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How to Reduce the 3 Biggest Financial Stresses Military Service Members Face

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Our military servicemen train rigorously to overcome a stream of stresses on the battlefield. With study and practice infusing them, they outperform every other country’s soldiers.

They don’t get much training in personal finances, however, and managing their living expenses once they get back to civilian life can throw them off track. The Consumer Credit Research Foundation did a survey determining that 13% of the enlisted had taken out a payday loan the previous year, and about 38% of those borrowers felt they didn’t have enough choices to meet their short-term borrowing needs. Financial pressure can devastate a family. A big part of the stress comes from not knowing about the safety nets available for military families. The second stress arises from not understanding how loans, mortgages, savings accounts and investments work. This article grabs the financial bull by the horns, showing service members and their families how to feel more confident about their futures and thus enjoy the present to the fullest.

stress: Concern about losing work via military downsizing

Relief: Former service members can be eligible for various financial assistance programs they may not even be aware of. They may even have enough training to successfully start their own business.
If you are indeed downsized, you can apply for unemployment compensation by going to the state employment services office and speaking with a LVER (Local Veterans Employment Representative), who can assist you in finding new employment. Be sure to bring your Certificate of Release or your Discharge from Active Duty, as well as your social security card and your employment resume.

stress: Financial Emergencies

Relief: Facing a large expense like a car or computer repair or medical treatment with no money frightens all of us. Financial planners encourage everyone to have an emergency account, but many members of the military live paycheck to paycheck. Considering the sacrifice our service members make, it’s understandable that the military makes emergency assistance programs available. Some organizations to contact include:

• Air Force Aid Society has loans and grants to assist the air force service members and their families. Contact them at 800-769-8951.
• Army Emergency Relief (AER) has 82 locations around the world for assist the army’s soldiers and their families. Find out more by calling 866-878-6378.
• Coast Guard Mutual Assistance will assist Coast Guard members and their families. Call 703-872-6716.
• Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society: assists service persons in the Navy and the Marine Corps. Contact 703-696-4904.
• The American Red Cross has funds that can be made available for emergencies. Military families can contact the toll-free Emergency Communications Center at 877-272-7337.

stress: Being in Debt

Relief: Did you know that when service members fail to pay their debts, it is considered an offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice? Just having debt can limit a military member’s ability to utilize military benefits. Plus, nonpayment of a debt can lead to an administrative discharge. For you, it’s not only the money owed weighing on you; it’s the severe secondary consequences. When you show your commanding officer and others that you’re actively taking steps to pay down your debt, leniency follows. Military members take responsibility when they contact the following:

• Veterans Plus at www.veteransplus.org or call 888-488-8767. This organization will refer service members to free financial education counseling so you can get a manage your debt issues, and prepare for your financial future.

• Military One Source will provide financial counseling and money management tips. Contact them at 800-342-9647.

• PFMP (Personal Financial Management Program) offers resources for military families concerning debt liquidation, plus a financial advisor can help devise a workable budget. To find out more, log onto www.militaryinstallations.dod.

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First Financial is Proud to Serve to Those Who’ve Served

First Financial is well aware that more than 50% of current military service members fall into the subprime category, and are burdened with low credit ratings. Together with our lending partners, we specialize in just these types of borrowers. Military members can easily apply for a cash advance or a secured credit card. Follow us Facebook to get even more financial tips for a secure future, or log onto www.firstfinancial.com.

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