Veterans Hold Financial Edge Over Civilian Counterparts, Study Finds

Veterans Hold Financial Edge Over Civilian Counterparts, Study Finds
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Military service pays, according to a recent Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.


Per a recent report from the nonpartisan center, many economic measures illustrate how veteran households often come out ahead financially compared with civilian counterparts.


The Facts

Veteran households have higher incomes and are less likely to be in poverty, particularly when comparing data of minority households. Some key reference points from the Pew Research Center article that explains the numbers:

  • “The median income is roughly $20,000 higher for households headed by a veteran with a high school diploma, compared with non-veteran households with the same level of education.”
  • “In 2017, the poverty rate for non-veteran households was 6.4 percentage points higher than the rate for veteran households (13.0% vs. 6.6%).”
  • “In 2017, black veteran households had a poverty rate of 9.6%, versus 23.2% for black non-veteran households, a difference of 13.7 percentage points. The rate for Hispanic veteran households was 7.6%, compared with 18.6% for Hispanic non-veteran households.”


Military Times offers a further breakdown.


Notes From an Expert

“Though the report does not provide the reasons for such differences, military education, leadership/mentorship, self-discipline, cultural structure, and emphasis on personal financial management probably help prepare people for real life’s financial challenges,” said Lt. Col. Shane Ostrom, USAF (Ret), MOAA’s program director for financial and benefits education/counseling and a certified financial planner. “MOAA can help build on that foundation with expertise in areas of specific concern to current, former, and retired servicemembers, and their families.”


No matter where you may be in your military career or beyond, MOAA can act as a trusted guide and adviser. Subject-matter experts on staff are certified to assist Premium and Life Members with financial and investment inquiries. In addition, exclusive member publications are always on hand to guide you through financial hurdles and milestones.


To get in touch with MOAA and our experts, you may call (800) 234-6622 or email To access the Financial Planning Guide, Estate Planning Guide, The MOAA Investors’ Manual, you may download them on the MOAA website after logging in and verifying your membership. Not a MOAA member? Upgrade to Premium or Life membership to take advantage of all that MOAA has to offer.

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About the Author

Amber Monks
Amber Monks

Monks is MOAA's advertising and business manager. She started at MOAA in 2018 as a member service representative, with a focus on communications.