4 Pro Tips Every New Military Service Member & Family Should Know
Each year, around 180,000 Americans choose to join a branch of the U.S. military. Besides their bravery and desire to serve their country, these young service members also share the struggles and confusion that come with adjusting to military service.
New military personnel and their families are faced with navigating insurance, housing assistance and other benefits, as well as the many other perks available, like special retirement and savings plans. If you or your spouse has recently joined the military, keep reading to learn four pro tips to help make the transition easier.
Understand Your Retirement and Savings Perks
Whether you want to serve in the military until you reach retirement age or plan to leave after a single term, there are a variety of financial benefits that you'll have the opportunity to use. One of the financial benefits that you can enjoy is by filing va claims. But for some reason, you might be possibly denied and you'll need to seek professional help.
One big benefit is access to inexpensive retirement savings plans. The average 401(k) includes fees of 0.45 percent. In contrast, a Thrift Savings Plan, available to members of the military, carries annual fees that amount to just 0.042 percent.
When you are deployed, you'll also be eligible for the military's Savings Deposit Program. This allows you to invest up to $10,000 in a high-interest savings account, with 10 percent annual interest compounded quarterly, each time you are deployed. These savings plans are a great way to get ahead on your finances while you're serving, and especially while you are receiving tax-free income while deployed overseas.
Utilize Military Discounts and Advantages on Insurance
It isn't just the military that has your back while you serve. Many other companies offer discounts and deals for service members and veterans alike, as well as for their families. Taking advantage of these discounts is a great way to protect your family and keep some money in your pocket.
Take USAA, for instance. Catering to military members, veterans and their families, USAA can help you get affordable, flexible auto insurance for yourself, your spouse and your teens. On average, members save over $700 when they switch to USAA. You'll also enjoy flexible payment schedules, a variety of discounts and help with things like vehicle storage or reducing your rates while you're deployed and not using your vehicle.
Choose Whether to Change Your Residence
If the military moves your post to another state, this doesn't mean that you'll have to change your legal residence as well. This means that if you currently live in a state with no income tax, like Florida, Texas or Nevada, but the military moves you to a different state, you can remain a resident of that first state.
This is a great way to shield yourself from a tax increase, saving you money each year. Your spouse can also take advantage of this benefit.
Take Advantage of Free Resources and Assistance
Understanding the many perks of your military service, and navigating things like health insurance, housing and education benefits can be confusing at first. Luckily, the military offers help every step of the way.
There is an endless number of resources available to you, as well as hotlines and in-person assistance on every base. Check out usa.gov to get started, or check with your assigned base to get more specific assistance with your housing or other immediate needs.
Adjusting to Military Life
Making the adjustment to military life can be challenging for both service members and their spouses and families. But by utilizing financial perks like high-interest savings, taking advantage of discounts on insurance and the chance to keep your current state of residence, and using free resources and assistance to navigate the process, you can get your finances in order and take full advantage of every benefit for your time served.