Soon to be military wife ...

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-19-2006
Soon to be military wife ...
6
Sun, 08-22-2010 - 9:24pm

So my husband has decided to join the military. We have two children, a 3-year-old son and a 2-year-old daughter. This is just a whole new world to both of us ... I don't know even what to ask right now. I guess my main concern is the financial side of things. Is it doable for us to live off his salary alone if I stayed home? Currently we both work and the kids are in daycare, but the hope is that with this career move, he'd be able to provide for us so that I can stay home with the kids.

Anyway, help? What should I ask? What should I know? I just really have no idea ... where to start. What am I in for?

Thank you ladies so much for any help. I really appreciate it.

Caressa

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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-22-2008
Sun, 08-22-2010 - 11:19pm

Hi Caressa, and welcome! :) I'm Jess, and my husband is active duty Army. Which branch did your husband join? Most things differ from branch to branch, so we'll be able to answer your questions better if we know which branch he joined.

First, I'll answer your financial question. Military pay is based on a combination of rank and years in service. You can find the pay charts here: http://www.dfas.mil/militarypay/militarypaytables/2010WebPayTable34.pdf. Find your husband's rank on the left and then follow it over to the appropriate years in service (in this case, it will be the first number since he just joined). That number is the pre-tax amount of his monthly base pay.

On top of base pay, you will also receive a housing allotment that varies by rank and location (no tax is taken out of this), and most likely some kind of subsistence allowance. The subsistence allowance is usually a couple hundred dollars that is supposed to pay for food for the servicemember.

There will be a few deductions taken from his pay, like a small amount for his dependents health/dental insurance, state/federal taxes, a little for his life insurance plan depending on the amount he opts in for, etc. Other than taxes, it's not all that much though.

As far as what other things to ask, I would recommend just asking as questions come up. There is a lot of information to process and everyone's situation is unique. There are a lot of variables based on job, location, branch, rank, etc.

My best piece of advice to to try and find out how things pertain to your situation and not to expect a cookie cutter experience. Find out as much as you can and try to stay on top of things, especially pay and what not. Sometimes they don't get things right and you have to catch them yourself.

Also, be prepared for a lot of red tape. Sometimes it seems like no one knows the right answer and people keep directing you in circles. The internet has been a valuable tool for me in finding out about different military programs and what not, and if I have a question, I usually see if I can find the answer on my own before trekking out to an office on post.

I wish you the best of luck! Please make yourself welcome on the board, the ladies here are awesome, and feel free to ask questions as often as needed! We have a special section on our board just for military-related questions.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-19-2006
Sun, 08-22-2010 - 11:51pm

Thank you so much, Jess!!

He hasn't joined yet. He's going to talk to both an Army recruiter as well as one from the Air Force. The issue we're running into is that the Air Force, from what we hear, isn't too keen on granting admission when you have two children. Spouse + one child is acceptable, not two. So that's been a bit of a headache.

His first ... not choice, but reaction, I guess, was for the AF. But he also really likes the Army. One of his good friends is in the Army reserves and he's been talking him up about how great it is. I think, for my husband, it's just something he really feels like is going to be a good fit for him. I'm on board, just so ... unsure of what it will really mean for our family. Ideally I'd want to stay home with the kids, even though I know he won't make much.

On that topic, how difficult is it, in all of your experiences, to get a house on base? If we're not able to, how much of a housing allowance is given out? I know that will depend on the location, but is it enough to live in a good area?

Thanks! I feel like I'm just sort of rambling here ...

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-14-2008
Mon, 08-23-2010 - 12:53am

I didn't read the previous person post but here is how it is for us. My husband is in the Air Force and I am not working and we have a 2 year old plus are trying for our second. With no plans for getting a job for a couple years, I will be in school, sometimes money is an issue. Most of it stems from how much we spend eating out, new car, and such. Anyways it is doable but you have to understand and be okay to not have a ton of money and seems that you are.

As far as housing goes we have never lived on base but know that we come out ahead by not living on base. We make the sacrifice of living in an apartment though instead of a house so that we can afford other things. We are getting $981 but only pay $830 for rent so we pocket the extra for example. Good luck with the process and hope it works out great for you.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-22-2008
Mon, 08-23-2010 - 10:50am

Housing depends on the base. There is usually a list you have to get on, but you can get your names on the list as soon as you get orders to wherever you're going. The place we're at right now has pretty much no wait time. But I know that isn't always the case.

Then it also depends on whether or not you want to live on post. From our experiences, it's almost cheaper to live off post, depending on how fancy of a house you are looking for. If you live on, they pretty much just take all of your housing allowance to cover your rent/utilities. I believe you have to pay extra for your cable/internet, but don't quote me on that. If you live off post, you may be able to find somewhere that is less expensive all around(rent + utilities) than the amount of your housing allowance , so you can pocket a little extra off of it. It's not always the case, but it is possible in some places.

As for good neighborhoods, that is a lot dependent on the base you get to. Some places have nearby towns with pretty rough areas in them, and others don't. Where we live now is pretty nice all around. There are some areas nicer than others, but none of them are really all that bad. The last place Brad was stationed wasn't totally like that though.

What type of job is your husband looking at going into if he joins the Army? The job he chooses will affect what type of potential sign-on bonus he may get, as well as what your experience in the military will be like. Some jobs are more dangerous than others, some more time-consuming, some more stressful on the family, etc.

And his previous experience and education will affect what rank he would be able to enter at, which will determine how much you will make.

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pregnancy week by week
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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-19-2006
Tue, 08-24-2010 - 1:40pm

Thank you ladies so much! It's been a crazy last few days ... we've found out that it's really pretty difficult to get in to the Air Force with two kiddos, so he's looking into both the Army and the Navy now. He's so excited about this ... it's amazing because he's really struggled to find his "place."

Anyway, he's talking to an AF and Navy recruiter tonight to see what they have to say.The wait time for basic training in the Navy is a year. He was really hoping to start this next step much sooner than a year, though, so he's also going to meet with an Army recruiter to hear what she/he will have to say.

Thank you for responding to me! If there's anything you can think of—tips, ideas ... anything!—I'd love to hear more!

Caressa

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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-05-2007
Tue, 08-24-2010 - 2:22pm

The other ladies have give you some great advice. I hope your DH is able to do what he wants to do with the military.

I hope you stick around here with us. These ladies can answer pretty much any question you have and can give you support and make you laugh also! Pretty much everything a military spouse needs ;)

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