Trans World Assurance Blog

Go Further On A Tank Of Gas! (Updated) - Part 3 by Jeff Burch

Posted on Wed, Jan 25, 2012

PART 2 - Tips 5 thru 7

8. Maintenance and tune-ups: Regular maintenance as prescribed by the vehicle owner's manual will help your vehicle achieve its best fuel economy and improve mileage by up to 4%. Some overlooked Maintenance tips:

  • Use the correct oil: You can stretch your gas mileage by 1%-2% by using the thinnest viscosity grade of motor oil recommended by the car manufacturer. Example: Dumping 10W-30 motor oil in an engine that is designed to use 5W-30 can lessen your gas mileage by 1%-2%. In addition, use "Energy Conserving” motor oil containing friction-reducing additives.
  • Keep tires inflated and aligned: It's estimated that properly inflated tires can save the average car owner 3.3% with each tank of gas. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3% for every 1 PSI drop in pressure of all four tires and wear out faster. When replacing your tires, replace them with the same make and model as the tires that were on your vehicle when it was new. In addition, poor alignment can cause tires to wear out quickly and force your engine to work harder. Align your tires, and save up to 10% or 20 cents per gallon.
  • Check spark plugs: Two worn-out spark plugs can cost 20% or more of your fuel economy
  • Check the oxygen filter: If your car has a faulty oxygen sensor it can cause you to lose up to 40% of fuel efficiency.
  • Check Air filter: Tests show replacing a clogged air filter on cars with fuel-injected, computer-controlled gasoline engines (cars made from early 1980s and upward) does not improve fuel economy, but it can improve acceleration time by around 6% to 11%. However, tests suggest that replacing a clogged air filter on older model cars with carbureted engines may improve fuel economy 2% to 6% under normal replacement conditions.
  • Change fuel filter: Clean fuel is essential for a long engine life. So replace your fuel filter once a year or no more than 30,000 miles. If the filter plugs up it can starve an engine of fuel and if it fails it can release debris into injectors, causing expensive repairs. Also, a restricted filter will stress the electric fuel pump, leading to early failure.
  • Check brakes: Gas mileage can be affected by brake drag. Brake drag occurs when the lining is in constant contact with the rotor or drum and gas mileage suffers (metal to metal). Repair ASAP, not to get the best gas mileage, but for your own safety.

9. Fill it up and other gas filling tips:

  • Don't top off: Over-filling the gas tank causes charcoal evaporation emissions canister to saturate. This part can cost $100 to replace. Stop fueling at first click of pump nozzle.
  • Fill up your gas tank in the morning on weekdays:

A. Gas stations tend to change their prices between 10 a.m. and noon, so head to the pump early in the morning if gas prices are on the rise. However, if prices are falling, go later in the day.

B. In addition, weekends and holidays often see slightly higher fuel prices, so if you can fill up mid-week, you may save more.

C. Since gas expands when heated and contracts when cooled fill up your tank before heat expands it (especially during the summer). Currently, there are several theories as to why filling up in the morning does or doesn't work. As for my own experience, when I fill up in the morning I get 25 extra (freeway) miles or more out of my tank. Will it work for you?  To find out, keep track of your mileage with a gas log book.

 Example: 

June 13 / Time filled: 7 am / 18 gal. / Miles: 368
June 23 / Time filled: 5 pm / 18 gal. / Miles: 326

  • Tighten the gas cap: To tighten, twist gas cap until it clicks three times. However, if you constantly smell gas in the vicinity  of the gas tank, you may need a new gas cap. If the cap is loose or defective, gas vapor will constantly leak out and you'll waste gas. Also, if the cap is faulty it can cause your oxygen sensor to read incorrectly and tell the engine management computer to adjust the fuel-air mix and you'll end up burning more gas than needed.
  • Fuel injected cars: Keep the gas tank at least full enough to supply fuel for the electric pump, which depends on a steady supply of fuel to lubricate its inner parts. Running your car low on fuel causes the pump to wear out, especially when cornering.
  • Stop fuel lines from freezing: Keep the gas tank 1/4 full and add isopropyl alcohol (commercial additive) to the gas tank when filling up before and during especially cold weather.
  • Car storage: Keep the gas tank full to limit the amount of water condensation in the gas tank when storing a vehicle. If car will be stored for more than a month, add a gas preservative.

