WalletHub today released its report on 2021’s Best & Worst Places for Veterans to Live
SAN BERNARDINO — This community, located in the Inland Empire region of Southern California, has found itself in the unenviable position of being among some of the worst places to live for Veterans. It iis the only California city to find itself in the bottom.
This year’s report paints a stark contrast from last year’s report.
With Veterans Day approaching and the veteran unemployment rate falling to 3.9% from the average of 6.5% in 2020, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2021’s Best & Worst Places for Veterans to Live (as well as accompanying videos and audio files). The report compares the 100 largest U.S. cities across 20 key metrics, ranging from the share of military skill-related jobs to housing affordability and the availability of VA health facilities.
WalletHub also released the results of its 2021 Military Money Survey, which revealed that 77% of Americans agree that military families experience more financial stress than the average family. To help with that, WalletHub’s editors selected 2021’s Best Military Credit Cards, which provide hundreds of dollars in annual savings potential. Below are highlights from the reports, along with a WalletHub Q&A.
Best Cities for Veterans
1. Tampa, FL
2. Austin, TX
3. Scottsdale, AZ
4. Raleigh, NC
5. Gilbert, AZ
6. Lincoln, NE
7. Madison, WI
8. Virginia Beach, VA
9. Orlando, FL
10. Boise, ID
Worst Cities for Veterans
91. Philadelphia, PA
92. North Las Vegas, NV
93. Cleveland, OH
94. San Bernardino
95. Toledo, OH
96. Jersey City, NJ
97. Baltimore, MD
98. Memphis, TN
99. Newark, NJ
100. Detroit, MI
Military Money Survey & Best Military Credit Card
- 77% of Americans agree that military families experience more financial stress than the average family.
- Nearly a third of people think military spending should decrease due to COVID-19.
- Nearly 2 in 3 people think that poor financial literacy among military personnel is a threat to national security, 7% more than in 2020.
- 76% of Americans don’t think that the military does enough to teach financial literacy.
- 76% of Americans think military members should have to pay interest on debt when deployed.
- 44% of people think that frontline healthcare workers should be paid more than members of the military and police officers.
- PenFed Power Cash Rewards is the best military credit card of 2021. It gives 2% cash back on all purchases to current and former members of the military (1.5% otherwise) and has a $100 initial bonus. There is no annual fee.
Q&A with WalletHub Analyst Jill Gonzalez
Q: What makes a city good or bad for veterans?
A: “How good or bad a city is for veterans depends on multiple factors, including the rates of poverty, unemployment and homelessness, as well as the city’s retirement-friendliness and how good its VA facilities are. All cities should be quick to take care of veterans’ needs, considering how much veterans have sacrificed to serve the country and keep it safe. However, some cities spend an appropriate amount of money on veterans affairs while others do not, either because they lack the funds to do so or because they do not put a high priority on veterans in the budget,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “While cities do have a responsibility to their veterans, so does the federal government. We spend an enormous amount of money on national defense and military operations, yet comparatively little on helping veterans once their service is done. It is distressing that there are tens of thousands of homeless veterans; that number should be reduced to zero.”
Q: What can we do to reduce the financial stress on military families?
A: “The best way to reduce the financial stress on military families is by making sure that anyone in a war zone does not have to worry about their family’s basic living expenses while they’re fighting for our country. We should also improve financial education for members of the military community,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Military families can undergo a tremendous amount of financial stress, especially when one parent is on the front lines and cannot be involved with managing the family’s finances. Plus, service members who are in active conflicts put their lives at risk, which risks even more of a financial burden on their family in the event that they die or end up with a disability. The least we can do for our military families is to take care of their basic needs.”
Q: Does the military do enough to teach financial literacy?
A: “The military unfortunately does not do enough to promote financial literacy among service members. Not only do 76% of Americans agree that the military is lacking when it comes to financial literacy education, according to WalletHub’s 2021 Military Money Survey, but nearly 2 in 3 people think it’s a national security issue. Financially literate people who serve in the military can worry less about money problems and focus more on their duties, and are also less susceptible to coercion by foreign powers,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “But it’s important to remember that the military is not alone in its financial literacy deficiency. Most employers and big organizations in the U.S. fail to provide adequate information as well. Even schools don’t give students enough financial education.”
Q: How are veterans impacted by COVID-19?
A: “The COVID-19 pandemic led to a big spike in veteran unemployment, but has now recovered to 3.9%, not too far above the nearly historic low of 3.2% seen in 2019,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “The pandemic is certain to increase homelessness among veterans, adding to the more than 37,000 veterans who were already homeless before it even started. There are millions of veterans who are over age 65, too, and the vast majority of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. have been among people in that age group.”
To view the full survey, click here.
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