Financial readiness is a critical challenge facing the nation’s naval services, and military spouses are on the front lines of that battle. The wives and husbands of service members often are the keepers of family financial readiness, shouldering primary responsibility for household budgeting, savings and investments, and retirement planning. This is particularly true during extended deployments.
But spouses’ important role in family financial readiness is not always reflected in the related services delivered by the military. Most efforts do not address financial training and education for wives and husbands, and the military tends to overlook the professional development and advancement needs of dual-career military families.
The result is military families inadequately prepared to make financial decisions related to retirement, career milestones, and other life events. Seven out of ten career service members and military spouses report feeling financially stretched month-to-month.1 One in three service members lists financial issues as the biggest family stressor related to their time in the military.2
1. First Command Financial Behaviors Index®, December 2019. The index assesses financial behaviors, attitudes, and intentions in career military families. A monthly survey collects responses from approximately 200 service members or military spouses in pay grades E-5 and above with household incomes of at least $50,000. The index is compiled by Sentient Decision Science.
2. Blue Star Families, Military Family Lifestyle Survey: Comprehensive Report (2018), https://bit.ly/375WGdm.
3. First Command Financial Behaviors Index, January 2020.
4. Report of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission (29 January 2015), 47, https://docs.house.gov/meetings/AS/AS00/20150204/102859/HHRG-114-AS00-20150204-SD001.pdf.
5. Report of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission, 225–26.
6. Report of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission, 45.