Helping Military Families At Christmas

Military Families

The December holidays stretch the budgets of the most financially secure families, but they pose special challenges for military personnel, their spouses and kids.

From frequent moves and post-deployment unemployment to disability and post-traumatic stress, many obstacles loom as these families struggle just to make ends meet, let alone have a joyous holiday celebration.

There are approximately 711,000 spouses of active duty members (93 percent are female), and 1.9 million children with a parent in the military, according to “Strengthening Our Military Families,” a 2011 report by the administration of President Barack Obama.

Their needs are acute: The overall wage gap between civilian and military wives is 42 percent, and a 2011 survey by the National Military Family Association found that 39 percent of service families had suffered a recent financial setback.

“With their holiday budgeting and spending, the challenges are compounded,” says J.J. Montanaro, a certified financial planner at USAA, a company that offers financial products primarily to the military community. “They have to move every few years, and many have faced multiple deployments since 9/11.”

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