Posted on Nov 26, 2013
CW2 Joseph Evans
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We've all seen it. That junior Soldier that just can't manage. The one with the wife and two kids trying to survive off post while waiting for housing to come through. The car that is barely road worthy and is probably costing more to maintain than it is worth.
MIT places a poverty wage for a family of 4 (2 adults and 2 children) in NC at $10.60 per adult. A Living wage there is considered to be $18.92. BA +BAH for a SPC under 4 years of service just barely clears the $18 an hour mark if you divide the annual salary by 2080 (which we all know is no where near the number of hours we put in). If the spouse works, it is probably a minimum wage job or just above, barely clearing $8 an hour. Then there is the expectation of the Family Readiness Groups and other unit functions that take away from the spouse's opportunity to work.
Don't get me wrong, in today's labor market, $19 an hour* is an incredible wage for an entry level position with less than 4 years experience, but is it a livable wage? What can we do to help these Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines that can't quite get caught up while trying to raise a family? 
Is the solution tied to a Federal Minimum wage increase? Do we need to consider revamping the pay charts? or do we need to take a page from the Walmart Management manual and teach them all how to apply for food stamps and welfare to make ends meet?
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Responses: 20
COL Vincent Stoneking
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Yes. Remember, people are paid for the work they do/value they bring. NOT for the lifestyle choices they chose. &nbsp;The trick is to ensure that your lifestyle and your income have some (positive!) relationship to each other.&nbsp;<div><br></div><div>Comparing military pay to civilian pay (including benefits packages for both!), military stacks up quite well to civilian, especially on the lower end. HS Grad, no prior experience? Military is hands down better than what you will find on the civilian side. It changes a bit when your compare level of responsibility in given job - but you wouldn't get that early responsibility in the civilian side, so it's really a red herring.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>Buying that bitchin' Camaro on credit, getting married, having multiple kids on a PFC's pay is a headspace &amp; timing error.&nbsp;</div><div><br></div><div>My civilian employer finds that they value me at $X/year, including benefits. If I get married (I am), it is STILL $X. If I have a kid, it is still $X. If I have 8 kids with 5 different partners, it's still $X. Nobody thinks the employer should pay me more because I did stupid things.&nbsp;</div>
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SGT Thomas Sullivan
SGT Thomas Sullivan
>1 y
Well said
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COL Vincent Stoneking
COL Vincent Stoneking
>1 y
PO Ryan,
That'll leave a mark...
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CPT Nik Webb
CPT Nik Webb
6 y
And that's what we call a truth bomb
::BOOM!!!::
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SSG Special Agent
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The problem is that too many soldiers are living outside of their means. If done right, basic pay/bas/bah should be plenty to cover all the basic needs.
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SGT Thomas Sullivan
SGT Thomas Sullivan
>1 y
as a SPC in Tampa, I was affording a 1100/mo appt, 900/mo car payment, insurance for rent/car, food, and entertainment. With proper financial planning, budgeting, and not going out to drink every weekend/weekday, I was able to live a life that seemed above my means to many other soldiers at or above my rank.<br>
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MSgt Program Analyst   Joint Certification Program
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<p>I think the biggest monetary issues for the new military members is that they are making more money than they've ever had in the lives so far and have never been taught fiscal responsibility (it isn't something that's been taught too well - look at our members of our civilian government - they are even worse at it).&nbsp; Since the high schools aren't handling that teaching responsibility - then maybe the military needs to step up and teach our new members and include their spouses in it if they have one.&nbsp; This way they will have the proper tools to budget their finances responsibly and be more likely to stay out of financial crisis.</p><p>If people can learn to control their spending and decide what they 'really need' compared to what they 'want' - then they will be taking a big step towards their fiscally stable standard of living.&nbsp;</p><p>As for the military life in general - we do get a lot of benefits that the civilian side doesn't have, but of course it all depends on what's relevant to the individual.&nbsp; </p><p><br></p>
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