when we have kids because while we don't feel the need to splurge on ourselves, there are so many more expenses that go beyond necessities that we will be likely to take on at that point (private schools, summer camps, music lessons). For that reason, we really value saving while we are childless.

    It sounds like you both have good heads on your shoulders. I'm sure you will be fine
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    #4
    I agree with gunsgirl that it's about prioritizing. Retirement is number one for us. Neither of us wants to work until we're 70 or have to live off social security if it's even still around. So putting money in to TSP isn't even a question.
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    #5
    Quote Originally Posted by gunsgirl View Post
    I don't think there are very many families, civilian or military that can "afford" to have kids.

    however we all do it some way or another;

    I had kids young and went back to school after getting married - I had no student loan debt at all- I got my education by getting grants, scholarships and paying the rest out of pocket.

    I also was a working mom the entire time my kids were growing up, they went to day care, summer camp and weeks and weeks with family when they got older.

    I never started education funds for my kids, and told them that I would help them financially to offset the costs after grants and scholarships. My son went into the navy for 8 years, got 2 degrees while AD and then got his bachelors using his GI bill.
    my DD graduated high school, got married , had a baby and is now attending school part time.

    we invest heavily in the TSP because this money comes right off the top before taxes, and you can start small and increase as he advances/promotes.

    for the house- there is the VA loan that will allow a member to buy with no money down. so there is really no need to save 20-30% ( you can if you want of course)

    my kids are grown and DH is retiring in 2 years. Life was not always easy, and we did not always have the latest and greatest. but they had a great life with family vacations, school trips ect.

    also my kids were not raised to be materialistic- no game systems, no tv's in thier rooms, no expensive clothes and shoes. we had small christmases, and hardly ate out. But we had season passes to the water park, busch gardens, they had new bikes as soon as they out grew the old ones, they were involved in sports, dance, gymnastics ect. we just prioritized what was important for every thing we did.
    Thank you so much for your response. I completely forgot about VA loans, and DH has had TSP since the day his Drill Instructor made him sign up for it (even though they're not supposed to do that with recruits). You're also very right about the whole raising kids rich with experiences than material possessions. I never had a tv in my room (heck we don't have the cable hooked up now!) and neither was DH. We always were readers, playing outside or playing sports.

    Quote Originally Posted by Katyp View Post
    Truth.

    That being said, I admire you guys so much for your fiscal realism and responsibility.

    Will he be deploying at any point? Deployment played a huge part in our ability to get rid of all debt (though, we don't have a mortgage yet either). Getting rid of all student and vehicle loans first really opened up funds to invest for retirement and save future house down payment and continued education.

    Kids are an interesting expense. We are of the mindset that saving will be much more difficult when we have kids because while we don't feel the need to splurge on ourselves, there are so many more expenses that go beyond necessities that we will be likely to take on at that point (private schools, summer camps, music lessons). For that reason, we really value saving while we are childless.

    It sounds like you both have good heads on your shoulders. I'm sure you will be fine
    Thank you! I understand that other people can do it on a lot less, but I guess neither one of us are wired to do things without planning out (if at all possible). And to answer your question, lucky for us (although maybe not for our financial planning) DH is done deploying for the time being as he's going through the MECEP program via the USMC to become an officer. The next couple years (+/- 5) will be college, training and more training.

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    #6
    I think it was easy for us. At the age our kids are at now, I don't really find them all that expensive. I'm sure that will change. DH makes decent money though and we have enough without me working to pay my student loans, pay for the kids, save a little, go on vacation and pay into retirement. We also have two car loans. We've paid off a lot of debt and still have some more to go. We just prioritize. Sometimes the debt stuff takes a back burner so we can have some family fun. Just a priority for us. My DH is creeping up on retirement from the military though. He's also been smart while in the Air Force and has his bachelors and is almost done with his masters which will definitely help when he gets out. We plan on investing or saving his pensions and living off whatever new job he takes after. Should help a lot when we really do get old.
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    #7
    Have you considered talking with a financial planner? Through USAA you can talk with someone over the phone about your finances and they're really helpful.
  8. 1/2 hippie, 1/2 diva... all Jersey
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Jazmine View Post
    Have you considered talking with a financial planner? Through USAA you can talk with someone over the phone about your finances and they're really helpful.
    I have personally in the past, but I basically get told one of two things: 1) You're doing great... keep going and when you've massed enough to put into a portfolio (which at this point would be "other than TSP") we'll talk... or 2) They want to "play" with my money because I'm young and can afford more aggressive investments. Honestly, I'm just not open to that right now. I have a bench mark or two in my head that I would need to meet first before I ever allowed that to happen.

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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by sweetvanity View Post
    I have personally in the past, but I basically get told one of two things: 1) You're doing great... keep going and when you've massed enough to put into a portfolio (which at this point would be "other than TSP") we'll talk... or 2) They want to "play" with my money because I'm young and can afford more aggressive investments.
    Hmmmmm, that's an experience that reflects bad on financial planners! Planning should start with your goals...whatever they may be! This is a nice thread with some great thoughts...after reading I immediately thought of my oldest daughter (she's 23) complaining that her siblings (15 & 13) get to do a lot more neat stuff (family trips, etc.) than she did. True, we are just in a different place now than we were 15 years ago...you make do!
    J.J. Montanaro is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER practicioner with USAA Financial Planning Services one of the USAA family of companies.
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    #10
    FYI, if your spouse retires with a disability, his dependents may be able to go to college for cheap, just need to pay for books and fees. My dad is retired Navy with 10% disability. My uncle is retired Navy with 90% disability. My cousins, sister, and I were able to go to community college and university with the V.A. paying for the tuition. All we paid was books and fees. That's why I didn't have any student loans when I met my husband. I think it's only for California and it has to be either a community college or UC or CSU system and the dependent must be a resident of California for at least one year. They need proof of that. But research it.
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