“One notable similarity to the general population is that female veterans have higher levels of financial stress and anxiety than male veterans," the report said. "However, financial stress and financial anxiety are subjective measures, and it is possible that men and women simply perceive the same financial situation differently."

Relative to male veterans, female veterans in 2018 have 4% lower financial self-efficacy, 16% higher financial anxiety and 25% higher financial stress, the report said.

Veterans in 2018 also report more problematic credit card behaviors than their earlier and non-veteran peers, the report found. In fact, veterans are 11% more likely to report problematic credit card behaviors.
And perhaps surprisingly, veterans with college and advanced degrees report higher levels of financial anxiety, but also significantly higher rates of having a will, Finra found. 

Veterans with college degrees have 16% higher financial anxiety and are 19% more likely to have a will, the report said. Meanwhile, veterans with advanced college degrees have 31% more financial anxiety and are 26% more likely to have a will.

Black veterans exhibit slightly higher or similar levels of financial capability than white veterans, the report said, which runs counter to two studies that have recently examined race-based differences in financial well-being in the general population, the self-regulator found.

“Understanding why black veterans have somewhat higher financial well-being than white veterans might inform our understanding of why black Americans, in general, have lower levels of financial well-being than white Americans,” Finra said.

Finra also fund that there has been a fairly large drop in veterans attending four-year colleges since 2015.

“This decline might be driven by concerns about student loan debt," Finra said. "The change also may reflect an improving economy (and therefore higher opportunity cost of going to school) or simply a change in veteran demand for higher education. In any event, the repercussions of a less educated veteran population could be significant.”

Troubling also is the increase in the percentage of veterans between 2015 and 2018 who reported that they had foregone medical treatment, Finra said. “Gaining a better understanding of what could be driving this increase might help improve both the financial and health outcomes of veterans,” the regulator added.

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