It takes more than rules, however sound, and enforcement, however diligent, to provide you and your families with a promising financial future. While I have the pulpit, so to speak, permit me to offer three pieces of advice. First, while you are in the military, take advantage of training opportunities. Many specific skills learned in the military--nursing and healthcare, mechanics, computer programming, police and security work--transfer to civilian jobs. The military also offers training in various life skills. For instance, this morning I visited the Fort Bliss Army Community Service training center, which offers classes on such financial topics as budgeting, debt management, understanding credit, car buying, and protecting against identity theft. More broadly, according to a recent study, 80 percent of veterans said their military experience helped them get ahead in life.1 They said the experience helped them mature, taught them to work with others, and built their self-confidence. The value of military experience is reflected in the fact that the unemployment rate for veterans tends to be lower than the rate for non-veterans.2
Second, when you leave the military, take advantage of education benefits for veterans. The Post-9/11 GI Bill pays for tuition and fees, a monthly housing allowance, and books and supplies. Keep in mind that, on average, compared with high school graduates, people with college degrees earn about twice as much and suffer about half the rate of unemployment.3
Finally, educate yourself about your own personal finances. Research by the Federal Reserve right here at Fort Bliss shows that financial education can pay off.4 Beginning in 2003, the Federal Reserve collaborated with Army Emergency Relief, the U.S. Army's own financial assistance organization, to provide a two-day financial education course, taught by the staff of San Diego City College, to younger enlisted soldiers--mostly men in their early 20s. We surveyed them about their financial history and activities at the time of the course, and we did follow-up surveys in 2008 and 2009 of both servicemembers who had participated in the course and soldiers who had not. We found that soldiers who had taken the course were more likely to make smart financial choices, such as comparison shopping for major purchases, saving for retirement, and educating themselves about money management. They were less likely to make questionable financial decisions, like paying overdraft fees, taking out car title loans, and continually running credit card balances. Making good, well-thought-out financial decisions can make all the difference to your financial future.
Thanks for serving. Your economy is fucked & you won't find employment. This isn't our fault, please don't rush off and join OWS. Oh, and there's probably another 50,000 of you soon, unless we get into gear and go through Syria to Iran.
Also see, Leading Banks and Wall Street Firms Repeatedly Break SEC Anti-Fraud Agreements
graphic representation of how the big money boys have been continually screwing us
H/t to DaveS