F-16 falcons fly in a row over mountains
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The Military's A+ Financial Benefits to Protect Your Future

As a service member, you've earned financial benefits to help protect your future. Take advantage of military benefits to shore up your personal finances—for both the short term and long term.

Benefits that can help set you up financially

Savings Deposit Program. Service members deployed to a combat zone get guaranteed 10 percent interest on money put into a savings account, up to $10,000 for each deployment. That's unheard of outside the military. Bonus: You keep earning 10 percent interest up to three months after you return.

Thrift Savings Plan. Sure, retirement seems a long way off. But your future self will thank your present self, if you earmark a portion of each paycheck to retirement via the Thrift Savings Plan. It's the easiest money you'll likely make, thanks to compound interest. If you stash $100 in a retirement account (earning 2 percent interest) twice a month for the next 30 years, you'll be looking at a balance of $102,500. You have several plans to choose from. Bonus: It's one of the lowest cost retirement savings plans out there, charging just 29 cents per $1,000 of investment.

Free college. Thanks to the Post-9/11 GI Bill, you can get the full cost of in-state tuition and fees at public colleges covered for up to four academic years, or up to nearly $22,000 a year for private colleges. You'll also get a housing stipend and up to $1,000 a year for books and tutoring. Benefits cover the cost of education and training programs, including undergraduate and graduate studies, vocational schools and technical training. Learn the ins and outs of different GI Bill programs. Bonus: Benefits last up to 15 years after active duty and are transferable to a spouse or children.

Affordable housing. Service members get a tax-free housing allowance when government quarters are not provided. The size of the monthly subsidy is based on your rank, location and family size. It is intended to cover part of your rent or mortgage payment so you can live off base comparably to civilians.

Low-cost life insurance. Service members have access to some of the lowest-cost life insurance available anywhere. You can provide your family with financial security at just seven cents per $1,000 of insurance. That means for up to $400,000 of life insurance, you pay only $28 a month, regardless of age or health.

Other ways to build wealth

Low-cost loans. As a service member, you can get a low-cost home loan via the Veterans Administration—without having to put down a down payment or pay pricy private mortgage insurance.

Different ways to save. When joining the Thrift Savings Plan, you can choose from two tax options: either make contributions to retirement on a pre-tax case and then pay taxes on the amounts at retirement, or contribute after-tax dollars, letting the amount grow over time and never paying taxes on that savings. Bonus: if you receive tax-free combat pay, you don't have to pay any tax on so-called Roth IRA contributions.

Tax deductions. You or your spouse are eligible for numerous tax deductions, some extended to all citizens in certain situations and others exclusive to service members and their families.

Contacting Military OneSource can put you on path to making the most of your financial benefits. Our free resources, information and personalized specialty services can help you make the most of your benefits. Call 800-342-9647 or or connect via Live Chat 24/7/365. OCONUS/International? Click here for calling options.