Steve Goodwin, military veteran and Vice President and Senior Portfolio Management Director at Morgan Stanley in Chicago — as well as a Chairman of the National Louis University Veteran’s Program Advisory Council — recently shared important budgeting tips for student veterans to keep in mind.
Military veterans have many transitions to make, including pursuing a college degree, when they return from active duty. Following a sound budgeting process can help to make the financial transition smoother, as well as identifying a military-friendly college or university. Below are some important steps to keep in mind for veterans returning to school.
1. Secure financial aid.
Make a good contact in your university’s financial aid office and make sure you understand the process. Specifically, be aware of the timeline of when financial assistance will be generated. Sometimes this could be anywhere from 30 to 60 days.
2. Conduct a personal budget analysis of at least six months of expenses.
Have a strong understanding of all fixed expenses, including housing, utilities, transportation, groceries, etc. With this knowledge, you will be more equipped to complete steps 3 and 4.
3. If you’re relocating, do a local analysis of the areas you’re considering.
Each municipality has basic information about each town, such as median income, home prices, etc. Make sure that you identify a home in a location that is ideal for you and your family. Is it close to work, school, transportation, etc? Do you want to buy or rent?
4. Have at least six months of reserves to sustain you, especially when returning to school.
You might experience some unexpected housing, car, etc. expenses, and you don’t want those financial setbacks to derail your education plans.