Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Cars and a hooker: JOs don’t handle money much better than enlisted do

By "Devil Dog," USMC Best Defense department of Romanian military strippers In his insightful post the other day, Jim Gourley wrote, "the truth is that a great many enlisted military members are very poor money managers." Unfortunately, the truth is that many of the junior officers in charge of them often aren’t that much better. ...

navy.mil
navy.mil
navy.mil

By "Devil Dog," USMC
Best Defense department of Romanian military strippers

In his insightful post the other day, Jim Gourley wrote, "the truth is that a great many enlisted military members are very poor money managers."

Unfortunately, the truth is that many of the junior officers in charge of them often aren't that much better. In addition to the $30,000 loan that every Second Class Midshipman is offered and most take (myself included), I personally know of several of my Naval Academy classmates (I graduated a coupla years back) who have massive credit card debt and hefty car loans. If you think the mustang parade at Ft. Campbell is impressive, you should see the one in Annapolis after evening meal formation on a Friday night. And as for putting bonuses to good use, I know of one former Midshipman who spent $3,000 of his $15,000 submarine officer bonus on a prostitute.

By "Devil Dog," USMC
Best Defense department of Romanian military strippers

In his insightful post the other day, Jim Gourley wrote, "the truth is that a great many enlisted military members are very poor money managers."

Unfortunately, the truth is that many of the junior officers in charge of them often aren’t that much better. In addition to the $30,000 loan that every Second Class Midshipman is offered and most take (myself included), I personally know of several of my Naval Academy classmates (I graduated a coupla years back) who have massive credit card debt and hefty car loans. If you think the mustang parade at Ft. Campbell is impressive, you should see the one in Annapolis after evening meal formation on a Friday night. And as for putting bonuses to good use, I know of one former Midshipman who spent $3,000 of his $15,000 submarine officer bonus on a prostitute.

The Naval Academy tries to prevent this kind of irresponsible behavior through required financial briefings at the beginning of each semester (and ethics classes for the prostitute aspect), and many young officers do make responsible and intelligent financial decisions. Many of us have monthly budgets and used our $30,000 loans to invest for our retirement or to buy the $2,000 in new uniforms that all the 2nd Lieutenants had to purchase out of pocket. However, there were many who spent, and continue to spend, their money unwisely. This begs the question: how can we improve the financial habits our young enlisted soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines when many of the junior officers responsible for them are financially irresponsible?

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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