Individual Ready Reserve

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Individual Ready Reserve

Alexandra Rodriguez

This is a tough one because when I am not a soldier, even though I very recently went into the IRR (Individual Ready Reserve), and this was a choice I made for my family, I have also worked telecommuting in the private sector on contract jobs that have been pretty good to me. However, I am now not on a contract, and that designates me to the grey area of stay-at-home mother/homemaker and student. This status leaves me subject to federal regulations that affect me heavily, because I have one of the toughest, most intense (at times), full time jobs, that doesn’t pay a dime.

If my husband and I wanted to keep our spending separate, and I decided to apply for a credit card, by the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act, or CARD Act, of 2009, this regulation would prohibit me from doing so. If I haven’t saved enough from my previous contract, or drill pay is slow coming that month for whatever reason, I would be a fish out of water. My employer sponsored 401(k) could also be at risk as well, because present federal law requires my husband to tender an in-person signature to be added to the account. But if someone with a 401(k) changes jobs, that person can cash out the 401(k) without getting a spouse’s permission. The person also can roll the funds into an individual retirement account and name someone else as the beneficiary, Matsui says. So no matter how much I love my husband, if things went sour, as a homemaker with no income, this would be a huge target on my back.

Social Security might be an issue, because I don’t contribute anything (or much) as a stay at home mother. This could affect someone who stays at home to raise their children, and then divorces their spouse after possibly decades of not contributing. As a stay at home mother, federal financial regulations state that I am entitled to a spousal benefit if my husband were to die, or if we had been married for longer than 10 years. (Note, if we were married for 9 years and 11 months and 29 days, I would get nothing.)