Military Life Planning is a resource for optimizing your military pay, benefits, taxes, budgeting, saving, investing, and planning for your life!
Helping inform, educate, and advise military members and their families about the best ways to optimize their finances/benefits and plan their present and future to align with their goals and values!
Hello, and welcome to Military Life Planning! My name is Daniel, and I trust this site and its associated Facebook and Twitter accounts will help inform, educate, and advise you and your family about the best ways to optimize your finances and benefits as you plan for your present and future.
I’ve always been interested in money since I was a little kid, including out-bidding my siblings for chores-for-hire, to providing loans to my siblings and friends when they had spent all their money and diligently saving my allowance for future goals. Over time this evolved into reading the stock pages in the newspaper as a young teenager and then choosing to major in economics in college. I have read hundreds of books and spent thousands of hours studying financial planning topics, especially as they relate to military issues. I’ve been informally helping and educating family and friends for many years and love every minute of it. My next step is completing the Certified Financial Planner ™ certificate program which will help further expand my ability to address an even broader range of financial planning concepts.
I’ve created this site as a way to share with a broader audience and formalize much of what I have already been doing. Military members live a unique life that a majority of Americans not to mention financial “experts” often have no experience with and limited ways to even relate to the vast challenges that military life brings. I have a passion for helping military members and their families first identify their values and goals and then make a plan to achieve them.
As an officer on active duty for over 9 years, along with a brother, sister, and brother-in-law in the military, I’ve experienced firsthand the benefits and challenges that military life can have on all aspects of life especially finances. Frequent changes like TDY’s, deployments, and PCS’s add unique potential opportunities and obstacles to meeting your goals and dreams. Add in the often disparate and sometimes confusing military pay, benefits, scattered military discounts, and countless people offering advice or services, and there is often a lack of clarity on how best to optimize all of these to best meet your goals. I’ve seen and been through much of what you probably have questions about. I’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t. What’s important and what isn’t. In all of these cases, you are looking for information you can trust to help you achieve your dreams.
My personal philosophy on money can best be summed up with the concept of stewardship. A dictionary definition of stewardship is “the responsible overseeing and protection of something considered worth caring for and preserving.” Another word we often use in this same concept today is fiduciary. I have a broad responsibility of being a wise steward of the many blessings, not just financial, that I have been given. First and foremost, I have that responsibility to God to use His abundant provision with an eternal perspective. I must be mindful to not separate God’s blessing from His purpose … He has so blessed me so I can bring honor and glory to Him and be a blessing to others! Secondly, I have a responsibility to provide and care for my family with wise planning for our finances. Lastly, I have a responsibility to all those whom I am privileged to work with and educate including each and every reader of this blog. I make a promise that I will apply those same fiduciary principles of stewardship to everything I do.
Military Life Planning has 3 Primary Goals:
- Inform – through timely, relevant, and factual data on personal finance issues related to military members and their families
- Educate – through in-depth yet approachable analysis and detailed research
- Advise – through case study examples and Q&A
Daniel received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics from Purdue University as a third-generation Boilermaker, where he graduated with Highest Distinction and was named one of the Top 10 Krannert School of Business Seniors in a graduating class of over 850. He has also received his Master of Arts in Military Studies and Strategic Leadership from American Military University. He is now currently working towards a Master of Science in Personal Financial Planning from the College for Financial Planning as well as his certification as a Certified Financial Planner (CFP ®). Daniel is a Distinguished Graduate from ROTC as well as his Initial and Mission Qualification Training. He has a passion to help military members and their families achieve their financial goals and has spent hundreds of hours doing pro-bono counseling.
From many family trips across the US during childhood, to studying abroad in Asia during college and multiple deployments and TDYs, Daniel has traveled all over the world and has a passion to experience different cultures, ideas, and food. Daniel was married to his late wife Sarah for almost 5 years and has a heart to help other widows and widowers through many of the challenges of losing a spouse.
The military is one of the greatest organizations in the world at training its members to plan, practice, and execute its mission. It’s likely that you have spent countless hours studying, conducting exercises, and following through on objectives. Forming a financial plan uses those same exact skills. As General Dwight Eisenhower said, “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything,” the same holds true for planning your life and finances.
Plan for the worst, but hope for the best. Keep things simple, fees low, minimize taxes, maximize tax-advantaged savings, never panic, practice appropriate asset allocation and diversification for your goals and risk tolerance, have a regular disciplined rebalance and/or dollar cost averaging plan. If you find some of these terms or concepts intimidating, don’t worry! Military Life Planning’s goal is to help teach you these concepts and also share other helpful resources that will help give you the tools you need to achieve your financial goals.
Military Life Planning does not represent the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, or any government agency. All written content on this site is for information purposes only and should not be considered professional financial or legal advice. Opinions expressed herein are solely those of Military Life Planning unless otherwise specifically cited. Any appearance of advertisements does not constitute an endorsement of that product or service. Military Life Planning does not provide investment advice, nor is it an offer or solicitation of any kind to buy or sell any investment products. Material presented is believed to be from reliable sources and no representations are made by Military Life Planning as to another parties’ informational accuracy or completeness. This website may provide links to others for the convenience of our users, but has no control over the accuracy or content of these other websites. All information or ideas provided should be discussed in detail with an advisor, accountant or legal counsel prior to implementation.