Military Life Poses Financial Hardships for Soldiers & Families

Military Life Poses Financial Hardships for Soldiers & Families

Lack of Resources, Lack of Adequate Pay, & Unstable Living

Do you want the people who defend your country worrying about supporting their families? There are many military personnel who must constantly worry about financial issues. This worry creates many issues for personnel, impacting performance. Sadly, these issues are a direct result of the military career path which does not provide adequate resources for families. Military life poses financial hardships for families due to lack of government resources, lack of adequate pay, and unstable living arrangements.

While the government provides many resources for soldiers in so far as education and healthcare, financial resources are extremely limited. Soldiers and their families are at risk of constant financial risk due to low pay and lack of pay and fear of being exposed in their financial issues. The problem is so pervasive that,

A 2010 military survey found that 27 percent of service members said they had more than $10,000 in credit card debt, while 16 percent of civilians do. The study also found more than a third of military families have trouble paying monthly bills, and more than 20 percent reported borrowing money outside of banks (Associated Press, 2012).

Soldiers tend to turn to banks and other means of obtaining money outside of the military because they do not want to be stigmatized or embarrassed for their problems. This was cited a major issue for many soldiers- complete lack of privacy (Merica, 2012). When it comes to obtaining assistance through the military or government, soldiers do not have an expectation of confidentiality or privacy because their leaders or commanders are made aware of their issues. The military does provide soldiers with financial assistance without confidentiality but other than this assistance there are “only financial counselors available” (Merica, 2012).

Another factor of military life posing financial risk is the constant moving. Soldiers and families must move frequently, sometimes as often as every two years. The moving itself is not a financial burden because the military will pick up this cost but the loss of jobs or inability of spouses to find jobs creates a financial burden as families must live on the soldier’s salary. This is a complicated issue because spouses must often take jobs they are overqualified for or they find themselves unemployed. Those spouses who have professional training such as nurses or other professional workers, are often unable to get work due to licensing issues between states. For instance, an x-ray technician in Maryland will not be licensed to practice in Kentucky and there is typically not enough time between moves to accommodate obtaining new licensing. The rate of unemployment for military spouses is approximately 26% (Associated Press, 2012).

The most significant financial burden for soldiers and their families is being underpaid. The average soldier makes less then $2,000 a month and this is not enough to support a family (Congress of the United States, 2012). Lack of salary creates a massive issue because families are not able to support themselves on a monthly basis and they begin using credit to supplement cost. This problem is often worsened if the spouse is at home and the soldier is deployed. When this occurs, the spouse is left to deal with managing the home but is often unemployed. In many instances, extended family support becomes the only means for these military families.

Military service presents many obstacles due to the nature of the work with long periods of hardship caused by separation from family as well as the dangers of the work. Most military personnel understand these issues prior to enlistment; however, financial stress and worry should not be one of the stressors military personnel and families should face. The problems caused by lack of pay, resources, and unstable living conditions only serve to create barriers to proper performance of military personnel.


Associated Press. (2012, March 25). Financial struggles common among military families. (3. News, Producer, & 3KYC News) Retrieved from NBC

Congress of the United States. (2012, November). Costs of Military Pay and Benefits in the Defense Budget. (Congress, Producer) Retrieved February 22, 2016, from Congressional Budget Office

Merica, D. (2012, February 15). Report highlights employment burdens on military spouses. (CNN, Producer, & CNN) Retrieved February 22, 2016, from CNN

Photo by Diego González on Unsplash

Article Updated: 11/18/2021


Triola Vincent. Wed, Mar 17, 2021. Military Life Poses Financial Hardships for Soldiers & Families Retrieved from

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