MilFams Worry About Pay and Retirement

Army family.

The Blue Star Families 2015 Military Family Lifestyle Survey has been released, and it includes tons of information.  Over 6,200 military family members, including actively serving and veteran, contributed to the study.  It doesn’t come as a huge surprise that the top two issues concerning military families are Military Pay and Benefits, and Retirement Benefits.

Here are some key takeaways:

“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.”

“Employment and financial aspects of transition from active duty were reported to be the most difficult areas of transition for post-9/11 veterans.”

“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).”

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

“58% of active duty spouses who were not working indicated they wanted to be employed.”

I’m not sure any of these are huge surprises, but it is always useful to have actual statistics.  There is a lot of relatively complex stuff in the full report, and I’m looking forward to reading it thoroughly and learning more about the needs of military families.  While finances are only one part of the many complex issues facing military families, but they are an important part, and this survey shows that financial issues are at the top of military family concerns.  Anything that can be done to help military families feel more financially secure is a great thing!

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.