About half of military members and their spouses report turning to the gig economy to supplement their income, according to a recent survey from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. The survey, funded by Wells Fargo and performed online by The Harris Poll in March and April 2019, demonstrate the financial challenges facing military families today compared to 2014.
Specifically, 54 percent of active service members and 48 percent of spouses/partners worked as freelancers to boost their income. About the same number of active service members and spouses/partners – 54 percent and 48 percent, respectively – say that they have been able to use the gig economy to do so.
Military Service Members and their Families Face Financial Insecurity, Difficulty Finding and Keeping Private Sector Jobs
The survey sheds light on the underlying reason military service members and their families take on extra work – service members are anxious about finances, and the military lifestyle makes it hard to get and hold onto jobs in the private sector. The results of the poll also show that, compared with the results of a 2014 survey of military service members and their families, more men and women in uniform are facing financial stress than before.
Almost 90 percent of active service members and nearly 84 percent of their spouses or partners are worried about their personal finances. Compared with 2014, more military members and spouses/partners worry about meeting financial obligations and covering basic household needs. About 28 percent said they were more concerned now than they were a year ago about how their personal finances will affect their professional future with the military.
In 2014, about 16 percent of active service members could not pay their bills on time. More than twice as many respondents in the most recent poll – 34 percent – said they do not pay their bills on time. A sobering 11 percent say that they currently have debts in collection, versus about 3 percent in 2014.
About 74 percent of service members and 61 percent of their spouses/partners said that being in the service makes it challenging to secure and maintain traditional jobs. Most military families move every 2 to 3 years, according to the USO, and many families move more frequently. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that a military family will move to a location with good job opportunities.
Moving frequently prevents active service members and their spouses/partners from holding down a private sector job because they do not know how long they will be around in any one location. Military personnel also tend to work odd hours, which presents a schedule conflict for the human resources department.
Why Turn to the Gig Economy?
Because the gig economy provides low-friction, high-flexibility work options, freelancing is becoming an attractive option for active service members and their families. The gig economy allows the worker to start a job and take it with them, even when they relocate to an area with limited job opportunities. Freelancing also permits workers to perform gigs at nearly any time of day or night, which can fit the often-hectic schedules of active military service members and their families.
While the gig economy may not provide fulltime income to these families, freelancing can help military families pay their bills and meet their household expenses. For more information about working in the gig economy as a member of the military, contact WriterAccess.
Lynn H has been a professional writer, providing exceptional content online and offline, for nearly 20 years. In that time, she has penned thousands of articles for doctors, universities, researchers, small businesses, nursing organizations, sole proprietors and more. She writes everything from blogs to white papers; her specialty is putting complex scientific concepts in simple terms. She specializes in medical writing, creating informative and engaging content for professionals in medicine, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, medical manufacturing, chiropractics, optometry, emergency care, plastic surgery and others.