Practical Money Solutions To Every Veteran’s Common Financial Problems
Going back to life as a civilian after military service has its fair share of emotional issues, but that doesn’t mean that the practical parts aren’t just as hard. One still needs to find a job, somewhere to live and paying for everything that comes with that. Considering that many vets sign up for service when they’re still young, their financial management skills are often lacking. Issues like homeownership and handling debt are usually out of the military mindset, where one has such needs covered. So, perhaps some tips and advice on getting to grips with civilians finances might be in order.
Stay away from loan sharks and don’t fall into debts.
A number of proposals have been suggested by the Department of Defense to help veterans avoid predatory lenders. Considering the higher risk veterans run of facing financial difficulties, the D.o.D.’s advice is more than welcome.
When members of the military rejoin civilian life, they have an increased chance of facing money problems, compared to others. This situation is something loan sharks are keen to exploit, which is why the D.o.D. is seeking to make regulations on the issue more robust. One such rule, for instance, is the provision that 36% is the highest percentage rate per year on consumer credit that can be charged. The only types of loans that used to fall under this rule were vehicle title, payday and tax refund anticipation.
Keep positivity about financial freedom.
It’s not just the reality, it’s also the veterans’ outlook on their financial prospects that is worse than that of the general population. More than half of them, 55% to be exact, don’t consider themselves ready to face an emergency of a financial nature, compared to the 43% of civilians who think the same. “Men and women in the uniform face many challenges and daily sacrifices while serving our country — financial concerns shouldn’t be one of them,” Susan Keating, president and CEO of the NFCC said.
Even more troubling is how easily financial problems that veterans face can snowball into huge issues. Something as minor as going over one’s credit limit or a bounced check can lead to a homeless veteran within a year, four times as easily as one without such problems. At least, those were the findings of a survey in the American Journal of Public Health, which examined the cases of 1,000 veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq.
Create a transition fund.
As shown by the survey data above, just one-third of veterans went through a smooth reintegration into civilian life and almost half of them were not ready to do so, emotionally. The main causes of these problems seem to be various health issues they face and high unemployment rates.
Unsurprisingly, a lot of those health issues are directly related to their service, which leads many among them to want to relax and think things through before making any important decisions after their time in the army is over.
According to a financial advisor, many in the military, grown complacent by the regularity and stability of their income, fail to maintain a cash cushion for an emergency. Unfortunately, when their service ends, many take more time to find a job than one would expect. Therefore, a decent “cushion” should be enough to live on for nine months. A good start would be to save 10% of one’s salary in a savings account or a fund. A homeowner can also apply for a home-equity line of credit, a decent emergency cash flow which can be easier to secure while still in the armed forces.
The bottom line is to be prepared, both you and your loved ones, to overcome some difficulties in transitioning from deployment to civilian life.
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