This isn’t anything new. When I was in, I knew guys that worked at Target on the weekends or delivered pizza every night. And these were guys that lived in the barracks with no family to support.
These kids, right out of high school, are sought after for new car loans and credit cards. They haven’t really been away from home before and wind up in debt. The dealerships know exactly how much car they can put a kid in because the servicemen’s pay is a matter of public record.
And don’t miss a payment. Don’t get a call from a collector that bypasses you and gets your CO instead. Don’t. It’s not good.
Now there are these soldiers with families. If there’s room, they live on post and don’t pay rent or household bills. But they also make crap. Basic pay for a private (E1 to E3) is 18,300 to 21,000 a year. Pay Scale
Civilian jobs around a post can be hard to come by. Just about every spouse is looking for one. There are a few stay at homes, but they usually are working another angle (Pampered Chefs, Avon, Mary Kay, home daycare) to help support the family. And then there are the dependopatomus, but I rarely saw them. Even when I was stationed on an infantry post for a bit.
There’s lot of education out there for these kids, if they’ll take it. But when they’re 18-20something the immaturity level is high. Not just in them, but in their spouses as well. Living on post can sometimes feel like you in the middle of a TV drama. It’s not an excuse, just a fact.
However, these families are finding themselves on food stamps. So think about that. You’ve got a solider with a family coming home at the end of the day only to go back out the door for his or her second job and worrying about WIC covering some of their groceries.
What can be done? I’m not that smart. I don’t have a solution. My suggestion is that if you have a loved one that’s thinking about joining, make sure they have a grip on their finances and understand how it all works.
There’s just something down right sad about soldiers on food stamps.
One of the articles I read is here:CNN Article
TL;DR: Managing your bills is hard when you’re uneducated and underpaid. Get right with your money because anything less is a rook mistake.