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Hey, I'm Spencer Reese. I separated from the US Air Force in 2022 after nearly 12 years of active duty service. I help military servicemembers and their families through my:
All my media channels are dedicated to enriching military families. I help them achieve financial independence as fast as possible.
When I joined the Air Force in 2010, there were no guides or books on how to achieve financial independence in the military. I conducted thousands of hours of research, writing, blogging, and asking questions. I wrote the book I wish someone had handed to me on my first day in the military.
That book became The Military Money Manual.
In this post:
How Military Money Manual Started
In 2011 I graduated US Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training or UPT and earned my wings. I had a bit of free time on my hands after graduating.
I became obsessed with personal finance, investing, and optimizing my life and money. I read every book the small base library had on these subjects. I read as many personal finance and financial independence websites as I could.
I decided to make early financial independence my main financial goal. I set my goal of investing for financial independence by age 40. It was easy convincing my wife of this goal since she has always been a saver.
I began tracking my net worth every month starting in April 2012, when my wife and I were worth -$3714. We saved, invested, and reached financial independence by age 34.
I wrote The Military Money Manual about my journey to financial independence and how you can achieve FI in the military in about a decade. The book is a letter to my younger self explaining everything 20 year old me would need to know to become financial independent in the next 10-15 years. The book was published in 2021 in audiobook, ebook, and hardcover and is available on Amazon, Audible, my site, libraries, and many other places around the web.
Today, my wife and I enjoy spending time outdoors with my family and friends. You can usually find us travelling to new places with old friends, eating at new restaurants, hiking, or trying to find the world's best gelato. We are lucky to have jobs that allow us to travel and have a good amount of free time.
Military Money Manual in the Media
Military Money Manual is featured on a number of popular websites. I am frequently quoted as an expert on military financial issues, investing, personal finance, credit cards, travel hacking, and military credit cards benefits, especially the SCRA and MLA laws and how these Acts apply to fee waived credit cards.
Yahoo! Finance | ABC News | The Military Guide | Dough Roller | Credit.com | Military Saves | Mint.com | Zillow Blog | Military.com Paycheck Chronicles | Financial Samurai | Get Rich Slowly | Million Mile Secrets | Lifehacker | Madfientist |
Reserve & National Guard Magazine | Military Families Magazine
- 130,000 veterans about about to get a hefty tax refund…
- I'm a 40, single, military dad of 2; I have rental income, $100k in retirement savings and expect at least $3k a month in retirement – what am I missing?
- Why US soldiers may want to start brushing up on investing
If you'd like an article from me, a quote, to inquiry about advertising on my site, or to contact me, visit the contact page.
The Military Money Manual Value Proposition
- An author with 11 years military experience. I deployed 4 times, PCS’d 6 times, spent 1,000+ days TDY or overseas, and I received the same paycheck as you on the 1st and 15th.
- First hand experience – I achieved financial independence in less than 12 years. I found no shortcuts to financial independence. FI can be reached by anyone with time, a positive savings rate, and positive investment returns. I paid off $120,000 in USAA cadet, student, and auto loans. I max out my TSP and Vanguard IRAs every year.
- I spend 5+ hours researching and writing each article I post. Everything is original and written or edited by me, no ghost writers. If I have a guest post, I label it as such.
- Trustworthy: I only recommend products I use myself. I clearly outline my affiliate linking and advertising policy. This is unlike many sites on the web that include affiliate links without informing you of the potential conflict of interest. I have over 30 credit cards and have travel hacked my way around the world for years.
About My Site – Military Money Manual
I started this site for three primary reasons:
- Share what I learn about personal finance for military servicemembers
- Help fellow military personnel grow wealthier
- Earn additional income online (see my advertising disclosure)
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 – February 2023, over 2.5 million visitors have visited this site. Our podcast has reached over 80,000 downloads and my free military travel hacking email course celebrated 10,000 graduates in 2023.
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.
After discovering how simple (but not easy) financial independence can be, I needed to share it with my military community.
The ultimate 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 like this one, specific to military personal finance issues, is needed.
Thanks for reading,