wedding planner
about us
site map

BRO Features
Feature Story
Featured Events
Picture of the Month
Great Ideas
Wedding Topics
Latest Trends
Your First Home
Cooking for Couples
Romance & Money
Fit & Beautiful
Relationship Guide
Love Stories
Ask the Experts
Fun Stuff

The Green Corner
 Organic and  Sustainable Weddings

Destination Weddings

BRO Store
Favors & More



Laura Hunt

Romance & Money

Special Issues for Military Families

Surviving financial hardship

Vanessa in Jonesboro, Arkansas:
"My fiancé and I are getting married in two weeks. At the end of June, he and his reserve unit will ship off to Iraq for an undetermined amount of time. While he is gone, he will not receive salary from his regular job as a telecommunications project manager, but they will keep his job open for him until he returns. Since it appears things are coming to a close in Iraq, hopefully he won't be gone long.
However, I am concerned about keeping our collective heads above financial water while he's gone. We will have less than half our normal income. His salary was $65,000.00, mine is only $20,000.00. His military pay is close to mine. This is a huge financial hit for a young couple that hasn't started saving yet.
What can I do to cut costs and protect our credit in the absence of the additional $45,000.00 that we've grown so accustomed to? HELP!

Well Vanessa, I admire your pro-active concerns about your credit and financial situation. In your question you don’t reveal any particulars, so I will start with some fundamental assumptions:

First, if you have a wedding coming up, and not a simple justice of the peace marriage, pull all your friends and family together and spend a day on the phone calling the guests. Plant the seeds of patriotism. We all wonder what we can do in times like these. Supporting our troops and their families is paramount in my mind.

Let them know that since your loved one has been called to serve, there will be a money tree (giving opportunity) at your reception. No gift of support will be too small. This is an old tradition that got lost somewhere in our politically correct (yet often financially inept) society. In my opinion there is no more appropriate gift for a young couple just starting out than money.

Now, stash whatever you receive in a bank account for emergencies only!

Other than that, there are five additional things you should do:

  • Jointly decide what your monthly goals are while your spouse is away. In other words, develop a plan, and work the plan. Without honest communication and short term goals, you never will reach your long term dreams.
  • Between whom there is hearty truth there is love…
    Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

  • Put away your debit card. It’s too easy to use. Carry only the amount of cash you need to spend. You will know this amount by creating a livable budget. See my past columns section and click on ‘monthly budget worksheet’ to get started.

  • Record your daily and weekly spending habits in a notebook that you carry with you at all times. This includes; gasoline, coffee, gum, and pantyhose. Everything!
  • Restructure all debt while rates are low. In addition to the mortgage and credit cards, refinance auto loans. Take a look at all debt, and reduce the interest you pay. Since you are not yet legally married, have your spouse reduce his interest rates before he leaves, or have him leave you with a notarized "power of attorney" to do this for him. Some companies will accept this. Some won’t. All you have to do is call the creditors and ask them to lower the rates. Then ask them if that’s the best rate available for you. Check out other companies with 0 percent on loan balance transfers. BUT be aware of what other charges may be involved, and when that rate will adjust to something higher. Weigh the pro’s and cons of a balance transfer carefully.
  • Then put your credit cards in a safe deposit box, or the equivalent, and use them ONLY when absolutely necessary.
  • I will add one more thing: if you own property jointly or have joint debt, be sure he has a life insurance policy that names you as beneficiary, and visa-versa.
  • Remember:
    The safest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it in your pocket.

    Kin Hubbard (1868-1930)

    Additional information on this topic:

    Read Earlier Articles
    Editorial Calendar & Monthly Budget Worksheet
    Important Financial Help Websites and Phone Numbers

    © 1995 - 2012