Recession hits US military families

Ted Richardson/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT/Newscom
Jonathan Barron (in background) talks to an Army recruiter at the Armed Forces Recruiting Center in Raleigh, N.C. 'This is a last resort,' he said.

The deep recession is starting to seep into the US military, causing a jump in recruiting but long-term concerns about the financial health of its servicemen and women.

Two-thirds of military personnel have more debt than they are comfortable with – or have gone deeper into debt within the past year, according to a new online survey. A third have no savings or investments of any kind.

That is why 78 percent of service members plan on staying in the military longer than planned because of the economic crisis, according to Kiplinger and the Council of Better Business Bureaus’ BBB Military Line. The Kiplinger survey received about 500 responses to each of its questions.

Some 185,000 Americans entered the military in the last fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, which is the highest total since 2003. The Pentagon attributed much of that effect from Americans looking for alternatives to a job in the increasingly sour private sector.

It's not at all clear that the military will hold onto its recent gains. (Click here for a look at why.)

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