Americans Are Ranked 16th In The World In Financial Literacy – And Veterans Lag Even Further Behind
It’s a sad fact – according to the latest studies, Americans are lagging many other industrialized countries when it comes to financial literacy. We are ranked 16th in the world, a startling fact considering the amount of wealth, power, and influence we possess on the worldly stage.
Unfortunately, veterans, especially those of us who entered the military right after high school and were discharged while we were still young, are at more of a disadvantage than our civilian counterparts. There are many reasons given for this, but the only solution that we can control directly is to make sure we educate ourselves.
I’m writing this article to bring awareness to these unfortunate statistics so we can help encourage our service members and veterans take the necessary steps to ensure we are preparing for our financial needs of today and tomorrow. I hope you find this information useful.
This Military.com article highlights important evidence supporting that we veterans are at a disadvantage in terms of financial literacy. It also highlights some basic steps to help set us on the right path:
“According to a recent survey by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), veterans are almost twice as likely to have debt carried over from month to month (58%) than civilians (just 34%). Nearly the same percentage of veterans (55%) believe they are ill-prepared for a financial emergency. Is this because veterans are poor and/or uneducated? No.”
Continuing the story, this next article from Foxbusiness.com discusses the need for service member financial literacy to start sooner than it’s happening today. Thankfully improvements are happening but there is still much work to do:
“Financial education is a required part of military training, but military families are twice as likely as civilians to have difficulty making ends meet. At the same time, over nine in ten service members, veterans and their families carry debt, while 38 percent of troops have less than $2,000 saved for an emergency.”
Finally, there is mounting evidence that lack of financial literacy may be a contributor to veteran homelessness. Of course, there are many factors that contribute to this unfortunate story, but ensuring strong financial literacy is something we can directly control for ourselves.
From Stripes.com: “A new report in the American Journal of Public Health found that military members in general are less familiar with household budgets, more likely to be targets for predatory lenders and “may not have the opportunity to learn the skills necessary for being financially independent and managing money.”
Here’s more information on the link between veteran homelessness and the need to improve veteran financial literacy:
From pdfs.semanticsscholar.org: “Although mental illness and substance abuse are often cited as root causes of veteran homelessness and certainly warrant continued attention and intervention, a sometimes overlooked factor in veteran homelessness is difficulty with financial literacy.”
Thankfully, Times Are Changing!
Fortunately, bringing awareness to veteran and service member financial literacy improvement is resulting in some great resources being offered.
From GIJobs.com: “As VA’s Veterans Benefits Administration, we often write about the VA benefits that Veterans, service members and dependents can take advantage of, and while there are many of those, there are also many financial programs and services and benefits extended to Veterans and their families from our partner agencies outside of VA.”
The following is another example of financial resources for veterans and service members. Fortunately, there are many more!
From Military.com: “Life after the military can be intimidating and challenging. In many ways, it’s like moving to a foreign country, a place where you need to learn new customs and navigate often confusing rules. This applies particularly to your finances.”
I hope I’ve conveyed the importance of veterans and service members taking control of our financial literacy, and doing it TODAY! We owe it to ourselves and our families, and although there are many resources available to help us, we must own it. After all, nobody is going to care more about our financial literacy than us!
I am always available to help with further guidance as well. Although my livelihood is centered around improving financial literacy, there are many proprietary tools I offer ABSOLUTELY FREE. These tools will help you understand how well you are doing in progressing toward your short- and long-term financial goals and identify opportunities to get you on track.
This isn’t a sales gimmick and there are no strings attached. It’s simply my way of sharing my knowledge and skills to give back to a community that has given so much to me.
And the list of resources and benefits continues..
“Vets2Industry.com is a FREE active-duty military, veteran, military-spouse, and dependent children resource library, providing knowledge, connections, opportunities and, more importantly, HOPE”
“Money for Veterans has been created in the spirit of veterans helping veterans. You have worked hard securing our national defense, now let us work for you. Our goal is to provide you with an additional resource for veterans’ benefits. How can you find the benefits and money for veterans that you have earned? Browse through our site to find out.”
“The men and women in our armed forces face challenges every day, even after returning from their respective tours of duty. And while nothing can truly compare to the challenges confronted by soldiers, sailors and airmen in the face of combat, integrating oneself back into civilian life — where tracking finances is key — can be tough in its own right.”
“Everyone knows about the federal benefits available to veterans, but did you know many states also offer great benefits to their veterans? State benefits range from free college and employment resources to free hunting and fishing licenses. Most states also offer tax breaks for their veterans and specialized license plates, some states even provide their veterans with cash bonuses just for serving in the military.”
Best of luck to my veteran and service member brothers and sisters! Hooyah!
Blog was originally posted on LinkedIn on December 5, 2019 with permission from Derek Garcia.