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In the military, you learn to prepare for the future by using the tools at your disposal. Saving money is one important aspect of this. The more money you save, the more prepared you will be for opportunities or unexpected events that come your way. You may want to buy a new car someday or help your children pay for college. Here are several savings tools to help you achieve your savings goals:
Savings Tools to Get the Most Out of Your Military Pay
- Create and adhere to a spending plan so you know how much money you have available to put away each month. If you have trouble doing this on your own, ask one of the military’s personal financial counselors to help you. Their services are free.
- Set up an automatic transfer from your paycheck into your savings account through myPay.
- Is combat deployment in your near future? If so, then consider putting your combat pay into a Savings Deposit Program, which will allow you to earn a 10% interest rate on up to $10,000 in deployment pay savings. That interest rate will be available to you for 90 days after you return home. This benefit is unmatched in the civilian world, so make the most of it.
- Invest in a Thrift Savings Plan, which allows federal employees and military service members to boost their retirement income by rolling a portion of their paycheck into a long-term investment account ─ and depending on your retirement system, receive matching funds.
- Take advantage of Qualified Tuition Programs, or 529 plans. These are state-run plans designed to help you save for your child’s college tuition. There are two types of qualified tuition programs that you can invest in: a prepaid tuition plan and a college savings program.
- 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 contributions for a private college education. You’ll also get a housing stipend and up to $1,000 a year for books and tutoring.
- As a service member, you can get a low-cost home loan via the Veterans Administration ─ without having to make a down payment or pay pricey private mortgage insurance.
- 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. Military OneSource provides access to free tax software designed to help you file your tax returns.