The Veterans’ Guide to Financial Success

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Task Force Khowst puts his identification card in his wallet after he voted at a polling site in Khost City Afghanistan, during the elections, August 21.

By Cybele Weisser

From landing a job to planning for retirement, here’s how to make coming home really pay off.

Without Uncle Sam dictating what to do, where to live, and even what to wear, many new veterans need another round of basic training—only this time, it’s learning how to find a job, buy a home, save for retirement, and more.
“Veterans are trying to put down roots quickly and figure out a lot of things that are confusing,” says Pam McClelland, lead financial education specialist for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office of Servicemember Affairs. “And confusion makes you vulnerable.”
Vulnerable—it’s the most unmilitary of traits. But that’s how veterans say they feel when it comes to managing their money. A study funded this year by First Command Financial Services, which advises military personnel, found that in 76% of middle-class military families, at least one person reported a health problem related to financial stress. Veterans have also become frequent targets of scammers going after military paychecks, pensions, and education benefits, usually with offers that turn out to be predatory loans.
In fact, Rep. Tom Rooney, a U.S. congressman from Florida and an Army veteran, introduced legislation this year to increase penalties for “anyone who deliberately seeks out our most vulnerable veterans for a financial fraud.”
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