Supporting a family while your spouse is on active service in the military is not easy. Since military families typically move every two to three years, spouses find themselves constantly on the move, making it difficult to maintain stable employment and pursue a career.
âYou never know what’s going to happen, you don’t know when you’re going to have to move or where you’re going to have to go,â said Flossie Hall, a mother of four whose husband, Michael, is a Chief Petty Officer. ‘US Navy.
âYou are psychologically and emotionally broken down, because you can’t pursue your career goals, you can’t really hook up,â she added. “You really lose your sense of identity.”
Spouses of military personnel often face higher unemployment than their civilian counterparts. In 2019, they had a pay gap of 26% and an unemployment rate of 22%. This year, unemployment is expected to reach 35%.
Flossie Hall, a mother of four whose husband, Michael, is Chief Petty Officer of the US Navy. co-founded the Association of Military Spouse Entrepreneurs (AMSE), to help military joint entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
Kelli Taylor | Purple tree photography
This is why Hall and many others have turned to entrepreneurship. Of the more than 12 million military spouses in the United States, 48% are self-employed, business owners, or aspire to be, according to the Military Spouse Chamber of Commerce.
âYou don’t have to go through a traditional job and quit your job every two or three years,â Hall said. âYou can start your own business, dictate your own salary, and dictate your own career path. “
She co-founded the Association of Military Entrepreneur Spouses (AMSE), which connects joint military entrepreneurs with the tools and resources needed to successfully launch and grow their business.
âWhen I started AMSEâ¦ there were a lot of great resources for veterans, contractors and veteran contractors, but nothing specifically for joint military contractors,â she said.
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Navy veteran Melissa Green, mother of four and wife of Landis Green, a retired US Navy Gunners Mate, is one of nearly 2,000 entrepreneurs Hall has helped.
âIt was quite difficult to start a business, at least for me, because I didn’t know there were ways to start a business while my husband was in the military,â she said. .
However, with the support of AMSE, she started her own coffee business, Southern, sweet and sassy, out of her home earlier this year.
Navy veteran Melissa Green, mother of four and wife of Landis Green, a retired Gunners Mate in the US Navy, started her own coffee business this year.
Lemon Balm Green
Certified financial planner Tara Falcone also embarked on entrepreneurship after starting her career on Wall Street. With her husband, John Falcone, frequently reclassified as an officer in the US Navy, she found more flexibility in entrepreneurship. She started the fintech company, ReisUP, and said she would advise other military spouses struggling with the military lifestyle to consider starting their own businesses as well.
âI have never felt more motivated and excited about what the future holds,â she said.
Here are Falcone’s top tips for military spouses interested in starting their own business:
1. Create a legal entity
Form an S corporation, single member LLC, or C corporation to make sure you can deduct the specific expenses you have for your business. This can offset any income you bring in.
2. Get an accountant
If you run your own business and generate income, you will likely have to pay estimated quarterly taxes on your business’s projected income or your business’s projected profit for the year. To make sure you’re doing everything right, Falcone suggests working with an accountant.
3. Create and maintain an emergency fund
âEntrepreneurship can be very high and low,â Falcone said. âDepending on your industry and what’s going on in the marketâ¦ it’s not always a very stable, expected and easy path. “
She advises making sure you have a rainy day fund for both your business and your family. That way, if you run into a hurdle and your income is low, you can still keep operating.
4. Contribute to retirement
Even if your spouse in the military contributes to their retirement plan, you should still contribute to retirement on your own behalf, Falcone said.
You can do this by funding an IRA, either a Roth IRA or a traditional IRA. Even if you didn’t earn any income that year, your spouse can contribute to a spousal IRA on your behalf and contribute up to the annual maximum. You can also create SINGLE IRAs, SEP IRAs, or solo 401 (k) depending on your business structure. This will provide additional tax benefits depending on your financial situation, according to Falcone.
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Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Tassels.