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An Air Force Vet Needs to Cut Expenses and Debt. Here’s Some Advice


Joshua Wright, a freshman at Kent State University, is not your typical college student. He and his wife, Melissa Wright, live in nearby Rootstown, Ohio, with their three children ages 8, 12 and 14.

Mr. Wright is a retired Air Force veteran, 45 years old, and attending Kent State on the GI Bill, which means the military covers 100% of his tuition, provides a stipend for school supplies and pays $1,200 a month toward the Wrights’ living expenses.

That is a big help for the couple, whose immediate financial goals are to reduce their monthly expenses and pay off debt. Mr. Wright, who is majoring in applied engineering with a minor in sustainable energy, plans to seek an engineering position at a sustainable energy company when he graduates. While Ms. Wright is currently a stay-at-home mom, she was an accounting manager at a property-management firm before the children were born.

The Wrights were living in Kansas in 2019 when their home flooded. Almost everything was destroyed. They had $35,000 of renters insurance, but that wasn’t enough to cover all expenses, so they made up the difference by using credit cards.

Mr. Wright also receives $1,800 a month in retirement pay from the Air Force and $2,400 a month in veterans disability for an injury incurred while he was in the service. And, even though they now live in Ohio, the couple receives an $800-a-month stipend from the state of Kansas because they adopted two of their children from foster care there.

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