The military takes care of most things while uniformed men and women are in service. This creates a sense of comfort for most people enrolled in any of the military branches. However, once people become veterans and they’re no longer serving, they might find every-day tasks truly challenging. One of these is managing their finances.
The statistics are truly alarming. Approximately nine in ten military members, whether they’re in service or they’re veterans, find themselves in debt. While they can get payday loans for veterans to make ends meet, this is hardly a long-term solution. Another scary number is the fact that 55% percent of veterans think they are not prepared to face a monetary emergency. This is in line with the fact that around 38% of those surveyed don’t even have $2,000 saved in case of an emergency.
This is where financial literacy can greatly help veterans.
As it happens, financial issues are one of the main things veterans have to struggle with as they’re adapting to life as a civilian. As if the adjustment that comes with not wearing the uniform every day wasn’t enough, new veterans have to deal with numerous concerns. From health insurance to regularly paying taxes, things can get very complicated quickly.
Some of these issues have been dragged for most of the person’s military career, and now it’s time to address them. It has been determined that many suicides that take place within the veteran population are caused by the stress of financial struggle. After a lifetime of serving their country, these men and women find themselves unable to get out of debt, and they decide to take their lives out of despair.
While this is not the only cause of suicide in veterans, it undoubtedly has significant weight. Due to this situation, a law was passed in 2016 that addresses the issue. According to this law, military personnel must be taught about finances, so that they can start planning for their future way before they retire. Financial experts have found that most of the members of the military didn’t have an understanding about how to set funds that could earn them interests, or even about the fees an ATM can charge.
There’s a lot to be done to solve this issue. However, it was determined in 2018 that the situation has improved after financial training began in full in the military. However, some experts have stated that this is a shortsighted solution and that more preventive measures can be taken.
One of these preventive strategies would be creating high school programs that have the goal of teaching all about personal finance management. This would be a solution that could benefit not only military personnel but also the general population, which could have numerous positive consequences. One of these would be a decrease in homelessness, which is one of the main concerns when it comes to veterans.
The military can garner further benefits from having its personnel better trained when it comes to finances. According to the US Department of Defense, this could have a significant impact on military retention. If military members manage their finances better, then their salary could be better invested, which would lead to fewer separations from the military that are caused by these financial issues. According to some estimates, this increase in retention could translate into savings of up to $137 million every year.
Another reason why financial literacy is so important for veterans is health management. Veterans need an understanding of which healthcare option they should sign up for. For example, for veterans who served for over 20 years, there’s a government healthcare plan available. Despite this, a great number of veterans prefer to add private insurance on top of that, just in case.
However, if the time of service was less than 20 years, then it’s important to get health insurance as soon as possible. While important in any population, this is especially crucial for veterans, who often have injuries from their time in service. These injuries tend to reappear, which could create hefty bills. Some of these injuries might even show up after retirement, and the bills could quickly devour whatever money they have saved.
Therefore, getting an understanding of basic personal finances is one of the first things any military member should do, whether they are on active duty, or they’re proud veterans.