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Finance 101: Making the most of your VA benefits

As we look towards Veterans Day, it’s an important time to remember how many brave men and women sacrificed so much to serve our country. Your service helped secure the freedoms that we all enjoy every day.

Freedom can mean many things to many people. But a cornerstone of your freedom is your ability to financially support yourself and your family.

Whether you receive disability compensation and pension benefits, VA life insurance, a home loan, or education benefits, these all serve as building blocks of your economic freedom and well-being.

That’s easy to say, but it can be challenging to know where to begin. What can you do to effectively manage and protect your benefits? If you have questions, or need help, do you know who to call?

The path to financial freedom

There is freedom in not having to worry about paying your bills, taking care of your family or planning for unexpected expenses. But most of us don’t have an unlimited supply of money. That doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy financial freedom–we just need to plan and think carefully about how best to use, grow and safeguard what we have.

Good financial practices can be learned, and small regular steps can move you along your path to financial freedom. The good news is that every step you take can help build long-term prosperity for you and those you love most.

According to mymoney.gov, making the most of your money starts with five building blocks for managing and growing your money–the “MyMoney Five”:

  1. Earn – Make the most of what you earn by understanding your pay and benefits.
  2. Save and Invest – It’s never too early to start saving for future goals such as a house or retirement, and even small amounts can add up.
  3. Protect – Take precautions about your financial situation, accumulate emergency savings, and make sure you have the right insurance.
  4. Spend – Be sure you are getting a good value, especially with big purchases, by shopping around and comparing prices and products.
  5. Borrow – Borrowing money can enable some essential purchases and help build credit, but interest costs can be expensive. Remember that if you borrow too much, you will have a large debt to repay.

Take advantage of your resources

During your military service, your mission was to protect America’s freedom. Now as a Veteran, your mission continues to ensure your own financial freedom.

Take charge of ensuring your financial freedom. You can find a wealth of information on investing, managing your benefits, and additional benefits that may be available to you on VA and other sites, including:

* Avoiding overpayments: https://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/50310/avoiding-va-benefits-overpayments/

* Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Information for Servicemembers: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/servicemembers/

* Federal Trade Commission’s Military Consumer: http://www.military.ncpw.gov/

* Military OneSource: http://www.militaryonesource.mil/

* Military Saves: https://militarysaves.org/

* Mymoney.gov: https://www.mymoney.gov/Pages/default.aspx

* SEC Investor Guidance, Military section: https://www.investor.gov/additional-resources/specialized-resources/military

* #VetQ: https://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/vetq/

As Veterans Day approaches, take the first steps today to secure your own financial freedom.

https://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/53310/53310/