As a military family, you need to be prepared for everything that comes your way. Sometimes, you can plan ahead. Other times, your efforts are just blowing in the wind. From getting married and having children to buying a home or starting a business, to entering or exiting the service, these moments are called milestones because they stick with us, they often change us, and even the very best of them can introduce big changes that can be both thrilling and stressful.  

While some of these major life events may seem far off in the distance, the truth is, they often require significant financial planning and preparation. Without proper planning, these milestones can quickly become overwhelming and lead to financial stress. It’s important to incorporate smart strategies into your future-planning so you can start preparing for these life-changing events now. With a little bit of foresight, you can ensure that your personal major life milestones are not only enjoyed, but also financially manageable. 

Here are just a few special occasions to keep in mind: 

Birthdays — including your own, your children’s, and those of your close family and friends. 

Weddings — whether it’s your own or that of someone close to you, a wedding often ends up being one of the most expensive single days in a person’s life. 

Baby Shower — if you or someone you know is expecting, a baby shower can be a great way to celebrate and provide necessities for the new arrival, but it’s also the first in a long line of new expenses, since it’s a baby. 

Graduation — including both high school and college, graduation is a milestone that’s always worth celebrating, and there are generally more things to pay for than you may realize. 

College or Trade School — This one is probably the winner with the highest average price tag. With tuition, room and board, food plans, books, and of course student loans that generally linger after graduation, college costs often take the cake for having the priciest life milestones. 

First Car — if you or your child is getting their first car, be sure to budget for the purchase, insurance, and maintenance costs. 

First/New Apartment — moving out on your own can be exciting but it also comes with costs you’re probably not used to, such as rent and utilities. 

Travel — whether it’s a family vacation or a solo adventure, travel is often very expensive, unless you’re a savvy couch surfer or you have an excellent imagination. 

PCS Moves — if you’re planning to buy a home, be sure to budget for the down payment, closing costs, and ongoing maintenance. Not to mention moving services, new furniture, and new appliances. 

Retirementplanning for retirement is important at any age, and budgeting for it can help ensure financial security in the future.  

Don’t be overwhelmed by getting exact costs perfectly accurate as you’re getting started. Educated estimates will be your friend since you can always revise your table, spreadsheet, or other tools accordingly with revised/specific numbers. 

Read the full story in the AAFMAA Learning Hub to see how you can tackle a few of these events in greater detail according to how they relate to your life. 

How to Save for Life’s Biggest Milestones

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