By July 14, 2016 Read More →

Jeff Atwater on Protecting those who protect us: Our Military

Imagine trying to balance your family’s budget and make sure all of your bills get paid on time without having access to your online banking for 12 or even 18 months. Imaging trying to buy a house without having your spouse available for moral support, advice, or decision-making assistance.

These are a few of the challenges faced by military families every single day. Financial FrontlinesNot to mention, servicemembers are also at a higher risk of having their identity stolen and falling victim to predatory lending scams.

While working to keep our country safe at home and abroad, members of our military have a lot on their plates. When you couple the stresses of their mission-critical jobs with the stresses of managing a family’s finances, it can become overwhelming. To help ease these concerns and to provide information on the helpful programs that are available to military families, my office created Financial Frontlines.

You’ve likely read about this program before in earlier editions of our newsletter. However, with July 20 being Military Consumer Protection Day, I wanted to help paint a better picture of what our office has to offer. Military Consumer Protection Day

For example, did you know that what many of us think is a predatory loan is actually legal? These loans, full of hidden fees and higher interest rates, may seem like a quick fix, but they are far from being in your best interest. Sadly, military families are highly targeted for these types of loans and estimates put the added and excessive fees at $80 million a year. Have you ever noticed the number of payday lending businesses located near military bases? It’s not by accident.

We can help your son or daughter, husband or wife spot these tactics before they fall into the trap of quick cash.

With more than 58,000 military servicemembers on 21 military bases, Florida is home to a robust military population. Just like the civilian population, studies show that these brave men and women sometimes struggle with setting a household budget. This can lead to added debt. In fact, some studies show that military families have a debt-to-income-ratio of 46.5 percent, a number higher than most average non-military households.

We can help you or your loved one learn ways to track spending, auto-save, and build an emergency surplus account.

For all that members of our armed forces do for us, we owe it to them to help give back. Encourage the military servicemember in your life to visit our website to learn more. It’s simple, free, and accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida


Posted in: Local News, OP/ED