Every E-3 Has a New Car (And Why That’s Not a Good Thing)

If you’ve been in the military at any point during the past decade, you might have noticed that almost every junior enlisted member has a new car. While having a $40,000 truck seems awesome if you’re a 19 year old E-2, it can actually be a bad thing, and here are a few reasons why.

Signing Bonuses Are Crazy

As you may or may not know, we were fighting in two separate AOs while still maintaining everything else the military needs to do. Because of those two wars, the military, specifically the Army, was drastically short on people. When I signed up in 2005 they were offering 10k for a 6 and 2 contract while one of my buddies who signed up just a year before was offered $500. Then, starting in 2007, the Reserves started offering 20K sign on bonuses for select MOS. And if you’re Active Army, you’re looking at a sign on bonus of 40K. That’s a lot of dough for simply signing your name.

Deployment Money Is Like Winning the Lottery

If you’re young and single that is. If you’ve got a family, you have bills to pay and a spouse to spend all your money. If you’re 18 and fresh out of high school, the likelihood of you having any sort of responsibilities isn’t very high. So your bank account is going to have “phat stacks” as the youths like to call it. That money needs to go somewhere.

CarPredatory Lenders Are a Real Thing

Young members of the military who don’t have much of a background with finances are susceptible to high interest rate loans. Even with the Military Lending Act of 2006, loans are still only capped at 36%; which is outrageously high to begin with, but lenders quickly exploited loopholes by extending contract lengths and increasing loan amounts. This leads to military families grasping for breath under loans that wouldn’t have been offered had they been civilians.

It’s a Cycle

You get your sign on bonus. Make a down payment on a new car. That car loan has a ridiculous interest rate. You can’t afford it so you take out pay-day loans to pay for your first loan. And of course those loans are too much so it gets put on a credit card, which then max out. So you still have the same old debt plus a ton of new debt.

This cycle continues to happen across all branches, mainly among junior enlisted. 1 in 4 members report having more than 10k in credit card debt. The thing is, these lenders don’t care and the military is almost blatantly complicit as evidenced by car dealerships on bases overseas.

You have to watch out for yourself. If something sounds too good to be true. It probably is. I’m not saying don’t buy a car, but think about it a bit beforehand. Or be like this guy, and just drive a tank.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Mark Wasson

Mark spent 7 years in the Minnesota National Guard as a combat medic. When's he's not busy losing friends, he's drinking with his dog. Befriend him on Facebook or follow him on a Twitter that he doesn't use.
Mark Wasson

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