Wounded Warrior Project Shares Financial Wellness Tips for Veterans
Worry, fear, and anxiety about being able to pay monthly bills or save for the future can lead to financial stress. Wounded veterans are facing increasing financial hardship.
The 2022 Annual Warrior Survey from Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) shows 6 in 10 wounded post-9/11 veterans served by WWP are struggling to make ends meet. The top two reasons warriors cited for financial strain or struggle were increased costs of goods and working but not making enough money. The survey also showed that 93% of WWP warriors have debt other than a mortgage. Taking on too much debt can place a strain on an individual’s quality of life and well-being.
But there are ways to get help and get ahead. In recognition of Financial Planning Day on Oct. 4, WWP offers these military financial planning tips to warriors and their families to help them manage their finances.
- Get started now. Whether you want to establish a budget, pay off a bill, or repair your credit, your goal is possible. But you won’t start to chip away at that goal unless you take your first step.
- Prioritize expenses. Identify which expenses are most important to you and include them in your budget. If you enjoy eating out five times a month, maybe that means you can cut back on your streaming services. Determining those financial priorities will help you make necessary sacrifices.
- Steady progress is essential. Remember your budget will be a work in progress. Expect to return to your budget and adjust it based on life changes.
- Track everything. Document your spending and know how much money is coming in and going out. This is imperative if you want to have control in managing your money. People often have a nice, clean budget but don’t track their spending.
- Have an emergency fund. Establish an emergency savings account to prepare for the unexpected. Consistently contributing to an emergency fund may prevent you from having to take out credit or increase your debt. Most experts say this fund should be three to six months’ worth of expenses.
- Know your goals. Define what you’re saving money for, and how much you’re aiming to save. For example, maybe you are saving for three months of living expenses in case you lose your job. That attention to detail will help you in the long run.
- Understand your deductibles. To use your insurance in the case of a car accident, storm, or medical procedure, you will first have to pay your deductible before insurance can chip in.
- Be wary of additional fees. When you sign up for a bank account or debit or credit card, ensure you read the fine print in your contract. It’s important to understand what you’re signing and be aware of any potential late or withdrawal fees.
- Don’t give up. Getting your finances in order is like riding a bike. Once you adopt some of these practices into your regular routine and consistently work on your plan, you will become a pro.
- Reach out for assistance. WWP offers financial education and resources for warriors and their family members, including educational classes or workshops to help prepare budgets and achieve financial goals.
It is achievable to get your finances under control, and you don’t have to do it alone.
About Wounded Warrior Project
Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers — helping them achieve their highest ambition. Learn more.