Veterans and active duty service members of the U.S. military and their families are struggling as much as everyone else in America with substantial financial problems in the wake of the Great Recession.
According to recent studies, veterans often face greater difficulties in paying their debts and managing their budgets than their civilian counterparts — more than 25 percent of military families have more than $10,000 in credit card debt as compared to 16 percent of private citizens.
The 2011 unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty over the past decade was 12.1 percent, while at the same time the national rate was 8.9 percent.
Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns were facing a national unemployment rate of 17 percent at the beginning of 2012.
One-third of military families report they have trouble paying their bills, while veterans younger than 30 have monthly expenses that exceed their net income by almost $900.
Citi, one of the world’s largest global banks, and CredAbility, a nonprofit credit counseling and education agency, are teaming with several veterans’ service organizations, to put together CredAbility ReConnect – a no-cost online financial education and counseling program created to help current and former service members solve their financial problems and build economic security.
Among the involved veterans organizations are Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the Military Spouse Corporate Career Network (MSCCN) and the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS).
In announcing the program Citi recognized the financial pressures that confront service men and women and the need for them to develop form financial skills.
CredAbility ReConnect was developed to help these deserving men and women build financial capability and achieve long-term economic security for themselves and their families.
“A serious need exists for a targeted set of financial assistance services [for military men and women],”said Gulf War veteran Mechel Glass, vice president of community outreach for CredAbility.
Credibility ReConnect covers five areas
- Online courses to help families learn how to manage money when a spouse is deployed to active duty.
- Information to help ease the financial transition back to civilian life for recently separated military members and for families dealing with the death of a service member.
- Plans to help users manage their budgets and credit card practices.
- Debt management and repayment options.
- Guidance for home buyers and those facing foreclosure proceedings.
The online tools are free and can be customized to the unique needs of service members, veterans, family members and/or survivors.
Bill “No Pay” Fay has lived a meager financial existence his entire life. He started writing/bragging about it seven years ago, helping birth Debt.org into existence as the site’s original “Frugal Man.” Prior to that, he spent more than 30 years covering college and professional sports, which are the fantasy worlds of finance. His work has been published by the Associated Press, New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Sports Illustrated and Sporting News, among others. His interest in sports has waned some, but his interest in never reaching for his wallet is as passionate as ever. Bill can be reached at email@example.com.
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- Ruse, A. (2012, June 19). Financial Education Program for Military Families Launched. Retrieved June 27, 2012, from http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2012/06/15/financial-education-program-for-military-families-launched/
- McCarthy, M. (2012, June 8). IAVA Launches CredAbility ReConnect Program with Citi. Retrieved June 27, 2012, from http://iava.org/blog/iava-launches-credability-reconnect-program-citi
- Business Wire. (2012, June 7). Citi and CredAbility Join with IAVA, TAPS, and MSCCN to Launch Online Financial Education and Counseling Program for Armed Forces Members, Veterans, and Their Families. Retrieved June 27, 2012, from http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20120606006994/en/Citi-CredAbility-Join-IAVA-TAPS-MSCCN-Launch