Photos and interviews by Sam Campbell
“The one that comes to mind for myself is our home got hit by a tornado here in Missouri. In between losing the home, we had to relocate.
Of course, we had insurance but there are still additional costs that come with losing everything. So, because we lived below our means, we had emergency savings already established. It came in handy because otherwise we would have been doing loans or other sources. It helped to get through that.”
“Many of them were all of the PCS moves — 11 duty assignments in 22 years. Sometimes we stayed in some place for 13 months, sometimes we stayed there for three years.
Our quickest assignment was when my husband was notified on a Monday and the movers were there Wednesday morning. So, if I didn’t have that emergency money, there was no way, because I had to transfer jobs. A lot of us military spouses understand that our jobs are not consistent.”
“We’ve always pretended like there was only one income, because there was a time where I couldn’t find a job right away. We always counted my income as extra, so it was always going toward savings or fun money.
The other thing is it’s probably cultural background, because I’m the oldest in the family. It’s kind of like an unwritten rule where I have to take care of my elderly parents. So, having my parents move from California to here and help them settle after retirement, we look out for them and their daily stuff.”
“When I retired, I saved money and I paid off all the credit cards. I was debt-free the week of retirement. Well, about a month before that, my only car’s engine went out so I ended up having to buy a new engine and have it put in. That was about $5,000. That pretty much wiped me out. I had about $600 to move from Virginia to here.
I only got 300 miles down the road and that brand new engine went out on the side of the interstate. I ended up having to rebuy that engine for $3,500. When you save your money, you pay everything off, you think you’re doing the right thing, you’re debt-free and then, it’s inevitable — something happens.”