Improving the financial stability of military families in the UK

Family, mother, father, kid, baby, son, couple, love, holidays, nature, picnic, three, male, female, glasses, hipster, woman, man, friends, outdoors, summer, spring, launch, outing, junket, barbecue, basket dinner, trendy, relationships, fun, nice, family values, sunglasses, cafe, party, grass, green, healthy, caucasian, white, beautifull, pretty, family

Fotolia

Background

The particular demands and nature of life in the armed forces, such as high levels of mobility, may contribute to financial difficulties or reduced financial stability for some individuals and their partners while in Service and upon transition into civilian life. Evidence shows that current and former Service personnel and their spouses can lack financial stability, which can include falling into debt, poverty, and reliance on government-funded support. Financial instability can also impact quality of life and the likelihood of successful transition to civilian life.

Goals

The Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) has awarded funds to RAND Europe and the Army Families Federation to conduct a 10-month study examining the factors that may impact the financial stability of current and former UK Service personnel, their spouses, and wider family unit and to examine potential interventions that could help current and former Service personnel and their families.

To achieve the objectives, the study aims to address the following three research questions:

  1. What are the factors that impact the financial stability of current and former Service personnel and spouses? Does service life affect financial stability, and how?
  2. What are the current financial support mechanisms available for current and former Service personnel and spouses and what areas do they cover?
  3. What can be done to increase the financial stability of current and former Service personnel and spouses?

Methodology

The study will involve a mixed-methods approach where the study team will first conduct a scoping literature review examining evidence on financial stability for current and former Service personnel and their spouses, before designing a survey which will seek to understand the factors that may influence financial stability among military spouses and current and former Service personnel. The study team will also seek to conduct interviews with representatives from military charities, MOD, and from other support associations to understand the issue of financial stability as it pertains to military spouses and the wider family unit.

If the evidence suggests that the characteristics of Service life do increase the risk of financial instability to current and former Service personnel and spouses, the study team will then examine the service provision and financial support mechanisms available to both the current and former Service personnel and spouses, through targeted desk research and an external workshop. A quantitative and qualitative analysis of all the data obtained will help the study team assess the level of support provision and provide an understanding of the various circumstances framing financial (in)stability.