Military families are much like their civilian neighbors. Many need dual incomes to meet their financial goals; are concerned about pay and benefits; worry about childcare and education; and want to establish roots and contribute to their community’s well-being. However, the unique demands of military service result in exceptional issues and challenges for service members and their families.
Blue Star Families conducted its 6th annual Military Lifestyle Survey in April-May, 2015 to identify contemporary issues facing military families and to increase understanding and support of the military lifestyle. Over 6,200 military family members, including active duty service members and veterans, provided valuable insight regarding the true cost of sustaining the All-Volunteer Force.
Military Pay/Benefits and Changes to Retirement Benefits are the top two issues for all respondent subgroups and they are the same two top issues as indicated in last year’s survey.
Military Spouse Employment, Veteran Employment, and Service Member and Veteran Suicide were key issues that varied by subgroup.
Top Trends and Findings for 2015
- Trend: Uncertainty with the military lifestyle. This uncertainty manifested in nervousness about job security, retirement benefits, financial security, and future employment prospects for service members and their spouses. For example, the top three obstacles to financial security identified by active duty service members and their spouses were: uncertainty in military life, military spouse employment, and saving for retirement.
- Trend: Childcare challenges. Childcare challenges and concern for children’s mental, physical, and educational well-being were noted across qualitative responses. Additional support for flexible and affordable childcare remains a top request.
- Trend: Overall, veterans reported positive feelings towards the military, such as pride in their military experience, being prepared to be leaders, and agreement that the military had played a role in their success.
- Trend: Employment and financial aspects of transition from active duty were reported to be the most difficult areas of transition for post-9/11 veterans.
- Trend: Worry over housing costs. For the second year in a row, over one-third of active duty family respondents indicated area housing costs were higher than their housing allowance (BAH).
- New Trend: The military lifestyle is expensive. Seventy-three percent of active duty families reported incurring unexpected expenses as a result of the military lifestyle. Frequent moves/Permanent Change of Station (PCS) costs topped the list of unanticipated costs with 86% of those incurring costs experiencing unexpected relocation expenses.
- New Trend: Homeschooling. Seven percent of respondents with school-aged children indicated their children were home schooled, indicating military families homeschool their children at greater than double the homeschooled among the general US population. A significant percentage of spouses who were not employed indicated in qualitative responses that homeschooling was the reason.
- New Finding: Military families with employed spouses experienced greater financial security, better mental health, and higher satisfaction with the military lifestyle.
- New Finding: Many military spouses pursue additional education as a strategy in overcoming employment challenges that arise as a result of the result of the military lifestyle. Thirteen percent of active duty spouse respondents who were not employed but wanted to be indicated they were currently students and will be looking for jobs soon.
- New Finding: Active duty participation in formal financial literacy and planning programs was low. However, a significant majority of active duty respondents support financial literacy training through DoD and expansion of unit-level financial readiness support.
- New Finding: Family was central in active duty service members’ financial decisions and benefit use. Seventy-six percent of respondents indicated they or their service member had already or is planning to transfer their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to a family member. Active duty military families desire financial education that includes family members.
- New Finding: Roughly half of the employed veterans were not working in their preferred career field. For post-9/11 veterans, almost half were not working in their preferred career field.
- New Finding: Seventy-four percent of post-9/11 veteran respondents had attended some form of Transition Assistance Programming and 56% agreed that it had prepared them to successfully transition from active duty to civilian life.
When dealing with the stresses of divorce the last thing you want to deal with is an attorney who is inexperienced with the nuances, and paperwork required with a military divorce.
If you are considering a divorce, and you are in the military or a spouse of a servicemember, please contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar either through email or telephone 978-844-4095 to schedule your free one hour no obligation consultation.