Joining the military can be a rewarding experience, and it comes with benefits and resources that make it even more worthwhile. In addition to serving your country and learning valuable skills, you’ll be able to reap the rewards every military service member does once he or she enlists. From paid 30-day vacations and travel discounts to discounted life insurance and housing and food allowances, serving in the military can be beneficial for both you and your family. Here are just some of the benefits of joining the military.
1. Military Pay and Benefits
Becoming a member of the military means you’ll get competitive pay and benefits packages, just like you would as a civilian. But more than that, you’ll get enlistment bonuses, advanced enlistment rank pay opportunities, and special pay. Enlistment bonuses will vary from branch to branch so ask your recruiter for more information. Advanced enlistment rank pay opportunities are offered once you go up in rank, and special pay is offered on top of your base salary for things like hazardous duty. You’ll also get military medical care as part of your benefits package, which covers health insurance costs and dental expenses.
2. Discounted Life Insurance
Getting life insurance as a military member should be a top priority and getting it at a discount is a perk you can’t ignore. Life insurance can not only protect your family from financial hardship in case of your sudden passing, but it can also help them pay off your debts (like a mortgage), cover burial expenses, replace your income, and pay for everyday living expenses for years to come. Military families can enroll in life insurance for as low as $12 a month and get competitive military-related benefits and coverage flexibility from companies such as USAA. Life insurance gives you the peace of mind knowing your beneficiaries will have a safety net in case something should happen to you.
3. Housing and Food Allowances
New military personnel can also look forward to receiving housing allowances or room and board as a perk. That means while you’re on active duty, you don’t have to worry about paying for housing costs. You’ll also receive free dining or money to pay for meals. You’ve also got the option of free, prepared meals-to-go.
New military recruits usually live in group quarters with shared bathrooms during basic training, but beyond that, service members are able to live with their families in modern, on-base housing communities similar to what you’d get if you lived off base. These communities are similar to civilian communities and typically have theaters, schools, libraries, shopping centers, commissaries, banks, restaurants, and other establishments.
4. Paid Time Off
Getting paid time off in the military is a lot different than PTO policy at a traditional job (More about: what is a PTO policy). In the military, you’ll get 30 days of paid vacation every year, whereas, at a regular 9 to 5, you’d generally only get two weeks. What’s even better is that military service members often have access to free or low-cost travel to almost anywhere in the world. What’s more, your extra leave time can be sold back to the military if you have a surplus of leave time. Every day of leave you have saved can be sold back for one day’s base pay.
Another benefit of being a new military service member is that you get automatic retirement benefits. Once you enlist, the Uniformed Services Blended Retirement System (BRS) automatically sets aside three percent of your basic pay and deposits it into a Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) for retirement. You can get your contributions matched after two years of service. Your military retirement pay will also depend on the amount of time you spent in the military and when you enlisted. After you hit 20 years of service, you can either receive a monthly pension for life or receive a lump sum (which is essentially a discounted portion of your retirement).
Taking Advantage of Your Benefits and Resources
As a new military service member, you’ll likely have access to the benefits and resources named above and many more. Serving your country is an honor and a privilege, and it just happens to come with perks. Knowing that all of these resources are available to you and your family can put you at ease and give you the peace of mind you need to enjoy your time in the service.