Financial struggles common among military families

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By DONNA GORDON BLANKINSHIP, Associated Press

SEATTLE (AP) — Military families aren't surprised when they hear about the financial struggles that Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, his wife and children faced at home. It's part of their lives, too.

Laws give active-duty soldiers extra combat pay, provide housing allowances and exempt them from taxes. But experts say families are straining under multiple deployments, frequent relocations and the difficulty spouses have in getting and keeping jobs in new cities.

A 2010 military survey found that 27 percent of service members said they had more than $10,000 in credit card debt, while 16 percent of civilians do. The study also found more than a third of military families have trouble paying monthly bills, and more than 20 percent reported borrowing money outside of banks.

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