With Veterans Day around the corner, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2019’s Best & Worst Places for Veterans to Live (as well as accompanying videos). The report compares the 100 largest U.S. cities across 20 key metrics, ranging from share of military skill-related jobs to housing affordability to the availability of VA health facilities.
WalletHub also released its money-saving selection of 2019’s Best Military Credit Cards, along with the results of its 2019 Military Money Survey, which revealed that almost 200 million Americans agree that military families experience more financial stress than the average family, in addition to everything else they have to worry about when serving our country.
Here are some highlights from the reports:
Life as a Veteran in St. Petersburg (1=Best; 50=Avg.)
- 11th – Veteran Population
- 47th – Homeless Veterans per Veteran Population
- 17th – Median Veteran Income (Adjusted for Cost of Living)
- 12th – % of Veterans in Poverty
- 47th – % of Military Skill-Related Jobs
- 1st – Veteran Unemployment Rate
View the full report and your city’s rank.
Military Money Survey
- Nearly 1 in 2 people think that poor financial literacy among military personnel is a threat to national security.
- 190 million Americans don't think that the military does enough to teach financial literacy.
- 79% of military members don't think they should have to pay interest on debt when deployed to a war zone.
- Best Military Credit Card for Everyday Rewards: Navy Federal Credit Union Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card - 2 points per $1 spent on all purchases and 3 points per $1 spent on travel purchases, the equivalent of 2-3% cash back when you redeem for travel expenses; no annual fee first year, $49 after.
View the full survey.
Q&A with WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou
What makes a city good or bad for veterans?
“Ideally, every city would roll out the red carpet for our veterans, given all they’ve sacrificed for cities and citizens all across the country. That’s not the case, however, and it ultimately comes down to prioritization and funding. Some areas simply focus on veterans affairs more than others, and some have the means to make an impact, while others don’t,” said WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou. “But the federal government is the one constant in all of this. Nationally, there is a dysfunctional relationship between the amount we spend going to war, or preparing to do so, and the amount we invest in recuperating. That needs to change. The first step: There should be no homeless veterans in the U.S. That is a national disgrace.”
What can we do to reduce the stress on military families?
“Military families have to put up with a lot – a lot of stress, worry, uncertainty, upheaval and much more. Some of that is unavoidable, but there are things everyone can do to lighten the load for the brave men and women of the military and those they love. One thing, of course, is to put more thought into where we send our troops and how long we make them stay, and to hold politicians accountable for the decisions they make. We can also look into things like reducing the service time needed to qualify for a pension and boosting financial literacy efforts aimed at the military community,” said WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou.
Is poor financial literacy a threat to national security?
“Financial illiteracy among military personnel is definitely a threat to national security. It comes down to our men and women in uniform being free from unnecessary worry and able to focus on the task at hand. Financial illiteracy compounds money problems, and money problems are the biggest source of stress for most people. Military personnel with money problems could also be targets for coercion by foreign adversaries,” said WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou. “In a broader sense, financial illiteracy across the U.S. that puts families’ finances on shaky ground adds up to cracks in the country’s economic foundation. Improving financial literacy would make the country stronger.”
Does the military do enough to teach financial literacy?
“The military does not do enough to teach financial literacy, but few employers or other major organizations actually do. Schools don’t even do a good enough job of educating people on money matters,” said WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou. “Simply recognizing what’s missing is only part of the battle, though. We need action. It might even make sense to use some military funding for this national-security imperative.”