Active duty service members and veterans face unique challenges. The Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report that found that for the fourth year in a row, veterans are having a harder time finding jobs than non-veterans.
“This Memorial Day, I can think of no better way to honor our service men and women than with the gift of financial freedom,” said Steve Trumble, president and CEO of Newton, Mass.-based American Consumer Credit Counseling. “The dynamics of supporting a household while on active duty can be especially complex, and often the process of just paying routine bills can become a challenge. The last thing any military member should worry about while serving our country is their financial situation at home.”
According to a recent survey conducted by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, most rank-and-file service members are troubled by their financial situations and future ability to earn and save enough. Fifty-seven percent say they’re worried about potential loss of income and job security as a result of defense cuts and downsizing. Additionally, 55 percent say they’re ill-prepared financially for an emergency. More troubling, despite a recovering economy, they’re more worried now than they were 12 months ago.
“The unique challenges of military life both pre and post deployment – frequent relocation, separation from family and friends, the stresses of deployment, and returning to limited employment opportunities – often lead to increased vulnerability to identity theft, failure to pay household expenses, heavy reliance on mortgage options, and significant credit card usage,” said Trumble.
Tips from national nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling for military families who want financial freedom:
1. Take advantage of resources – suspend cell phone use while deployed, through the Veteran’s Benefit’s Improvement Act
2. Reduce auto insurance policy limits for cars that will be stored
3. Reduce credit card, mortgage, and auto loan interest rates to six percent during deployment
4. Get involved with a Thrift Savings Plan, a retirement plan for military personnel
5. Take advantage of the Valor Act, an act that transfers skill sets learned in the military to resumes and college credits
6. Visit the Militarysaves.org for Department of Defense approved organizations to assist with financial resources
In addition to the guidance below from ACCC’s financial education experts, who work every day with hundreds of military men and women, the nonprofit also launched an online veterans and military financial resource center on their website, ConsumerCredit.com. The resource center provides direct access to money management, budgeting, and financial literacy education.
The resource center provides former and current military members with the information and tools to evaluate their current financial situations, assist with future planning and analysis, and create target plans to manage and overcome their financial challenges.