Spoke to Leah yesterday, who is sick with a head cold, as is the rest of the family. Sounded like her holiday was good, but as with life in general, a few unexpected issues came up. For one thing, her family who was visiting had to return home early due to a family emergency. Then sadly Eric got word that his grandfather died and he needs to fly out west for the funeral...and of course, you guessed it, another unexpected expense, the plane ticket. Leah and Eric chose to get a loan form the Army emergency relief fund, giving them an interest-free loan, but another monthly bill to pay. Sigh!
I have sent a list of questions for she and Eric to discuss prior to our meeting in Atlanta in two weeks. These include goal-setting questions like whether they are planning for more children, want to buy a house again in the future, college planning for their daughter, retirement projections, etc. At our session in my office, I will not only show Leah and Eric a completed financial profile, projecting how much savings they need to set aside for each goal, but I will also teach them the basics of insurance and investment planning too! This part is exciting for me, because it is the basis of what I do for a living. I just hope it is motivating versus overwhelming.
Prior to that meeting, I am planning to set up a phone call with a military benefit expert that Sandy at Parenting had introduced me to, to find out some of the following:
Assuming Eric stays military through retirement as we've discussed, what happens financially if:
a) Eric becomes disabled. Does it matter if that is during combat versus not?
b) Eric dies. Currently there is life insurance. Does the family retain other insurance benefits? What about pension? Is there a difference if it is during combat?
c) Eric reaches full retirement. How is pension calculated?
I am looking forward to planning for their future, but still very concerned about the current debt and spending behaviors. In regards to the debt, I'm also wondering when Leah can get to the next session with the debt counselor on base, to see if any debt reduction is in their future. It would really help!