While US citizens coast to coast are struggling to cope with debt, unemployment and the ongoing effects of the troubled housing market, the country’s servicemen and their families are finding their particular burden is considerably larger.
Generally of a young nature and in many cases forced to relocated on a relatively regular basis, American military families are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain two incomes, put any money side and in many cases make ends meet on day to day basis.
According to Navy Federal Credit Union executive Robert Joshua, members of the armed forces and their families in the US are experiencing difficulties primarily because their chosen vocation is not well-paid to say the least, but also that the majority are “very young and without formal financial literacy training.”
The Defense Department states that on average, members of the armed forces with up to 48 months’ experience take home around $40,000 per year, which includes the standard food and housing allowances. This is increased however in the case of those with families – servicemen with a wife and two children for example will receive on average $52,000.
One of the biggest issues said to be compounding the matter for thousands of military families is the way in which many are required to move house on a frequent basis in line with demands of the job. According to official estimates, the American military family will need to relocate ten-times more frequently than the average family.
As a result, certain families and relatives of servicemen and women who have found it necessary to relocate are speaking out of the way in which the cost of living subsidies afforded by the military do not take into account a number of key costs and concerns.
For example, some are finding that the required moves position them thousands of miles from other family members and loved ones, leading to a choice of scarcely seeing them or handing over thousands of dollars for a return trip.
What’s more, the childcare facilities being offer by some military cases across the US are also being slammed as less than adequate, given the way in which their lack of flexibility with regard to working hours still requires families to fork out for private childcare.
Again, much of the issue is blamed on being forced to move so far away from all other family members.
The struggling housing market is in some cases however taking the biggest financial toll of all, as many military families are being forced to sell their homes for exponentially lower prices than they themselves paid. With the market at something of a rock-bottom, some are finding that the sale value of their home does not even cover the outstanding mortgage balance and are therefore having to supplement this with the own funds following sale of the property.
Unemployment also appears to be plaguing the spouses of servicemen and women across the US, with national averages reaching 26% in February this year – over triple the standard civilian national average of 8.3%.
What’s more, military spouses have also been found to take home lesser salaries on average than the rest of the population, regardless of qualifications and experience.