10. Save gas while driving:

  • Avoid idling: A cold engine on today's modern cars should be warmed up by idling no more than 30-35 seconds. An idling engine eats up to 1/2 gallon of gas per hour and gets 0 mpg.
  • Drive 55 mph: All vehicles gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 55 mph. Driving 65 instead of 75 mph reduces fuel cost 13%. Driving 55 would save 25%.
  • Drive efficiently and take your time getting there: Save up to 20% by driving the speed limit. Avoid aggressive driving, rapid acceleration, speeding and braking that can lower gas mileage by 33% on highway and by 5% driving in town. Other tips:

A. Listen to radio reports to use alternative routes to bypass traffic congestion
B. Drive in the highest gear possible without lugging the engine
C. Try to keep your speed constant. Use cruise control when on long stretches of road

  • When is the best time to use your AC? City driving uses up to 3 miles per gallon when using AC, but if you drive at a constant speed on a highway, AC use doesn’t matter.
  • Lighten your load: Don’t carry needless gear and luggage in your car. Gasoline mpg decreases 1%-2% for every extra 100 lbs of weight or conversely, save 3 cents per 100 lbs removed.
  • Don't be a drag! Keep car aerodynamic: Remove accessories, spoilers, etc., or repair body damage, crunched front fender, etc., that can alter a car's aerodynamics and reduce gas mileage by up to 8% (ask any race driver). In addition, refrain from driving with an open sunroof or windows at high speeds. Also, using a loaded roof rack creates wind resistance and can increase fuel consumption by up to 5% (better to pack items inside the car).

11. Other gas saving tips and ideas:

  • Use other forms of transportation: If you share a ride to work with a friend or co-worker(s), you will cost-effectively double your fuel economy. Check with your city or state to see if it has a "Rideshare" program. Other transportation options: Instead of driving use bus transits, bicycle, walk or catch a ride from friends, etc., to get to your destination of choice.
  • Fuel Economy for Cars: Fuel economy information for 2010 and 2011 cars, trucks, SUVs and vans is available to assist consumers in purchasing fuel efficient new vehicles. When purchasing, consider the most fuel efficient vehicle and save up to 50%. For more information, visit: www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/FEG2000.htm
  • Gas Mileage Impact Calculator: This calculator offers information correlating to gas consumption, fuel cost and emission of major pollutants. For more information, visit: www.hybridcars.com/calculator
  • Gasoline-Saving Devices: The U.S. EPA and FTC have both stated that there are no devices, currently on the market, that helps boost gas mileage any appreciable amount. Buyer beware!


Sources: Department of Energy, California Consumer Energy Center, Consumer Federation of America, Nerd Wallet, ALLDATA, EPA and Oakridge National Laboratory

Be sure to check out other articles from Jeff Burch on the Trans World Assurance Blog.

Tags: Trans World Assurance, Money Book, Jeff Burch, money saving tips, better gas mileage

Go Further On A Tank Of Gas! (Updated) - Part 2 by Jeff Burch

Posted on Tue, Jan 24, 2012


PART 1 - Tips 1 thru 4

5. Shop with grocers that use Fuelperks: Through Fuelperks you can earn 5¢ off per gallon of gas and up to 20 gallons for every $50 of food or goods you'd normally purchase through retailers. There's no cap on savings and you can earn a free tank of gas (3 month expiration date if not used). Furthermore, most retailers run extra promotions on select items that earn more fuelperks.

