We in this country owe so much to those who serve to keep us safe. While most of us complain about the small struggles in life, they are putting everything on the line in order to give us the right to complain.

The tasks they face are not always as simple or straightforward as they can appear to civilians. Even when they are not deployed, in fact, even when they are not on active duty, their actions have greater consequences than the average civilian’s.

And, just like so much else in the lives of serving men and women of our country, bankruptcy comes with extra concerns and responsibilities.

Bankruptcy is traumatic for anyone, of course. There’s an element of humiliation combined with a long period of stress from struggling to pay off debts. Whether it’s a business that’s failed to get off the ground or personal debts that have collected around us without the funds to at least get what we owe under control, there’s a sense of failure that also comes along.

That’s true for everyone, but for those in the military, bankruptcy has an added risk, according to the Erin B. Shank, P.C. site (a Texas-based bankruptcy attorney).

For them, there’s the risk of losing their security clearance. For those soldiers who require their security clearance to do their job, this can be a serious blow. It could also affect the long-term career trajectory of a soldier or officer who is looking at moving up and might otherwise have good prospects.

Imagine how difficult your own life would be if your personal debts were held against you by your profession, or if key elements of your skillset were unable to be used. What if lawyers were disbarred for having debt? What if businesspeople were forbidden to take upper management positions? That’s the sort of difficulty bankruptcy holds for soldiers.

This is particularly sad because so many soldiers are sure to struggle with debt. The average pay for those serving is not particularly high. As the Army website makes clear, while there’s a lot of room for income growth at the officer level, soldiers can earn as little as $19,000 a year, which is hard to live on for any of us.

The fact our serving men and women have to struggle with these issues and face such serious consequences is wrong. More should be done to assist them with financial planning. At the same time, they should be paid higher wages so fewer soldiers face the risks of bankruptcy in the first place.

These two steps would go a long way to eliminating the devastating threat that hangs over those who serve when finances don’t go their way, as they often don’t for many of us.

Considering all they are willing to sacrifice for us, it’s the least we can do to provide them with a reasonable financial strategy for success.

read more