Veterans life insurance

My family’s military journey and thoughts on safety – InsuranceNewsNet

“Our country’s military families give of themselves and their time with their loved ones, so that we can live safely and freely.”

  • Former President Barack Obama, 2016

When my son-in-law and daughter joined the Air Force 16 years ago, I knew sacrifices would be required of the entire family in the name of patriotism, service, and security. Sacrifices would be exacted from the active duty member, spouse, children, and extended family – in my case, that of a single working mother and grandmother of a military family.

Kin Stringer

Right after her engagement to her Reserve Officers Training Corps fiancé in college, my daughter confessed that she was worried about being a military wife. She didn’t want to take the role lightly as she knew it would be a role she would have to play for years.

She would be called to duty to keep her family running while my son-in-law deployed to other countries. And frequent moves – every three to four years – would be their new routine.

Six bases in 16 years, starting in the land of leis and luaus

Hickam Air Force Base, Honolulu, Hawaii

After much deliberation and research, my daughter got married and their first military posting was heaven – Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The sacrifices of time apart with family and missing most vacations together had begun. So imagine my joy when, after four years across the Pacific Ocean, I finally got to see my newly pregnant daughter move on to her next posting on the East Coast.

Warner Robins Air Force Base, Warner Robins, Ga.

Now only five hours away from me, I was grateful that my first grandchild was born here. And at the tender age of a one-year-old baby, she watched as we bid farewell to her father’s first mate as he was deployed to Afghanistan.

When his dad came back around his second birthday, I found out that my family would be PCS next to Europe. I used PCS as a verb because it has become an action word for many in the military. The objective of the PCS or Permanent Change of Position, according to Military Regulations AR 6008-11, is simple, “it is to place the right soldier, in the right position, at the right time”.

This system of moves every three or four years worked like clockwork for my son-in-law’s career, but brought a new set of emotions with each new assignment. After a year of being close to my daughter and my granddaughter, I watched them leave for four years, thousands of miles away and across the Atlantic.

Kelley Barracks, Stuttgart, Germany

When the day came for them to leave the country, I was able to drop them off at the Atlanta airport and walk to the bus on the tarmac on the domestic side to take them to the international side to catch their flight to Stuttgart, in Germany.

My daughter later told me that after sitting down, my granddaughter looked around frantically and as the bus pulled away she yelled at the bus driver, “Stop, we have forgot my Yaya! Go back for my Yaya! As she continued to sob when she realized they weren’t coming back, there wasn’t a dry eye on the bus at the sadness in the two-year-old’s voice.

Over the next four years, I visited Europe twice and took the nine hour flight to stay for a few weeks. A granddaughter and then a grandson were born on the military base in Germany. Facetime helped ease the sadness of not being able to be with them on holidays and birthdays.

Pentagon, Washington/Fairfax, Virginia.

The Pentagon and a family move to Fairfax, Virginia would be next and I was able to visit more often. My youngest granddaughter was born here, and I was able to take a week off and help the family adjust to the newest and latest member to complete the family. My large, happy military family enjoyed their time in the nation’s capital, and just as I was getting used to living in the same time zone, they were moving to Central America.

Scott Air Force Base, Belleville, Ill.

Being from the Midwest, I thought I’d like this base assignment, but was surprised how quickly I tired of frequent plane trips for vacations or birthdays.

My son-in-law was now a major and he was again deployed for a year overseas. I was worried that my daughter would be alone with four children in the middle of a pandemic when she was a 12 hour drive from me.

Families at Scott Air Force Base have stepped up, as military families always do. Despite the pandemic and homeschooling all four children, she enjoyed the support of one of the safest military bases in the country, with a very low number of COVID-19 cases.

Towards the end of their posting, I took leave and moved in for two weeks to stay with the children, so that my daughter could take a break from the long separation from her husband and visit him in Dubai .

It was the trip of a lifetime for them but a test of sanity or madness for this working grandmother!

MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, Florida.

Fast forward to today, my son-in-law was promoted to lieutenant colonel and posted to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida. This will be my family’s last PCS assignment and they will be retiring in four years when they turn 20. Services.

Now that I live in the same state, I’ve seen my family more in the last four weeks than in four years at one of their many bases.

With my visitor pass in hand and as I follow my daughter’s van through one of Florida’s largest gated communities, I am struck by the beauty of this base which sits on Tampa Bay and overlooks the city from Tampa across the water. My heart is filled with pride for my military family’s years of service.

Joyce Wessel Raezer, a lawyer and proponent of military families, wrote, “Military families belong to our nation. They are the family of our nation. They are not from a city or a state. They are part of all of us and it is up to all of us to support them.

I have shared my military family with the nation for years, and have always taken comfort that my family has their military family on every base they live on. They now have friends, closer than family, all over the world.

Protect what’s important

In sharing our story, during National Veterans and Military Families Month, I had time to reflect on the intersection of the physical security our military members provide to our country and the financial security we seek as than individuals.

With the burden and stress of frequent moves and time apart while the military protects our national security, many military couples overlook their personal safety when it comes to their financial future and retirement planning. Understanding their backgrounds and lifestyles can help better meet their unique planning needs.

While the basic insurance and retirement planning needs of military couples are generally the same as those of non-military couples, there are additional considerations that should be discussed with a financial professional.

Consider these tips for your military clients.

  • Understand what insurance options are available from the military and which will continue after retirement or separation. Since insurance tends to be more expensive to obtain as you get older, it may be a good idea to consider affordable options early on when you’re in good health.
  • Most military couples are young and may not know much about insurance products — or even about budgeting and saving. Focus your message on education and protection, helping them prepare for the unexpected.
  • Many military families have a stay-at-home spouse who takes care of the children, and our industry still suffers from outdated ideas that non-working spouses don’t need insurance! Help couples understand the financial burden that would be created by the loss of a stay-at-home partner.
  • Help them learn the lingo! There are a variety of special programs available for the military, tax credits, life insurance programs, savings plans (like a 401(k) for government employees, and more But don’t let them just protect the military – help non-military spouses find comparable solutions.

Military spouses essentially run single-parent households and have a lot to do on top of the stress of worrying about their deployed partner. With a high frequency of moving, they may also lack the deep family ties that many of us rely on for guidance and support. And since many of military spouses’ benefits end when they retire, usually at an earlier age than others, their planning needs are different. Consider all of these factors and you can provide great service to those who provide great service to all of us.

Kim Stringer is an insurance specialist at Truist Life Insurance Services. She can be contacted at [email protected].

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