How it works:

A. Fill out an application and receive a loyalty card from one of these grocers in your area: Winn Dixie (FL, AL, LA, GA, MS), BI-LO (NC, SC, GA, TN), Martin's or Giant (MD, PA, VA, WV), Giant Eagle (OH, WV, MD, PA), Roundy's (WI, MN) or Rainbow Foods (MN)

B. Once you have your loyalty card, then go to www.fuelperks.com and register your loyalty card online.

C. Start shopping to save gasoline

  • Gas saving tip 1: From the comfort of your home, earn points by purchasing goods through their website.
  • Gas saving tip 2: Purchase gas gift cards from retailer(s), and at the same time earn points.
  • For more information, visit: www.fuelperks.com

Jeff Burch Save Gas

6. Save gas through your grocer:

A. KROGER: Gas discounts can be found through Kroger, the largest grocery chain in the country. States excluded from the program: AL, CA, LA, MO, OR, WA. The basics:

  • Earn 1 point for every dollar you spend on groceries (before coupons).
  • Earn 50 points for each prescription filled (excludes all government funded programs).
  • Receive 100 points for every $50 spent in gift cards (doesn’t include Kroger store gift cards).
  • For every 100 points redeemed at the pump, 10 cents per gallon is rewarded up to $1.00 per gal up to 35 gal per purchase.
  • Fuel points must be used during the month (“all or nothing”). Customers cannot use partial points for separate fill-ups:

Example:
100 points =      10 cent discount
200 points =      20 cent discount
500 points =      50 cent discount
1,000 points =   $1.00 discount  

  • Customers who use a Kroger 1-2-3 MasterCard can receive an additional 5¢ gas discount.
  • If your local Kroger store has teamed up with Shell or other outside gas stations, then buy $50 gas gift cards at Kroger, so you earn rewards points and save even more on gas!
  • Kroger pharmacies will match any local pharmacy's price for prescriptions, which means you get the best possible price on pharmaceuticals and earn points to save gas.
  • For more information, visit: www.kroger.com/in_store/fuel/Pages/default.aspx

B. FOOD CITY: Receive gas discounts from Food City (KY, TN, VA) through their Fuel Bucks program. The basics:

  • No limit on number of points you can redeem.
  • Earn 1 point for each $1.00 purchased in grocery items.
  • Receive 10 bonus points for every $10 of Food City brands purchased.
  • Earn 50 bonus points with qualifying prescriptions.
  • 150 points earns you 15¢ off per gallon on a single fill-up (Up to a maximum of 20 gallons per fill-up).
  • Points earned in one month, will expire at the end of the following month.

Example:
Points earned in Dec 2011 will expire Jan 31, 2012.

  • Earn 50 additional points for qualifying Pharmacy prescriptions. Applies to all new, transferred, or refilled prescriptions. Excludes federally funded prescriptions and $4 generic prescription plan.
  • For more information, visit: www.foodcity.com/save/fuel-bucks

C. WALMART: Get a Walmart gift card and use it at participating gas stations and you'll save 10 cents per gallon, with no other restrictions or requirements. For more information, visit: www.walmart.com/cp/Gift-Cards/96894 (see "Important Deals and Limitations" near bottom of the page).

D. PUBLIX: Keep an eye out for gas saving promotions through Publix (AL, FL, SC, TN). This promotion was recently released:

"$10 Off the Purchase of One $50 Gas Card.  With a grocery purchase of $25 or more. Coupon required for each deal. Only one deal and coupon accepted for every $25 grocery purchase."

WOW! This means you get $10 in free gas, and even if the gas cards sell out, you can get a rain check and receive the offer when they replenish their stock. Furthermore, the rain checks don't expire. Publix run these type of promotions every couple of months, so stock up when you see them.

  • If you live in area that has both Publix and a Fuelperks provider, buy gift cards to use at those stations. Save on the gift card and then save further on gas with your fuelperks!

  • Final grocer gas saving tip: Since you can purchase gas up to 20-35 gallons through these gas saving programs, and the average gas tank only holds 16 gallons, then bring your other car or gas cans to the pump, so you won't waste the discount.

