Support is Available for Military Families
November is Military Family Appreciation Month, honoring the sacrifices that family members make in support of their loved ones in uniform. LSS Financial Counseling recognizes the unique circumstances facing active duty personnel, veterans and military families, and stands ready to meet their needs.
Military Families Face Unique Challenges
Military service members and their families encounter issues ranging from medical care to employment to family reintegration to money management. Most Minnesota military personnel are associated with the Army National Guard or the Air Guard, which presents its own unique challenges. According to Dan Couture, retired first sergeant of Minnesota’s Army National Guard, the military relies heavily on reserve and National Guard troops for deployments that can last a year or more.
All these circumstances can create financial stress. According to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling’s 2019 Military Finances Survey:
- Eighty-nine percent of active service members and 84% of their spouses/partners have worries about personal finance.
- Active service members and their spouses/partners also worry about paying debts (20% and 13%, respectively). The figure for active service members has doubled since 2014.
Members of the military also tend to hold higher debt balances, fewer assets and higher debt-related expenses than civilians. In addition, the very nature of military deployment makes service members and families more vulnerable to predatory lending, targeted marketing and consumer fraud. For example, U.S. Department of Defense studies have shown a concentration of payday lending stores near military bases.
Financial Counseling Can Make a Difference
LSS Financial Counseling is uniquely positioned to support those who have served our country. Our certified financial counselors are experienced, provide compassionate support and have undergone PsychArmor training to better serve service members and veterans. We work with individuals and families on budgets, debt management, credit improvement, student loans and successful homebuying, among other financial concerns.
Leon Gilder, a veteran of the Persian Gulf War, contacted LSS Financial Counseling when financial challenges started affecting his health. The first call was the most difficult, but he realized that “being open and honest is the key to getting a handle on your financial and physical health.”
The call to LSS Certified Financial Counselor Mei Lin Kroll helped him put his financial life back on track. “I felt no condemnation and was immediately put at ease,” Leon said, “I was assured that I was not alone and that my financial situation was indeed repairable.
“I was empowered beyond anything I could have imagined,” he stated. “I negotiated the most overwhelming debt first and thwarted an impending wage garnishment.” Managing and reducing the rest of his debt was not as daunting after that, and his physical health improved dramatically.
Other LSS Services for Military Families
In addition to financial advice, information, and support, LSS Financial Counseling staff conduct outreach at informational fairs sponsored by the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans and the U.S. Department of Defense. We partner with the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs and accept referrals through our CORE (Counseling and Case Management, Outreach, Referral and Education) service. We also serve those who do not meet CORE requirements.
Our website has a complete list of our financial wellness services.
Contact us if you have questions about our services or would like to set up a free, confidential appointment. Call toll-free 888.577.2227, or get all your support online.
Author Bryan Brown is a Certified Financial Counselor with LSS Financial Counseling.