Returning veterans often face financial challenges

November 11, 2011 • Business

Army veteran Nick Colgin is shown at the offices of the Iraq Afghanistan War Veterans of America where he works on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011 in New York. Colgin, a Virginia native, moved to Wyoming after he was discharged from the Army, hoping to use his skills as a combat medic in Afghanistan to become a first responder. But he wasn’t aware what kind of certificate he’d need to work in the Cowboy state. The unemployment rate among 3.2 million returning Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans is 12 percent compared to the national rate of 9 percent. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

NEW YORK (AP) — Financial literacy courses aren’t a part of basic training.

And since they aren’t part of most school curriculums, either, young men and women who enlist in the military right out of high school often don’t think about things like emergency funds, retirement savings or even household bills while they’re living on bases or deployed overseas.

It’s when they leave the service that those concerns become real for the first time.

“When you get out of the military, you have to find a place to live, make sure you’ve got transportation, and find a job,” said Mechel Glass, a Gulf War veteran and director of education for CredAbility, a consumer credit counseling service based in Atlanta. Many veterans need assistance to get started with those steps.

Reservists face their own set of concerns. Most who are deployed leave behind full-time jobs, which typically pay more than their military service. That often means leaving families behind to live for a year or longer on a sharply reduced income. Some employers continue to pay the difference between military and civilian pay for the duration of deployment, but that is far from universal.

Such income reductions can lead to financial crisis. One reservist’s family Glass Login to read more

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