Does everyone have fun Memorial Day plans? I’m taking care of dogs, but I don’t mind. They are a terrific group and the holiday pay is very good.
My wife got up at 3 AM to fly to New Mexico. That’s military life sometimes. Instead of deploying for months like some military, she makes shorter trips. This one is ten days, which seems like a lot to me, but many families are further apart.
Memorial Day is different for us. Strictly speaking, Memorial Day is about honoring the Armed Forces who died for our country. I’ve come to stretch the definition of the Armed Forces a bit. While my wife is weapon-trained, her pharmacist duties don’t require her to carry a gun (usually the meaning of the military). Nowadays, guns are useless against many of America’s threats. These threats can be Amthrax (2001) or Katrina (2005) here, Ebola there (2014), or COVID everywhere (2020).
This is where the United States Public Health Service comes in. Just like the Armed Forces, they are on duty 24/7, ready to deploy at a moment’s notice. When my wife returns from these ten days in New Mexico, she’s going on the list to deploy to the border.
Outside of this blog, you may have never heard of the US Public Health Service. Perhaps you’ve seen some of the officers in some COVID briefings. In general, though, they are invisible. You won’t see their Super Bowl commercial. A promotional budget would be ridiculously comical when they don’t have a base. Instead, officers cobbled together some of their own money to make a high-quality PBS documentary (narrated by Ali MacGraw of Love Story fame):
If you have an hour today, please watch the video and make them a little less invisible. It’s important as they continually face political pressure to lose their funding. You can also share it from PBS’ website or with just this link.
This is a personal finance website, so we need to get to National 529 Day (it’s 5/29 – get it?)
I’ve been writing about 529s for years. I started one for my nephew when he was born, and he’ll be able to access it in a couple of years. I only contributed a little money, only $50, on birthdays and Christmas. However, it’s grown to around $5,000.
Most personal finance gurus fund their kids’ 529s more than we do. My wife’s GI Bill will help cover a lot of college costs. We also expect to have more money available as our mortgage will be paid off. Finally, we’re paying a lot for private school now. We get a generous military discount for the school. I believe investing in their education early “snowballs” like compound interest. Hopefully, they’ll get some great aid and scholarships. We’ll also do some college hacking, like dual enrollment.
As I’ve written many times before, our military status is an early retirement cheat code. When it comes to college, that’s definitely true. If you don’t have a cheat code available to you, a 529 plan is the next best plan.
I’ve written two articles that focus on 529 plans:
You may see these bumped to the top of the blog throughout the day.