The National Foundation for Credit Counseling and Wells Fargo release new data indicating differences between the impact of inflation on the general population and the military.
Washington, D.C. – The 15th annual Consumer Financial Literacy Survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) and the Wells Fargo Foundation has revealed that military households are experiencing more negative effects of inflation than the general population. When asked specifically about areas of personal finance impacted by inflation, the survey found that 22% of military servicemembers were unable to pay their monthly bills outside of rent/mortgage, loan or credit card payments during the 12 months prior to the survey, compared to only 13% of the general population. Additionally, 18% of military servicemembers, 16% of military spouses, and 11% of the general population missed at least one payment on a loan or credit card during the same period.
These findings suggest that military households are facing unique challenges when managing their finances in an inflationary period. The rising cost of goods and services, coupled with economic volatility, is making it increasingly difficult for military families to make ends meet.
“Military families face a unique set of challenges when it comes to managing their household finances,” said Mike Croxson, CEO of the NFCC. “Many servicemembers are deployed overseas, which can make it difficult to stay on top of bills and financial obligations. Additionally, frequent moves can make it challenging to establish credit and maintain financial stability.”
The survey revealed that there is a higher awareness of the NFCC and nonprofit credit counseling among military servicemembers and their spouses. The NFCC offers access to a range of nonprofit financial counseling and education resources to help active duty servicemembers, veterans and their families.
More broadly, the survey found that many military households are struggling to find economic relief and assistance options. In light of inflation in the 12 months before the survey, 19% of military servicemembers, 20% of military spouses, and 11% of the general population have been unable to find economic relief/assistance options that apply to them.
“Managing finances for service members and their families can be challenging, particularly during times of transition,” said Bonnie Wallace, head of Financial Health Philanthropy at Wells Fargo. “These survey results underscore the critical need to address the stigma around financial related stressors and connect soldiers and their families to valuable resources, such as financial counselors, with lived experience. In partnership with NFCC, Wells Fargo is committed to expanding our outreach to ensure veterans and military families can find and easily access support and resources to help them navigate financial difficulties.”
Making bill payments late and having past-due credit card accounts are signs of financial trouble that require immediate attention and fast action. Fortunately, 10% of servicemembers (approximately 213,0001) and 13% of military spouses (approximately 78,0002) would turn to a professional non-profit credit counseling agency first for help if experiencing financial problems related to debt.
About the NFCC
Dedicated to educating Americans about how to reduce personal or household debt responsibly, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) is a trusted, nationwide resource for education and support in building financial management skills. Through its network of nonprofit agencies and certified counselors, the NFCC offers impactful approaches to debt reduction and improved credit standing, whether consumers are struggling with credit card debt, decisions about housing, or student loans. For more information about the NFCC or to be connected to a certified counselor, please call 800-388-2227 or visit www.nfcc.org.
About the Survey
Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in our surveys. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval. For this study, the sample data for Gen Pop is accurate to within + 2.8 percentage points using a 95% confidence level. This credible interval will be wider among subsets of the surveyed population of interest.
- The sample data for the Military Spouses is accurate to within + 8.5 percentage points using a 95% confidence level
- The sample data for the Military Servicemembers is accurate to within + 6.0 percentage points using a 95% confidence level
- The sample data for the Veterans is accurate to within + 5.2 percentage points using a 95% confidence level
For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Bruce McClary.
1 2020 Demographics Profile of the Military Community showed a population of 2,129,777 enlisted and officers in the military. 10% of servicemembers would turn to a professional non-profit credit counseling agency first if they were having a problem related to debt, which is equal to 212,978 servicemembers.
2 2020 Demographics Profile of Active Duty Families showed a population of 597,736 active duty spouses. 13% of military spouses would turn to a professional non-profit credit counseling agency first if they were having a problem related to debt, which is equal to 77,706 military servicemembers.
Survey: Military Households More Severely Impacted by Inflation
April 18, 2023