In a continuation of our three-part series with Douglas McCormick, a former Army officer and author of the new book FAMILY INC., we explore the intersection of public-private institutions and the military community.
How can our military, veteran organizations and higher education institutions best promote financial literacy among our active duty and veteran community?
All of these organizations—the military, veteran service organizations and higher education institutions—actively promote economic empowerment among the veteran community. When pursuing this mandate, I offer three key themes to make the most out of these initiatives.
Focus on Family Financial Security: Effective economic empowerment programs must focus on the family unit, not just the veteran. Veteran families face a variety of unique challenges such as spouse underemployment, long periods of separation and childcare needs. Our veterans cannot achieve financial security unless we provide the tools and support for the entire family.
Engage Veterans with Financial Literacy Training at the Beginning of Service: When veterans make a mid-career transition to the civilian workforce, they need financial flexibility. Flexibility can be improved not only by increasing savings, but by minimizing house payments and car loans, accumulating paid leave to bridge the financial gap upon separation, exiting from service at a location that maximizes a soldier’s professional and personal network, and even delaying the growth of their family so their partner can support the family through this critical transition. Achieving financial flexibility takes years of sound financial decision-making with this objective in mind and we must support our veterans in this endeavor throughout their service, not upon exit.
Offer Integrated Financial Literacy Support and Education: Financial literacy is about making sound decisions about career management, education, budgeting, investing and entrepreneurship. Additionally, veterans have earned significant resources and benefits such as the GI Bill, transition assistance support, entrepreneurship training, disability payments, small-business and home loan programs. Effective financial literacy programs must teach veterans how to strategically assemble ALL of these skills, resources and benefits to maximize their impact.
Up next: In our final installment, McCormick shares what makes the military community unique for financial success and talks about his support of veterans across the country.