The Fifth Column 

What’s the Reality of Debt for Today’s Veterans?

It is a sad fact that many former military members fall into debt. It could be so bad to the point that veterans are left both penniless and homeless. Debt actually begins to accumulate while members are still in service. The amount of money owed usually increases at a faster rate than civilians. A couple of causes of this debt includes the gap between pay and payments, and the ease of acceptance of credit. These bills can follow military members into their veteran years.

Pay is Steady, but Debt Grows Faster

Military members do get a consistent income. Unfortunately, that income is relatively small. This is apparent especially when these members are supporting a family. Paychecks must be stretched to reach the bare minimum of basic necessities. This leaves little money left to save for emergencies. Devastation hits when a family member gets injured or the military member must move with their family. Sometimes, soldiers can’t afford to move with their families and must leave them behind for lengthy periods of time. The low income seems to only support military individuals rather than entire families.

No Problems (at First) from the Credit Industry

The credit industry favors people who have a steady income. The size of that income, however, may not always matter. Credit is required for significant purchases, like homes and cars. When those are paid for with credit, the soldier’s income may not be able to keep up with the monthly payments. The credit industry sometimes targets military members because they don’t often have the option for a debt settlement, although civilians do.

VA Loans

The military does have programs to help their current members, but what about veterans? These debts can follow them beyond their military services. Well, vets can be saved from homelessness through different types of VA Loans. VA Loans guarantee veterans a federally paid home for them and their families. Most veterans qualify for this loan. Since its launch in 1944, the VA Loan has helped both veterans and the economy. It’s recommended for any military member ending their service with a lot of debt.

Many veterans have to live with the reality of being in debt. Their large stack of bills may have begun while they were still in service. Reasons like being lured in by the credit industry and not getting paid enough to pay for both themselves and their family can attribute to even more debt. Luckily many different types of financial solutions are available to help veterans and their loved ones at least avoid living on the streets or in a shelter. What military members must understand is that their debt can take long after their service to disappear, and vets must know that there is still federal assistance available for them.

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