NOTE: If the grocers mentioned are not within a reasonable distance or in your state, then check around with your local grocer(s) for gas saving promotions or special discounts.

Example: Safeway: www.safeway.com/ifl/grocery/club-card

For more information, visit: www.publix.com

7. Club memberships and gas cards:

  • Club memberships: Take the time to research club memberships, wholesale clubs, automobile clubs, and other organizations that offer gas discounts to members. Below, are just a few clubs to assist you in your research.

A. Costco ($50 to $100 membership): www.costco.com
B. Sam's Club ($40 to $100 membership): www.samsclub.com
C. AAA Club ($59-$159 membership): www.aaa.com
D. BJ's Wholesale ($50-$90 membership): www.bjs.com

  • Pay with gas card: Think about getting a gasoline credit card that offers 5% to 10% rebate on every gas purchase.

 

Go Further On A Tank Of Gas! (Updated) by Jeff Burch will continue tomorrow on the Trans World Assurance Blog with PART 3 - Tips 8 thru 11 .

Tags: Trans World Assurance, Money Book, Jeff Burch, money saving tips, better gas mileage

Go Further On A Tank Of Gas! (Updated) - Part 1 by Jeff Burch

Posted on Mon, Jan 23, 2012

Worried and feeling helpless because your budget's been blown out of proportion due to the skyrocketing prices of gasoline? Solution: Get into the habit of using the following gas saving tips and ideas that will help you go further on a tank of gas.
                         
1. Be smart and wise when purchasing gasoline: Regular grade fuel costs about 20-40 cents per gallon less than premium grade. However, using regular gas in a car intended to run on premium can quickly destroy an engine. Conversely, using premium gas in a car intended to run on regular wastes gas, money and causes car problems. Check your vehicle owner's manual to find out what type of gas is right for your car.

2. Check the Internet for cheapest gas prices: Find the lowest gas prices in your area by using the sites below:
www.motortrend.com/gas_prices
www.gasbuddy.com
www.gaspricewatch.com
www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/gasprices/states/index.shtml

3. Nationwide gas discount and rebate gas station finder:
To find the nearest gas station that gives gas discounts for paying in cash or rebates/rewards by utilizing certain credit cards, visit: www.nerdwallet.com/gas-prices

4. Credit and debit cards: Some credit and debit cards provide reward points, coupons or other benefits for purchasing gas. For a list of credit cards that offer gas discounts, rebates, etc., visit:
www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/711457
www.indexcreditcards.com/gascreditcards.html
www.rewardscards.com/gas-rebate-cards-ranked.asp

 

(Updated) Go Further On A Tank Of Gas! by Jeff Burch will continue tomorrow on the Trans World Assurance Blog with PART 2 - Tips 5 thru 7 .

Tags: Trans World Assurance, Money Book, Jeff Burch, money saving tips, better gas mileage

Security Clearance Debt Concerns & Solutions (Part 3) by Jeff Burch

Posted on Mon, Dec 26, 2011

Previous Article - Part 2

Part 3. Solutions and assistance that can mitigate financial concerns:

Conscientious participation in credit counseling or a debt consolidation program can significantly mitigate financial concerns. Consistent, systematic, documented good faith efforts to repay or otherwise resolve debts without formal counseling will have the same effect. If it is obvious that the subject is only taking such actions to get or retain a security clearance, it will do little to convince Central Adjudication Facilities (CAF) that the problem is unlikely to recur once the clearance is granted. Therefore, efforts to resolve financial problems should begin as soon as possible. Obviously, the earlier corrective action is taken, the more likely the problem can be fully mitigated.

For further assistance, contact a reputable nonprofit 501(c)(3) Credit Counseling Agency (CCA) that has extensive experience assisting soldiers in protecting or saving their security clearance. In most cases, they can negotiate a debt repayment plan with your collectors and put these accounts on a Debt Management Plan (DMP) to be paid off as quickly as your budget allows. A CCA can provide you with a detailed report that lists all your consolidated accounts, contact information, payment amounts, and projected pay off dates. This minimizes financial risk associated with your career and aids in the acceptance of your security clearance.


