The health of our military is at risk – not for lack of aircraft and personnel, nor for lack of funding, but for lack of economic security of families.
Like so many other American families, military families desire a dual income and equal professional opportuntiies, yet face a disadvantage due to their unique circumstances. Many aspects of the transient lifestyle, including the process of moving, cost of caregiving, and having to manage family obligations when a service member is away - make it especially difficult for a spouse to work.
The lack of stability, both from a personal and economical standpoint, is taking its toll on military families and subsequently, the armed services as a whole. The results of a 2018 Military Spouse and Family survey
published by Pioneer Loans indicated that almost 1 in 2 military spouses do not expect their spouse to still be serving in two years. This alarming statistic is a 230% reversal from 2017, where 9 in 10 military spouses expected their spouses to still be serving.
These military service members are leaving or planning to leave the military, largely due to the instability their families face - emotionally, financially, and geographically. Financial concerns are far outweighing other concerns spouses have about military life, which is largely due to the difficulty military spouses have finding meaningful employment.
Despite being qualified and having the necessary skills and education, more than 6 in 10 (62%) military spouses are concerned about finding either part time or full-time work.
Many military spouses want to work, but obtaining employment can be especially tough, as moves between duty stations make it difficult for many spouses to advance in their careers. Not only do most military spouses have to quit jobs because of a move, they face long periods of unemployment afterwards.
As a result, roughly 82% of military families are concerned about finances.
Interestingly, a report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation found that
military spouses with degrees face the highest rates of unemployment and have the most difficulty finding meaningful work.
All these factors negatively affect the health of our military.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation also noted that a family's decision to stay or remain in service depends on the likelihood of career opportunities for a dependent spouse.
Prolonged job searches can become a financial hardship, but hey can also start weighing on a spouse's confidence and mental health.
The military lifestyle not only affects a spouse’s professional journey, but also his or her personal life. Nearly half of the respondents in the U.S. Chamber's report indicated that making friends and building a new personal network with each move was a source of stress.
The issue of military spouse unemployment and underemployment continues to be a growing concern amongst military families. Without the support and resources to help them succeed, military spouses will continue to face disadvantages compared to their civilian counterparts.
Born from the sense of frustration and discouragement that so many military spouses face, R.Riveter is the result of two military spouses determined to change their circumstance.
What started as a big idea and two women working in a small attic has grown into a nationwide network of military spouses and their supporters.
R.Riveter stands behind its mission to provide mobile, flexible income opportunities for military spouses. But more than that, R.Riveter has provided a sense of community and belonging amongst a group of individuals that is otherwise faced with instability and uncertainty.
An embodiment of the mantra "Of many, one," the company firmly believes that spouses are stronger together than they are apart, providing strength and support for one another in numbers and community. Every stitch, thread, and rivet represents a story of empowerment and a commitment towards improving the lives of military families.