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Unsecured Debt Evidence ?

I am trying to convince "senior people in our organisation" that the Army has a debt problem. Not because we can't afford Apache helos but because many soldiers can't get cheap loans. Especially more junior ranks often due to poor or non-existent credit history/ratings). In my average amount of time at RD I would say i encountered more toms with debt worries than with drug or drink problems. Most recently I have encountered several fijian and F&C soldiers who could only get their car loans from some very "expensive" lenders

I want the orgnisation to provide access to "financial literacy" training as it does for other basic skills and to try and use its muscle a bit more effectively with lenders to negotiate better rates for unsecured loans. To me, understanding the importance of APR and how a mortgage works is just as important as EO training or SHEF.

However, in order to do this I need a bit more evidence than my gut feelings. The lenders will obviously not share this confidential information (quite rightly I suppose) so I'd appreciate any anecdotal evidence from ARRSE-ites - especially if you have direct experience of loan sharks, inability to get cheap loans, or servicepeople with big debts. No urban myths please, no names required (companies, units or people)

As a stab in the dark I'd say that "most" soldiers probably owe at least £5K on credit cards, overdrafts, bank and car loans and other unsecured finance (slightly above national average according to the good people at Credit Action http://www.creditaction.org.uk/debtstats.htm )

But perhaps it's just me....
tweckyspat, you are quite right. This has been a problem going back decades and it is not good enough. It is a mixture of a lack of educating soldiers on private finance combined with an environment full of loan sharks all charging above the odds.

I hope that relief is on the horizon in the form of the British Armed Forces Federation (BAFF) that is being looked at at the moment. This sort of issue, which the chain of command are not really serious about, is exactly the sort of area the BAFF can improve dramatically. The BAFF should be able to source a competitive loan provider, plus organise a better flow of information to soldiers on how to best manage their money.

If you don't mind I've taken the liberty of copying your post and my reply onto the Federation thread.


The problem doesn't stop there, even 8 years after getting out it is very hard to get out of the trap of when you get paid spending it all on luxuries that you don't really need, I myself fell into this disbelief that it would be ok, how sorry I am now, having to remortgage the house at a stupid rate (for the first year anyway) due to the fact that I was still in the belief that what the numbers said at the cashpoint was mine to fritter away on booze cigs and dirty ladies. The answer was swiftly delivered by Mrs RM and then my solicitor who both said Dave mate you are in a bit of a mess!

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