Security Clearance Debt Concerns & Solutions was written by Jeff Burch. Be sure to check out the other articles on the Trans World Assurance blog written by Jeff Burch.

Tags: military, Money Book, Jeff Burch, establish credit, Security Clearance, debt

Security Clearance Debt Concerns & Solutions (Part 2) By Jeff Burch

Posted on Sat, Dec 24, 2011

Previous Article - Part 1

Part 2. What "patterns" adjudicators look for in a Personal Security Investigation (PSI):

Adjudicators follow the "whole-person" concept and look for "patterns" of irresponsibility in a PSI. A bankruptcy or foreclosure can be considered a non-issue if the financial crisis stemmed largely from circumstances beyond the subject's control and is unlikely to recur or the subject acted in a reasonable and responsible manner.

Example: If a subject has never had financial problems in the past, but got into trouble with a lender because his/her home is currently worth less than the mortgage loan due to a market downturn, and then (gulp) received PCS orders, this would tend to be considered a mitigating condition. However, if a subject going through foreclosure has a prior history of not meeting financial obligations documented in previous investigations, this suggests a pattern of financial irresponsibility that cannot be easily brushed aside. Likewise, a soldier who obtained a loan by overstating income or committed other types of loan fraud may find it difficult to convince the adjudicators that he/she was just an innocent victim of circumstances beyond their control.

 Adjudicators understand that financial problems often arise due to situations beyond the investigation subject's control, such as serious illness/disability, divorce, loss of income, crime, business downturn, and natural disasters. Again, if a person acts reasonably and responsibly under the circumstances (including bankruptcy, when necessary) to resolve their debts, the financial issue can be mitigated. The debts do not have to be fully resolved at the time of adjudication, but there should be "verifiable uninterrupted efforts" toward this goal. Response to debt is evaluated by the things people do (or don't do) about delinquent debt. How people deal with delinquent debt is often a decisive consideration, because it is viewed by adjudicators as an indication of their trustworthiness and reliability. Those who disregard their financial obligations may also disregard their responsibility to safeguard classified information. The following is a list of common indicators of irresponsibility and unethical behavior:

• Changing address without notifying creditors
• Failure to take reasonable measures to pay or reduce debts
• Knowingly issuing bad checks
• Increased credit card use immediately before filing for bankruptcy

 

Security Clearance Debt Concerns & Solutions by Jeff Burch will continue tomorrow on the Trans World Assurance Blog with Part 3 - Solutions and assistance that can mitigate financial concerns.

Tags: military, Money Book, Jeff Burch, establish credit, Security Clearance, debt

Security Clearance Debt Concerns & Solutions (Part 1) By Jeff Burch

Posted on Fri, Dec 23, 2011

Previous Article - Introduction

Part 1. Concerns and issues that can occur if you're not proactive with your security clearance:

A. Financial concerns: 

Failure or inability to live within one’s means, satisfy debts, and meet financial obligations may indicate poor self-control, lack of judgment, or unwillingness to abide by rules and regulations, all of which can raise questions about an individual’s reliability, trustworthiness and ability to protect classified information. An individual who is financially overextended is at risk of engaging in illegal acts to generate funds. Compulsive gambling is a concern as it may lead to financial crimes including espionage. Affluence that cannot be explained by known sources of income is also a security concern. It may indicate proceeds from financially profitable criminal acts.
 
