New Report Highlights Void in Financial Services Available to Military Families

May 8, 2014
Yahoo! Finance 
Many military households are challenged by their lack of financial education and limited awareness of the services available to them, according to the nonprofit Blue Star Families. Its report, "Promoting Financial Literacy among Service Members, Veterans, and Military Families: Gaps in Resources and Recommendations for Services," highlights critical issues involved in the financial preparedness of some military personnel.

The unique challenges to service members and their families include unexpected moves, discontinuity in employment, and challenges to their educational goals. These can affect their long-term financial status and ability to accrue wealth. Many military households that lack solid knowledge about their financial options are at risk of getting trapped into debt and experiencing unnecessary stress. They also may be targets for scams and fraudsters.

The Blue Star Families' 2013 Military Families Lifestyle Survey found that 65 percent of respondents experienced stress related to their current financial conditions. Only 12 percent of respondents in the military community received their financial education through service member training. Ninety percent said they wanted more emphasis on preventive financial education. Another 82 percent agreed that their spouse should be included in financial readiness courses.

The report supports basic and preventive financial education for all stages of military life and recommends that military members and their families be encouraged to be "vigilant and proactive" about finances. The report also recommends education for specific groups in the military communities, such as caregivers and those facing deployment.

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