A Captain’s Perspective

Capt Julia O’Brien, a command financial specialist, gave birth to a daughter in May, a couple months into the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Department of Agriculture (USDA), on average, middle-income parents (including many Service Members) will spend about $284,570 by the time a child turns 18. Of course, the cost of childcare varies widely and depends on where you live. The same hold true for education cost. The good news is that that each additional child costs less as economies of scale kicks in.

Here’s Captain O’Brien’s perspective”

“Having a child during a global pandemic probably looks a lot different than what you had initially imaged. Having a child in general presents many unforeseen joys and challenges.

For those that like checklists this guide provides a list with instructions on how to complete follow-on actions such as DEERS and Tricare registration along with information and resource links on financial planning, transferring educational benefits, and many other additional resources.

Stay Fit, Financially

  • Sticking with a budget after having a baby can be challenging. If you don’t already have one, now is the time to establish a budget to allocated and keep track of the additional and reoccurring expenses that can quickly add up with a child. Request a meeting in person or virtually with your Command Financial Specialist or Installation Personal Financial Manager for assistance.
  • Buying or borrowing second hand will significantly reduce your expenses. Look locally in your community and online for items that parents are usually more than happy to get of their house and pass along.

Stay Fit, Physically

  • Drink plenty of water, drinking 8 ounces following every nursing session if your breastfeeding can help you stay hydrated
  • Get outside and walk at least once a day (weather-permitting) with your baby in a stroller or backpack. It’s good exercise and a great way to feel more connected with the outdoors and your neighborhood.
  • Semper Fit offers online workouts but make sure to go at your own pace and follow your Health Care Providers recommendations

Stay Fit, Emotionally

  • If your feeling isolated during this time, stuck at home without family close know that’s very common to feel lonely. To combat this, not only can daily walks help but making regular dates with friends and family virtually. Online platforms can help you stay engaged with loved ones and while they might not be able to make a meal or do the dishes in person, they may be able to send you some support virtually as well.
  • Make connections locally with other Marine Corps families through L.I.N.K.S., offered by Marine Corps Family Team Building.

Get support locally through the New Parent Support Program (NPSP), a professional team of social workers, counselors and registered nurses who provide education and support to Marine families who are expecting or raising children aged 0 -5 years old. For more information about available services, please contact your installation New Parent Support Program.

HELP

Knowing that this COVID season is especially challenging, don’t hesitate to ask for help and support from your family, friends, other moms, healthcare professionals and resources available in your community.

Financial Guidance

The installation’s Personal Financial Manager (PFM) and your Command Financial Specialist (CFS)  can help with financial issues and concerns as you navigator through the formative years with the children.

Here are other financial resources

  • Financial calculators, which include living wage and mortgage calculators
  • The Office of Financial Readiness’ financial literacy website
  • How to Avoid Fraud videos by the Securities and Exchange Commission
  • National Consumers League’s site with information on scams and fraud prevention
  • Federal Trade Commission site with info on spotting imposter scams
  • Investor Protection Trust site
  • Understanding titles of financial professionals: Use this tool to decode the letters that can follow a financial professional’s name. You can also see whether the issuing organization requires continuing education, takes complaints, or has a way for you to confirm who holds the credential.

Explore COVID–19 resources

  • Marine Corps Community Services COVID-19 resources
  • Office of Financial Readiness COVID-19 resources