Two New Money Rules for Military Families

Benefit from the new GI Bill and the home-buyer credits.

I get a lot of questions from members of the military about their unique financial issues and benefits (and I’m particularly interested in the topic as an Army wife myself). Our Military Family Money Guide has a lot of information about the tax, insurance, retirement, mortgage and estate planning benefits and financial strategies for service members. But two big rules just changed in the past few months that can make a big difference for military families.

Huge help with kids’ college costs. The new GI Bill, which took effect on August 1, 2009, provides a big boost to military families who are saving for their kids’ college education: Longtime service members can now transfer their GI Bill benefits to their spouse and children. To qualify, you must be on active duty or selected reserve, have served at least six years in the armed forces, and agree to serve four more years (the rules are slightly different if you are eligible for military retirement between August 1, 2009, and August 1, 2013).

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Kimberly Lankford
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

As the "Ask Kim" columnist for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Lankford receives hundreds of personal finance questions from readers every month. She is the author of Rescue Your Financial Life (McGraw-Hill, 2003), The Insurance Maze: How You Can Save Money on Insurance -- and Still Get the Coverage You Need (Kaplan, 2006), Kiplinger's Ask Kim for Money Smart Solutions (Kaplan, 2007) and The Kiplinger/BBB Personal Finance Guide for Military Families. She is frequently featured as a financial expert on television and radio, including NBC's Today Show, CNN, CNBC and National Public Radio.