In recognition of Military Appreciation Month, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling has released a new financial survey of military personnel which revealed some troubling financial behaviors among servicemembers.
Look at the following survey results to see if you identify with any of the findings:
- Seventy-seven percent of servicemembers have financial worries, and more than half (57%) say they are very worried about the potential loss of income and job security resulting from defense cuts and downsizing;
- Twenty-eight percent are now more worried than they were 12 months ago about how their financial situation will affect their future in the military;
- A majority (55%) believe they are ill-prepared, financially speaking, for an emergency;
- Three out of five servicemembers who have taken a loan in the past 12 months say limited lending options required them to look for alternative, non-traditional lenders to meet their financial needs; and
- Nearly half of servicemembers (49%) have taken out a loan in the past 12 months, which included sources such as a credit card (18%), friends and family (13%), or cash advance or payday lender (6%).
Some striking differences between the military population’s financial behaviors and those of the general U.S. adult population were noted. For instance, the NFCC’s 2014 Consumer Financial Literacy Survey found the following:
- Twice as many (28% servicemembers vs.14% general population) have applied for a new credit card in the last 12 months;
- Almost 6 in 10 (58%) carry some credit card debt from month to month vs. the general population where only about 1 in 3 (34%) carry over credit card debt every month;
- Twice as many have paid less than the minimum required payment in the last 12 months (6% vs. 3%); and,
- Servicemembers were more than twice as likely to obtain a cash advance from a credit card in the last 12 months (5% vs. 2%).
Men and women in uniform face many challenges and daily sacrifices while serving our country. Financial concerns shouldn’t be one of them. That is why the NFCC is committed to ensuring that members of the military, veterans and their families have access to the financial tools and information they need to live a financially stable life. For example, NFCC member agencies are proud to assist military personnel through the Sharpen Your Financial Focus program which includes a dedicated military-specific component.
If any of these behaviors are representative of your financial life, reach out today to a nonprofit NFCC member agency. Locate the agency closest to you by dialing (855) 374-2773, or checking out www.SharpenToday.org. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest serving national nonprofit financial counseling organization. Its mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services. For free and affordable confidential advice through a reputable NFCC Member, call (800) 388-2227, (en Español (800) 682-9832) or visit www.nfcc.org.