While you’re reading this, I’m on my way to the official release of the Blue Star Families annual survey of military families. While I’ve only seen the highlights (more to come!), the one piece that jumped out at me is that 70% of military millennials think that two incomes are vital to a family’s well-being.
I’ll tell you what – I have mixed feelings about this. I think it’s sad that millennials think that they can’t survive on a single income. And I’d love to show them how it can be done. But I also recognize that if both partners want to work, they should be able to do it. And I absolutely recognize that it doesn’t really matter what I think, because the desired outcome is the ability to sustain an all-volunteer force into the future. If spouse employment is the issue that concerns military families, then that is the issue that concerns me.
And it is an issue that concerns military families. In this year’s survey, 45% of military spouses listed spouse employment amongst their top 5 concerns about military life. (The other four were: amount of time away from family, dependent’s education, impact of deployment on children, and military pay/benefits.)
As I’ve said before, I think this is a delicate subject. It’s important that we support spouses who want to work, while also encouraging folks to manage their finances so that both spouses don’t have to work if they don’t want to, and not making those who choose not to work feel inferior or guilty about doing the thing that works for their family.
What are your thoughts on military spouse employment? Is this an issue that is important to you, or do you think we talk about it too much?
I’ll let you know more details about what the Blue Star Families survey reports after the full details are released today.
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