Financial advisors trying to help young military veterans and those still in the service are dealing with clients with an entirely different mindset than most advisors face daily, says Sheryl Garrett, CFP, author of A Family's Guide to the Military for Dummies, and founder of the Garrett Financial Network.

"These are young people, probably from modest means, who have a lot of decisions to make," says Garrett. "Retirement and saving for it are the furthest things from their minds. They may not know what they want to do a year from now," she says. "They are thinking about a career or maybe a family."

Garrett says she has always had a soft spot for, and an admiration of, those who volunteer for the military, which is probably why she has developed an expertise in helping veterans and trying to recruit more advisors to do the same.

A recent study by FINRA Investor Education Foundation shows that military families are often heavily in debt, with one in four having more than $10,000 in credit card debt. At the same time, one in four overdraws their bank accounts, which incurs high fees. High-cost, non-bank borrowing such as payday loans are used by 21% of those surveyed. Only half have any sort of rainy day fund and half frequently make only the minimum credit card payment.

All of this leads to financial difficulties that need to be addressed, Garrett says.

Despite these issues, most of the military families surveyed are better than their civilian counterparts at keeping up with at least their basic payments and monthly expenses, knowing how much they should be saving for retirement, doing comparison shopping, knowing their credit score and having a high level of financial literacy.

This gives the financial advisor a good base to work from, Garrett notes.

"But many financial advisors want to do a comprehensive financial plan," she says. "For this audience that is not practical. These young people have experienced things most of us cannot imagine and we have to try to put ourselves in their places. They are coming from a very rigid environment where they lived totally in the moment. Now they are on their own and have a lot of decisions to make.

It is those decisions the financial advisor can assist with. Because of the nature of the work, Garrett recommends charging an hourly fee for services and focusing on immediate needs and military resources.

The advisor needs to know the many resources that are available to the ex-military through the government and other sources. Garrett recommends and "There are a lot of perks out there that are untapped because the veteran does not know about them," she says. "That is what the financial advisor needs to know.

"The military has recognized that these people should not be taken advantage of, but payday loan businesses locate as close as possible to military bases," Garrett says. "You cannot blame the military guys for wanting to take their pay and blow the whole thing on a long weekend."

But when they return, they need some clarity so they can make the right decisions, she adds, and they need some self-imposed discipline. She advises planners to use the veterans' terminology when dealing with them: attack, security, discipline.

Garrett, who says she almost joined the Army herself, adds, "I would encourage all planners with a passion for helping veterans, to do so. There will be more and more people coming back to civilian life needing financial planning assistance."