Joining the military comes with honor, service to country and commitment. Plus, it has benefits you may not be aware of that can help you financially support yourself and your family. Here’s a look at some of the financial benefits available to you as an Active Duty servicemember.
- Education benefits. It's no secret that higher education can be expensive. But, when you join the military, your education is paid for. In fact, the Post-9/11 GI Bill not only pays for your tuition for up to 36 months, but also provides you with a housing stipend and money for textbooks. Learn all you can to make the most of available education benefits. If you don't use all your GI Bill benefits, you can transfer them to your spouse or child, so you don’t lose out on them.
- Health care benefits. Health care copays, enrollment fees and out-of-pocket deductibles can all add up to thousands of dollars per year in the civilian world. If you’re Active Duty, a retired servicemember, a qualified spouse or part of the Reserve, you receive great health care benefits at reduced costs.
- Deployment pay. Deployment has a number of financial benefits. If you deploy to a combat location, your pay while deployed is tax-free up to a certain amount. You also qualify for a number of special pays and incentives. These depend on your job, rank and years of service, but added together, they can add a healthy bump to your regular paycheck.
- Regular pay increases. As a servicemember, an annual pay increase is guaranteed. Each year, you'll get a pay raise that’s linked to increases in the private sector. The Employment Cost Index (ECI) measures the raises in the private sector, and as of 2007, all military raises must be equal to the increase in the ECI.
- Mortgage benefits. Looking to buy a house but don't have 20 percent cash or equity to put down? That's not a problem if you've served in the military. Servicemembers can qualify for no-money-down mortgages, thanks to VA loans. A VA loan not only allows you to purchase a house without making a down payment, but also saves you money on private mortgage insurance.
- Financial relief. If you had debt before you joined Active Duty military or were called up from Reserve/Guard status to Active Duty, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act can save you a significant amount on interest payments. This law caps interest rates at 6 percent for any debt accrued before Active Duty. To qualify, you'll need to apply through your lender. You can also contact the U.S. Armed Forces Legal Assistance office for help.
- Low-interest loans. Through Navy Federal, low-interest loans are available to help you buy that new car you’ve been considering, update your home with a home equity loan or weather a financial hardship. Plus, Active Duty, retired and senior-enlisted servicemembers are eligible to receive an additional discount for select loans on top of our low, competitive rates.
- Retirement benefits. If you served on Active Duty for 20 or more years, or have the necessary qualifying points as a Guard or Reserves member, you'll be entitled to one of the best retirement plans around. Depending on when you joined the military and how long you served, you'll receive a certain percentage of your monthly pay for the rest of your life. This benefit can be further supplemented when servicemembers choose to take advantage of the Thrift Savings Plan, which is one of the lowest-cost retirement savings plans available, as it lowers your taxable income. However, if you joined the military in January 2018 or later, you’re automatically eligible for the Blended Retirement System, which combines the traditional retirement pension with the Thrift Savings Plan. Because retirement will look very different depending on when you joined the military and how long you plan to serve, it’s a good idea to discuss your retirement plan with a financial advisor to ensure you stay on track.
- Life insurance benefits. Whether you’re stationed stateside or overseas, life insurance is an important tool to help ensure your dependents are taken care of. If you’re an Active Duty member of the military, you’re eligible to be automatically issued coverage by Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance. If you desire additional coverage, Navy Federal Financial Group offers life insurance options, including term and permanent life insurance through Navy Mutual.
- Tax-free allowances. As you’re serving in the military, did you know your Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) and Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) are tax-free? Depending on your rank, location and family status (with dependents or without), you'll receive extra money each month in the form of allowances, which are tax-free.
The Total Package
Being a servicemember means you understand commitment. We’re committed to helping you find the right product and service at the right time in your life. Whether you’re just beginning your military career, retired or returning to civilian life, we stand ready to offer guidance, education and options to meet your financial needs.