Getting Out of Crisis Mode

January 23, 2024

In an ideal world, we’ve all got enough cushion to navigate an emergency like a broken appliance, a lost job, or a necessary car repair (or hello Murphy’s Law – all of the above at the same time.) But most of us don’t live in an ideal world. And in the heat of the moment, it’s not terribly helpful to hear about what we could have or should have done to avoid catastrophe. Instead of looking at what we should have done differently in the past, let’s commit to taking the necessary steps to ensure we’re better prepared and positioned for whatever surprises the future throws our way. 


Know where you stand

Contrary to the popular expression, ignorance is not, in fact, bliss. It’s time to gain some clarity on your total financial picture — the good, the bad, and the ugly. Not sure where to start? The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau offers a 10-question tool to measure your financial well being. And let’s decide right now that we’re excited to learn where we can improve things rather than beat ourselves up over past challenges. Agreed? 


Tell your money what to do

Okay, nobody’s asking you to talk to your money (although we’d love a video if that’s a thing.) But a budget is a simple tool that allows you to track what’s coming in and where it needs to go in a way that makes the most sense for your family’s financial situation. Need a head start on creating a budget? Visit Military OneSource for resources on how to set and manage your budget going forward. 


Think ahead

You can’t unring any bells you’ve rung in the past. But you can position yourself to be better prepared moving ahead. And the easiest way to do that is to create an emergency fund. The experts recommend having an emergency fund that’s the equivalent of between 3-6 months of living expenses. While that can sound like a daunting number, even starting small makes a difference over time. Progress, not perfection, is your goal. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) provides great information on the why and how to set up an emergency fund here 


MFAN’s research tells us that financial stress is a big issue for many military families. But with the right resources, habits, and mindset, you can set a plan to make sure the next financial challenge life throws your way doesn’t knock you off your financial path!

About the Author

Erin Kahn

Senior Manager of Programs
Erin Kahn is an active duty Marine Corps spouse with a background in non-profit program and product management.
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