B. Conditions that raise security concerns and may lead to disqualification:

• Inability or unwillingness to satisfy debts
• Indebtedness caused by frivolous or irresponsible spending and the absence of any evidence of
willingness or intent to pay the debt or establish a realistic plan to pay the debt  
• A history of not meeting financial obligations
• Deceptive or illegal financial practices such as embezzlement, employee theft, check fraud, income tax evasion, expense account fraud, filing deceptive loan statements, and other intentional financial breaches of trust
• Consistent spending beyond one’s means, which may be indicated by excessive indebtedness, significant negative cash flow, high debt-to-income ratio, and/or other financial analysis
• Financial problems that are linked to drug abuse, alcoholism, gambling problems, or other issues of security concern
• Failure to file annual Federal, state, or local income tax returns as required or the fraudulent filing of the same
• Unexplained affluence, as shown by a lifestyle or standard of living, increase in net worth, or money transfers that cannot be explained by subject's known legal sources of income
• Compulsive or addictive gambling as indicated by an unsuccessful attempt to stop gambling, concealment of losses, borrowing money to fund gambling or pay gambling debts, family conflict or other problems caused by gambling

C. Conditions that could mitigate security concerns:

• The behavior happened so long ago, was so infrequent, or occurred under such circumstances that it is unlikely to recur and does not cast doubt on the individual’s current reliability, trustworthiness, or good judgment
• The conditions that resulted in the financial problem were largely beyond the person's control (e.g., loss of employment, a business downturn, unexpected medical emergency, or a death, divorce or separation), and the individual acted responsibly under the circumstances
• The person has received or is receiving counseling for the problem and/or there are clear indications that the problem is being resolved or is under control
• The individual initiated a good-faith effort to repay overdue creditors or otherwise resolve debts
• The individual has a reasonable basis to dispute the legitimacy of the past-due debt which is the cause of the problem and provides documented proof to substantiate the basis of the dispute or provides evidence of actions taken to resolve the issue
• The affluence resulted from a legal source of income

 

Security Clearance Debt Concerns & Solutions by Jeff Burch will continue tomorrow on the Trans World Assurance Blog with Part 2 - What "patterns" adjudicators look for in a Personal Security Investigation (PSI).

Tags: military, Money Book, Jeff Burch, establish credit, Security Clearance, debt

Security Clearance Debt Concerns & Solutions (Intro) by Jeff Burch

Posted on Thu, Dec 22, 2011

INTRODUCTION

A security clearance is a status granted to individuals allowing them access to classified information, i.e., state secrets, or to restricted areas after completion of a thorough background check. Additionally, a security clearance can be a lucrative commodity to retain after service separation for future employment opportunities.

To apply for Military Security Clearance one must fill out and complete Standard Form 86 (www.opm. gov/Forms/pdf_fill/SF86_July2008.pdf).

Included in the SF 86 questionnaire is Section 26 that concerns your financial records within the last 7 years, and asks for full disclosure of all financial obligations, including those in which you are a cosigner or guarantor. Questions asked pertain to bankruptcy, repossessions, liens, unpaid judgments, wages garnished, 90/180 days current or past due/delinquent accounts, etc. Dire consequences may come about if discrepancies arise.

Example: A soldier marks "no" to all Section 26 questions, assuming he had paid all his bills on time, never been late, etc. But 3 years prior when splitting a townhouse rental with 3 other people, the cable was in his name. When he moved out, he told the roommates to return the cable box. They never did and the cable company marked him down for an unpaid return 3 years ago. Fast forward 5 years and the US Government pulls his credit and sees the discrepancy. The soldier has lied (unknowingly) on his SF 86 and they discharge him from service.

 

Security Clearance Debt Concerns & Solutions by Jeff Burch will continue tomorrow on the Trans World Assurance Blog with Part 1 - Concerns and issues that can occur if you're not proactive with your security clearance.

Tags: military, Money Book, Jeff Burch, establish credit, Security Clearance, debt, credit history

Can Your Marriage Survive Military Retirement?

Posted on Mon, Dec 05, 2011


Trans World Assurance Military RetirementMilitary couples go through a lot of challenges and experiences that civilian couples do not often have to face, such as periods of separation due to deployments, training exercises or temporary duty. There are a number of other unique issues that many couples have to face that can tear them apart such as combat-related injuries and psychological issues that they are left with when they return home. If you are coming up to military retirement, you and your spouse may both be breathing a sigh of relief. Finally, you have made it! Or have you? How can your marriage survive military retirement?

