Not many people realize that higher-level members of the military can make a good living. An army Major with 6 years of experience makes $70,000 per year. It’s true that lower-level enlisted personnel make a small salary, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are many financial advantages to being in the military. It’s not just about the salary.
Maybe you’ve considered joining the military but weren’t impressed with the pay. You might want to reconsider that stance. You’re probably not aware of all the benefits.
Consider the other advantages the military offers:
1. Free medical and dental care. While on active duty, all members of the military, spouses, and children receive free medical care. Consider how much you’re likely to pay for medical insurance and care out in civilian life. The military wants you in tip-top shape and they’re willing to pay for it.
2. Housing allowance. When you’re at the bottom of the pay scale, you can live on base for free. It’s not glamorous, but you don’t have to pay for utilities or rent. Everyone gets a basic housing allowance.
3. GI Bill. You only have to contribute $100/month for the first year and nothing after that. When you leave the military, you can go to school at no cost. It can also be transferred to your spouse or children after certain requirements are met. Joining the military for a few years before attending school can save a ton of money.
4. Tuition assistance. You can receive tuition assistance while you’re in the military. The limit is $4,500 per year. It’s not that hard to earn a degree while you’re also active in the military. Getting a paycheck plus free schooling is a great deal.
5. Training. Depending on your specialty, you can receive up to 2 years of training. Much of this training can transfer as college credits. Employers love it, too. Coupled with the GI Bill or the tuition assistance program, this benefit increases the educational value.
6. Pension. There aren’t too many employers that offer a retirement plan anymore. After just 20 years, you can receive 50% of your pay for life. After 30 years it increases to 75%. If you’re able to stay for 40 years, 100%. Try to match those numbers with your 401(k) plan.
- Remember that if you took advantage of the GI Bill, you can go to school for free during your ‘retirement’.
7. VA Loans. This is just about the only mortgage available that requires no down payment and no mortgage insurance. You can also get a great interest rate. You can use this loan benefit throughout your life. It’s not limited to first-time homebuyers.
8. Commissary. The commissary is similar to a giant grocery store with great prices. You’ll save a lot of money on food and other basic needs each month.
Military life can have its disadvantages, and the pay isn’t always great. But the financial benefits are incredible. Imagine receiving 50% of your pay, for life, after just 20 years. You could then get a job that you love and not have to worry about the pay!
When you take all the benefits into account, the military is a great deal. It’s up to you to take full advantage of your benefits. Tuition assistance has no value if you don’t use it. Joining the military can be a wonderful financial opportunity.