Have you ever known a Marine experiencing a great degree of stress related to finances? Maybe it was a Marine in your command, a peer, or perhaps even yourself. Let’s try to break the experience down and then examine some possible options.
Do you believe Marines “collect” stressful experiences? It’s important to consider the things that may lead to higher levels of stress and the impact. Some people say we are a combination of all our life experiences.
Life experience: Marines bring the stress they’ve experienced before the Corps (including childhood positive and negative experiences).
Common stressors: Marines face everyday challenges (some are work-related, personal financial or legal troubles, relationship issues, etc.).
Deployment or operational experiences: These experiences can weigh on Marines and include any Orange Zone stressors.
One of the garrison environment factors that greatly impact some Marines is finances. Marines may face stress from financial problems that occurred in the family while they were deployed, from having “too much” money from hazardous pay or bonuses that confuse them in making sound financial decisions, or have everyday poor money management skills. Stress is actually more likely to manifest in garrison than in theater due to circumstances just like this. The wear and tear of this stress may make a Marine or family member at higher risk for Orange Zone stress. Marines who encounter this type of garrison stress can ultimately begin to suffer from poor job performance, relationship breakdowns, misconduct, or mental health issues.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could notice signs of negative outcomes to PREVENT incidents from occurring? If you could take a different course of action for yourself or your Marines, would you?
Health and well-being cannot be viewed from a singular perspective, and it can’t be viewed exclusively from financial readiness. It is imperative to understand that combat and operational stress, substance abuse, child and domestic abuse, and suicide risk are all interrelated and have impacts on health and well-being and are often connected in some way to financial readiness.
Prevention steps Marines can take to be more financially prepared include, but are not limited to:
Take advantage of coaching, education, and counseling from the Personal Financial Management Program (PFMP) for yourself and your Marines
Improve intimate partner relationship discussions about money by taking Married and Loving It (MALI) (available from Family Advocacy Program Prevention and Education Specialists)
Seek counseling from Community Counseling Center (CCC) to further examine behaviors and thoughts about money and purchases
Leaders at all levels (including self-leadership) should promote and encourage financial responsibility and sound financial planning to prevent and address stress associated with finances.
Operational Stress Control and Readiness (OSCAR) Generation III can help strengthen your Marines for the stressors they face, including finances, and train them to provide peer to peer support. For more information, reach out to your unit’s Combat and Operational Stress Control (COSC) representative, an OSCAR team member, or your Regional Training Coordinator (RTC).