Choosing Where to Live
After spending 20 years or more being told where to move to by the military, making up your own minds about where to settle can be a challenge. The military will pay for one last move for you, so make sure you are both in agreement as to where you will go. Take your time to decide what would be best for you as a couple and as a family. Making quick or hasty decisions can lead to further stress later on.

The Military Retirement Ceremony
The retirement ceremony is a traditional way to mark a person's transition from active duty to civilian life, but it is not a legal requirement. Some choose to slip away quietly with a small family gathering to celebrate their new status, rather than involve their former work colleagues. Speak to your spouse about your expectations, plans and how you feel about having a retirement ceremony. If you want a retirement ceremony, that can be arranged and adapted in accordance with your personal wishes.

Open Communication
Open communication is the glue that keeps spouses together. Keep the lines of communication open as you embark on your next journey together as a couple. Do not let the stresses and strains of out-processing, moving house, adjusting to a reduction in pay and other issues stop you from communicating openly and honestly with your spouse about your fears and concerns for the present, and for what the future holds.

It is perfectly normal to be afraid of what the future may hold, especially when you have spent your whole adult life being closely supervised and instructed on how to act and conduct yourself. Now you are on your own to decide all that for yourself. But for married military retirees, they are not really on their own. They should lean on their spouses even more so than ever before to help them with their transition. Doing so will keep a couple strong.

Military retirees need to maintain stronger marriages with their spouses now than ever before, as transitioning can be very challenging and stressful. Your marriage can survive military retirement if you are supportive of each other during this time of change and transition. Lean on each other for support, communicate openly and you will find that your marriage will continue to go from strength to strength.


---------------------------------------
Written by, Sophie S

Sophie S is a freelance writer from the UK residing in California. She holds a BA (Hons) in English with Sociology. She works as a freelance writer, specializing in web content on immigration, expatriate life, cat care and much more. Sophie has had over 3,500 articles published on the Yahoo! Contributor Network, other sites and for private clients.

Tags: military, retirement, military spouse

The Military Spouse and Deployment

Posted on Wed, Nov 30, 2011

Military Spouse

Whatever your branch of service, and if you’ve experienced, are experiencing or are about to experience the distance caused by your spouse’s deployment, this blog article is for you. In the wake of your significant other’s long-term absence, a lot is going on - both in life and in the mind. Children, if applicable, are growing and changing. Important happenings are occurring that you would love to be able to share – in person. You’re happy, sad, lonely, excited and frustrated. You may have accepted there will be no more hugs or kisses. Intimacy is definitely out the window and a good face to face conversation will be, or is now, a thing of the past.

Don’t let the ebb and flow of a deployment drag your relationship under. There are ways to combat the negativity and keep your marriage on the right path when your spouse is gone.

COMMUNICATION: Whether it’s via email, phone or letters, you have to remember to communicate. If you’re having a hard day, or week, be open and honest about it. Don’t keep things bottled up inside. Let it out! Your spouse is your best friend right now and they need to hear these things almost as badly as you need to dispel them. Leave no pressing subject unrevealed. Even if they don’t ask, please, still tell. Resentment could build if this is not taken care of properly. Everyone will deal with the distance in their own way, but communicating your life and current needs is very important.

STAY POSITIVE: Even if you don’t feel positive, act like it. The above-mentioned communication is a must, but trying to remain positive is really the key. When you get to talk to your spouse, and if nothing terribly important needs to be addressed, tell them about your day; what you did or where you went. Recall funny instances with your children or pets. Talk about friends, family or someone new and interesting you met. Keep the brave face on. It is just as important for your significant other to know you’re having a bad day as it is for them to know you’re also okay. Mastering the technique of balancing positive communication and pressing issues will be hard, but it must be done.

