Why the ‘You Just Gave Uncle Sam an Interest-Free Loan’ Argument Doesn’t Work For Many Transitioning People

Executive Summary

Every year at tax time, you see pundits talk about ‘giving Uncle Sam an interest-free loan.’  While the concept of lowering tax withholdings is sound, there are several problems with its practice.  In this article, we’ll discuss:

  • The ‘common’ wisdom behind this interest-free loan concept
  • The major problems with its practical application during transition
  • Situations in which this is actually wrong

Continue reading

Posted in Taxes | Leave a comment

Homeowner Insurance Regulatory Offices By State

In a previous article, I described my homeowner’s insurance claim process.  In this article, I discussed how difficult it was to understand what I was entitled to under the law.  I was finally able to reach a better understanding once I became familiar with the Florida Homeowner’s Insurance Bill of Rights.

Since the insurance industry is regulated at the state level, these rights can differ from state to state.  Moreover, most states don’t even have a clearly defined ‘Bill of Rights.’  However, each state does have a homeowner’s insurance page that can help you understand what resources exist for your situation. Continue reading

Posted in Resources | Leave a comment

12 Lessons Learned From My Homeowner’s Insurance Claim

Executive Summary

This story is about my personal experience in dealing with a homeowner insurance claim for a roof replacement.  Although virtually every other home in my neighborhood experienced the same damage (from a freak hailstorm), my insurance claim became a long, drawn out affair.  While the settlement terms are beside the point, I hope this story will help steel someone for the challenges they might face if they’re dealing with a particularly tough insurance company. Continue reading

Posted in Insurance | 1 Comment

5 Tax Planning Considerations of a Roth Conversion for Your TSP Account


Many people have taken advantage of the Roth TSP option since its inception in 2012.  However, there are still many federal employees and service members with most of their retirement savings in traditional accounts.  Naturally, this begs the question: “How do I convert my traditional account to a Roth account?”  This is also known as a Roth conversion.

The more appropriate approach should be to ask two questions:

  • Should I convert my traditional account to a Roth account?
  • If so, how do I do this in the most effective manner?  Effective manner indicates minimal loss of money through fees, taxes, etc.

As with most questions, the correct answer is not straightforward.  Rather, it’s an answer that depends on the person’s (or family’s) particular financial situation, goals, and values. Continue reading

Posted in Retirement Planning, Taxes, Thrift Savings Plan | 1 Comment

TSP Rollover to an IRA Account—Should I do it or Not?

This is a question that I received the other day from someone who has a lot on his plate.  He’s getting his financial life in order and was trying to figure out whether a TSP rollover was the right thing.  While everyone has different perspectives and situations, there is one constant:

Any financial decision you make should be consistent with a financial plan that reflects your values and goals.

This article will discuss the pros and cons of rolling your TSP account into an IRA.  However, any decision you make should be consistent with the long-term plan or strategy you have in place. Continue reading

Posted in Taxes, Thrift Savings Plan | 1 Comment

Six Steps to Hire a Military-Focused Financial Planner

Disclosure:  I am a financial planner.  With that said, there are many people who do not need a financial planner to live their best lives.  However, there are probably many more who could benefit from professional financial advice in at least one aspect of their lives.  This article is for them.


In the military, we’re pretty familiar with the financial counseling resources that are available, either through our commands or the installation’s support services.  However, there comes a time when we’ve paid off our credit cards, established an emergency savings account, and started putting money away for retirement.

At this point comes a logical question:  “Even though I feel like I’m doing all the right things, could I be doing more?”  This is where a financial planner can help you out.  However, with almost 300,000 financial advisers in the United States, finding one that meets your needs can be difficult.

Here are six steps to help you select the right planner for you. Continue reading

Posted in Personal Finance | Leave a comment

Back to Basics: The Real Costs of a DUI


In the civilian world, there are professions where the impact of DUI conviction might not have an effect on the person’s career.  Not so with the military.  In the military, a DUI conviction is only the beginning, as it will have a direct career impact on the servicemember.

With that said, this article will focus on the military aspects of a DUI, particularly its impact on your ability to accumulate long-term wealth over the course of a career.  After all, the best financial planning advice is this:  Avoid bad decisions that lead to life-changing incidents.  Continue reading

Posted in Back to Basics | Leave a comment

5 State Tax Considerations For Your Military Transition

Taxes can be a major consideration in your military transition planning.  As I outlined in a previous military pension article, your take-home pay can be up to 40% less than what you see on paper.  Federal taxes are obviously a significant part of that equation.  However, there are several ways in which state taxes (and local taxes) could play a part in your relocation decision. Continue reading

Posted in Military Transition, Taxes | Leave a comment

Weekend Wrap-up: Military Personal Finance Articles You Should Read (11/11-11/17)

I hope you enjoy this version of the Weekend Wrap-up! Below are some of the top articles that I’ve read this week, most of which hail from our military financial blogger community. So, without further ado, here are this week’s articles: Continue reading

Posted in Weekend Wrap-up | 1 Comment

What Military Landlords Should Know About Section 1250 Depreciation

Just because you joined the military, you shouldn’t have to give up the right to buy a house.   While there are many things to consider, you may:

  • Buy a starter home
  • Purchase a home that you plan to live in, fix up, and sell for profit
  • Buy a home that you plan to live in after leaving the military

Whatever the reason, things don’t always work out as planned.  When that happens, many military people become .  This article looks at one of the more overlooked aspects of being an accidental landlordSection 1250 depreciation. Continue reading

Posted in Real Estate, Taxes | 2 Comments