How military spouses hold down the home front

Family members and U.S. soldiers embrace following a welcome home ceremony for troops returning from Iraq.

The spouses in our military finance roundtable

Earlier we heard how a helicopter squadron at Camp Pendleton is teaching Marines about money management. In a military family, one of the biggest financial challenges is when a spouse deploys. We gathered a group of military spouses at Vandenburg Air Force base in Lompoc, Calif. to talk about some of those challenges.

Margo Kwasnoski's husband has been in the Air Force for 15 years and is currently deployed overseas. Ryan Filowich's wife Amanda has been in military for eight years. And Tamar Luck's husband Aaron is in the Army but stationed at Vandenberg.

All the spouses agreed that in many ways they are more "mature" than civilian families about money, because they're forced to ask uncomfortable questions -- like what will happen if a spouse is killed while deployed. Margo, Ryan and Tamar all had slightly different ways of managing their money, but one thing they all had in common was that they and their spouses clearly delineated financial responsibilities and set up retirement and life insurance accounts early. Listen to the interview above for more insight on the personal finance habits of these military families.

About the author

Tess Vigeland is the host of Marketplace Money, where she takes a deep dive into why we do what we do with our money.

The spouses in our military finance roundtable

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