Retiring from the military is a profound accomplishment. For many, this retirement will provide you with positive things, including the time and geographic stability you need to start a new career or simply enjoy leisure activities with your loved ones.
But if you're worried about your post-retirement income or just aren't quite sure what your finances will look like once you're no longer an active member of the military, you are not alone. Speaking with a financial professional before you retire can help put your mind at ease, by clarifying which options are available to you—and there may be more than you think!
Here, we highlight some of the benefits you can take advantage of after you retire from the military.
Military Retirement Benefits
After you've spent 20 years in military service, you may qualify for the following:
- Military retirement pay. This pay is calculated based on the number of years you served and when you enlisted.1
- Veterans Group Life Insurance, Service-Disabled Veteran Insurance, and Veterans Mortgage Life Insurance. These life insurance options allow you to protect your family at a lower monthly cost than you'd find if you were purchasing this insurance as a civilian.
- VA home loans. These loans offer competitive interest rates, low down payments, and other advantages over conventional loans. VA loans are also transferable — a surviving spouse can still take advantage of the loan even if the military member passes away.
- VA health and dental care. Even after you retire from the military, you and your dependents should have access to low- or no-cost medical and dental care through the VA.
- GI Bill. This provides education benefits for eligible veterans or their family members. For those who want some retraining or higher education before embarking on their second career, the GI Bill can provide an inexpensive way to get there.
You may also qualify for disability pay if you submit a claim to the VA after your retirement. It can sometimes take some time for these claims to be processed; but in many situations, back pay will be available.
How Can You Maximize Your Retirement Benefits?
Before you apply for benefits, you'll want to obtain your veterans ID card. This ID card can make it easier to essentially fast-track your application process by certifying your years of service.
You'll also want to talk to a financial professional or a VA representative to ensure that you've learned about all the benefits that are available to you—and your loved ones, since some veterans benefits extend to family. Having a financial professional who has a military background may be especially beneficial, as they may be better able to understand your situation as a veteran.
It is also important to ensure that your family will be protected no matter what happens. Though it can be tough to think of your own mortality—especially once you are no longer serving in combat—there are many life insurance options offered to military veterans. By taking advantage of them, you can help keep your family from struggling to pay the bills if something happens to you.
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