Sunday, November 11, 2012

Have You Helped a Veteran Today?

By Keith Bunn Jr.
November 11, 2012

In light of it being Veteran's Day today, I'd first like to wish all my brothers and sisters in arms a blessed Veteran's Day and thank you all for your service both presently and in the past!!!

Because it is Veteran's Day, I'd like to talk about some of the things I did, that I shouldn't have done financially, while I was in the military. 

Now that I have been out of the military going on 15 years now, I've had some time to look back and see some of the things I shouldn't have done and think about what I learned from them.
When I joined the Army back in August, of 1986, I was 19 years old and fresh out of high school. It was the first time really away from home and on my own. So in a sense, it was like I was going away to college but instead learning math, science, and English  I was learning how to blow things up, camouflaging myself to my surroundings, and how to drive armored vehicles. 
As a private in the Army, single and living in the barracks, I didn't make a lot of money, especially for the amount of work we did, and when I think about it, I really didn't need a lot of money. I had 3 square meals made for me each day 24/7, a warm dry bed to sleep in (a good portion of the time), and electricity and water was provided (again, a good portion of the time). I had everything I needed to live on, so that made the money I was earning, I could do with it what I pleased. So I had the PERFECT opportunity to save all, if not most of my pay and leave the military with a boat load of cash in my pocket, but that's not what I did. I blew it all!! 

Back in those days, it was a time of buying A LOT of crap I didn't need. I bought an old style (new then) 35 mm camera and lens for $400, a HIFI stereo VCR for $500, a movie on video tape for $80, a big box of comic books for $65, two completely different stereo systems for over a $1000, and the list goes on and on. And on top of all of that, I partied my tail off!!! Any night I could go to the bars, I did! I laughed and kind of made fun of one of my room mates because he just stayed in the barracks and nothing, but when we were getting ready to clear the Army and the post, he was the one who had the last laugh. When we closed out our bank accounts there on post, I walked out with $90 to my name. He walked out with $10,000.  No one pulled me off to the side to tell me that I needed to think about the future. What a waste!

The thing is, everyone in the financial world talks about the college students and debt, but I rarely hear anything about our service men and women and debt or how to save. In my opinion, the two are one in the same and they are both being marketed to just as hard to go into debt and stay into debt. Today's single soldiers that live in the barracks are bombarded from all kinds of debt companies like payday lenders as soon as they walk off the base, looking for every opportunity to take their HARD earned cash away from them.

In fact, 56% of our service members have some sort of money issues going on in their lives and it is the #1 reason they lose their security clearances, which causes even more financial hardships. Our service men and women, as well as our older veterans deserve better then that.

So if you know a young service member or an older veteran that needs some help dealing with their finances and you think you can help them, then help them! They either have risked or are currently risking their lives on almost a daily bases so we can enjoy the freedoms we have today.

I hope my posts inspire you to look at what you’re doing financially and if needed, make some changes that will cause you to win financially. I also look forward to reading your views on any articles or postings that I may post. For more money news, facts and ideas, follow me on Facebook, or Twitter. Thank you!

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