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Military Families Struggle to Find Work-Life Balance

A survey also finds that most don't recommend service to their children

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It’s not just working women who struggle to balance careers and home life. Soldiers, veterans and their spouses say they face substantial problems achieving an equilibrium when dividing their time between work and families, a recent survey has found.

"Time away from family, military-family stability and the impact of military service on children are top concerns this year, along with lasting concerns regarding pay, benefits and spouse employment," says a report summarizing the results of the Blue Star Families' "2017 Military Family Lifestyle Survey."

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While the 7,800 respondents generally spoke favorably of military life, most of them — 60 percent — were not willing to recommend it to their own children. Among other top findings:

  • Time spent away from family members overtook pay and benefits as the issue that most concerns military families. One-third of the respondents spent at least 25 percent of the last 16 years away from their families.
  • Military spouses earned a lot less than their civilian counterparts in 2016. Fewer than half  — 47 percent — were employed. Of those who were, 51 percent earned less than $20,000 a year and 39 percent earned less than $10,000. 
  • Most — 51 percent — who were eligible for the Blended Retirement System, which begins next year, said they did not understand the program.

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