CARE PACKAGES: With an array of care packages to choose from on the Internet, there should be no shortage in sending these. Put your own spin on one and have fun putting it all together. Pick a date each month you want to send one out and think of how excited your spouse will be to receive it.

PUT YOURSELF IN THEIR SHOES: How would you think or feel if you were the one who had to be completely separated from family and friends? Okay, so some days your significant other isn’t the best conversationalist; they only want to discuss work and they don’t even ask about your day. They seem distant or disconnected. Or perhaps they’re even a bit clingy. Either way, take a frustrated step back and try to imagine how you might be handling the distance from their perspective.

REMEMBER, YOU LOVE EACH OTHER: Don’t forget, there is a reason you both are doing this. There is a reason you both signed on. You knew your love had no bounds and that no amount of distance or time could ever truly separate you. Is this one of the hardest things you’ve ever done? Yes, it is. Does the distance and longevity test you mentally on a daily basis? Of course it does. But of all the things listed, this one is the most important. Because no matter how hard or vexing this has been, you must always remember you love each other.


Written by Sarah Shepherd
Sarah is a proud Navy wife and stay at home mom. She enjoys writing freelance articles in her spare time and composes writings on a variety of subjects.

Tags: Trans World Assurance, military move, military spouse, deployment

Surviving a Military Move: A Guide for Spouses

Posted on Fri, Sep 30, 2011

 



transworldassuranceYou’re a military spouse and you expect this, but relocating is a huge undertaking. The idea of packing up your entire life and moving to a new place is very overwhelming. However, the following tips will get you started down the right path and help you get through your move with ease.

Get Organized

A lot of paperwork goes into a military move. First, find out which documents you will be required to have. Get a large expandable folder and keep everything organized. Make several copies of the most important documents because you will be expected to provide a copy to each of the departments and agencies involved in your relocation.

Be Persistent

Although we would all like to believe in military efficiency, those with experience know that’s not always the case. If you are expecting something, whether it be an answer to a question or a necessary document, and you do not receive it, then you need to speak up. Call or go to the department and remind them of what you need. If you are having an especially hard time getting anything done, your spouse’s chain of command may be able to offer some assistance.

Research

There is a wealth of information to help with military moves on the internet. Do some research ahead of time to help you have a better understanding of what you’ll be experiencing. Military OneSource, Military HOMEFRONT, and SMARTWebMove are all excellent sources of information.

Connect

The best source of information are other military families. Most have been through a relocation at least once. If you have a question about something, chances are someone else has already experienced it. Try to connect with families at your new installation. They will have a better idea of the ins and outs of that particular place and will be able to point you in the right direction.

If you’re having a hard time relating to others in your area, there are several online groups that can help. Many of these group’s members include spouses from all over the world and all branches of the military. There are so many support groups on the internet that you can search for one that will best meet your needs and interests.

International Moves

As hard as domestic moves can be, international ones tend to be even more difficult. First, everyone in your family will be required to have a no-fee passport. It does not cost you anything and can only be used for government purposes. You will be using it when you first enter your new country and when you leave it. If you’re planning on doing any traveling while living abroad, you’ll need a tourist passport.

Everyone in your family will also undergo a screening to determine if they are healthy enough to leave the country and live abroad. Any necessary medical procedures will have to be taken care of before you leave.

You should also expect the bulk of your household goods to take several months to arrive at your new home. You will be able to pack vital belongings into a smaller shipment, called unaccompanied baggage, which will get to you much quicker.

Expect the Unexpected

Relocating your family is a big deal! There is so much and so many people involved that getting everything off without a hitch is near impossible. Not everything is going to go exactly as planned. The more you come to terms with this now, the less frustrated you’ll be when it happens.

The life of a military family can be difficult, but it can also be very exciting. You have an opportunity to travel and live in many places all over the country and even throughout the world. The better planned your relocation is, the more you can enjoy this experience!

Tags: military spouses, military move, transworldassurance, relocation