About Military Money Manual and Spencer

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About Military Money Manual and Spencer

I am a captain (O-3) in the US Air Force. As an officer in the USAF, I try not to discuss my job, location, deployments, or TDYs for OPSEC (operational security) reasons. I will say that I get to travel a lot internationally and stateside (OCONUS and CONUS) for my work.

My wife and I enjoy travelling, trying new restaurants, hiking, and gelato. We would ideally like jobs that would allow us to travel and have a good amount of down time.

In 2011 I graduated a long training course for my primary duty. I became somewhat obsessed with personal finance, investing, and optimizing my life and money. I read every book the small base library had on these subjects and read as many personal finance and financial independence blogs as I could.

I decided to make early financial independence my main financial goal. It was easy convincing my wife of this goal since she had always been a saver.

I began tracking my net worth every month starting in April 2012, when my wife and I were worth -$3714. Now, we're investing to be financially independent by age 40. I invest about 50% of my after tax military pay.

The Military Money Manual Value Proposition

  1. An author with 8 years military experience. I deployed 3 times, PCS’d 5 times, spent 600+ days TDY, and receive the same paycheck as you on the 1st and 15th.
  2. First hand experience – I have increased my net worth by $350,000 from 2010-2016. There are no shortcuts to financial independence, just time, savings rate, and investment returns. I paid off $120,000 in USAA cadet, student, and auto loans. I max out my TSP and Vanguard IRAs every year.
  3. I spend 5+ hours researching and writing each article I post. Everything is original and written by me, no ghost writers. If I have a guest post, I clearly label it as such.
  4. Trustworthy: I only recommend products I use myself. I clearly outline my affiliate linking and advertising policy here. This is unlike many sites on the web that include affiliate links without letting you know the potential conflict of interest.

About My Site – Military Money Manual

I primarily started this site for three reasons:

  1. Earn additional income online (see my advertising disclosure)
  2. Share what I learn about personal finance for military servicemembers
  3. Help fellow military personnel grow wealthier

For a profit motivated worker, working for government can be difficult as there are no bonuses, no salary negotiations, and promotions are based mostly on seniority. In 2012 I was in a long unaccompanied training course. Living in the dorms on base, there wasn't much I could do to boost my income.

I started this blog in April 2012 to pass the time, write about what I was doing with my money, and to make some extra income. From April 2012 – August 2018, 430,000 visitors have viewed my site 800,000 times.

Before I discovered the idea of financial independence, I had no definitive goal with my money. I knew that my investments could eventually support my lifestyle, but I didn't know my number. $1 million? $2 million? It seemed so arbitrary.

Now that I know what my goal is, I want to share it with as many members of the military community that I can.

The only real reason to save and invest is to achieve financial independence, so that you can live life as you choose.

Military personal finance can be quite different from civilians. There's the constant moving across the country or the world (PCS). There's deployments and temporary assignments (TDYs). There are entitlements, basic pay, incentive pay, tax benefits, BAH, and everything else that makes the military financial community different from the civilian sector.

That's why a site specific to military personal finance issues is needed.

Thanks for reading,

-Spencer

12 thoughts on “About Military Money Manual and Spencer”

    • Hey Strap…High Yield Savings Accounts (HYSA) are great if you need to hang on to cash for a year or 2…otherwise get that money invested in an asset that going to pay you more than 2% annually. I’ve used Ally, CIT, Personal Capital, Betterment, and others. As long as they are FDIC insured, I just search for many of the review articles out there that list the best interest rates on cash accounts. But typically I don’t like to hold on to cash for more than 1 year as the returns are so low. I like to get my cash invested ASAP.

      That being said, I am saving up for a Tesla so I will be looking for a HYSA to keep the cash in until I’m ready to buy that.

  1. Spencer, I appreciate your posts, and often link to your articles on my blog: militaryintransition.com. I wish you the best of luck as you go through your Air Force career, and please feel free to touch base with me if there’s anything I can ever help you with. -Forrest

  2. I’ve got no doubt you can achieve financial independence by 40 given you’ve started this site and are focused. I didn’t start my site until I was 31. If i started at 25, dang….. maybe I would have been done even earlier!

    Good luck!

    • Thanks, Sam! I’ve been digging your recent posts about betting big in the stock market. It’s exciting to see the opportunities you get to take advantage of when you’re financially independent and don’t have to work for the “man.” I’ll be there one day!

  3. Hi Spencer, it is Kate from The Paycheck Chronicles. I just wanted to let you know that I’ve put my personal site live at katehorrell.com. It will probably contain some similar info as The Paycheck Chronicles, but no payday posts and more personal and/or controversial subject matter.

    Hope all is well there!

  4. Spencer, your style , content and message are right on target. I worked as a CPA at major accounting firms for 25 years, and now I am a financial advisor with Northwestern Mutual. Your USAA is the best firm, we are a close second with NY Life and Mass Mutual. Congratulations on your clarity and mission definition.

    Regards, Bob

  5. Hey Spencer,

    Thanks for taking the time to blog, love your work.

    Do you have any advice on trading between USD and the wonderful currency of New Zealand, the New Zealand Dollar? Would appreciate it as I am looking to purchase goods over an extended period of time.

    Cheers

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