The Military Needs To Teach Soldiers About Money & Benefits

They Will Take Everything They Can Out Of You

My entire family is military, and something I’ve noticed is the military will take everything out of you, which is why you must be informed so that you can take full advantage of every military benefit before and after you leave the service.

She Didn’t Know About The 401K

I was chatting with one of my friends who is in the Marine Corps, and I asked her, “did you set up your retirement account yet?” She responded with, “What is that?”

She recently got married, and thankfully, her husband is a bit more money savvy than her and encouraged her to do so as well. But why didn’t she know about this?

Yes, her parents should’ve taught her about money, and yes, she should’ve taught herself about money since she is a grown adult, but at least the military could do its part as well. Because let’s face it, just like many Americans, many people in the military don’t understand money either.

New Recruits Get 15k Credit Cards

“Yeah, I got a 15k credit card right after boot camp. They gave one to everyone.”

I find it incredibly bizarre and insensitive that the military gives recruits — usually young and financially uninformed — fifteen thousand (and sometimes more) dollar credit cards.

Usually, young people don’t have damaged credit, which offers them the opportunity to get gigantic credit lines; this can be positive or negative, but for many young people, this reward often ends up hurting them in the long haul because they have not yet discovered how to best handle their money.

If you’re going to hand out credit cards, at least give the disclaimer and educated needed to utilize the dangerous piece of plastic properly. Too many young soldiers end up with scarred credit history and loads of debt that could’ve been avoided if they were properly educated.

“No One Told Me About The TSP Plan”

The Thrift Savings Plan is a defined contribution plan for United States civil service employees and retirees as well as for members of the uniformed services.

My mother served two military branches, and she didn’t find out about the TSP plan until years after joining. Why?

Why isn’t financial information being broadly shared and highlighted to our soldiers who are endangering their lives to keep our country safe? It’s the least the military can offers soldiers in return.

The VA Check (Disability)

I often ask people with military backgrounds, “Are you getting your VA disability check?” Every now and then, I get a “yes,” but usually I get, “no.”

What is VA Disability Pay: VA disability pay is a tax-free monthly payment from the Department of Veterans Affairs to veterans who obtained an illness or injury during military service. Veterans with existing conditions that were worsened by service may also receive compensation. VA disability pay is determined by disability rating, severity of disability, and number of dependents.” — Veterans United

Many people don’t know about the veterans’ disability benefits. The eligible people who are cognizant of this benefit, but don’t have it, are either too ashamed to admit they are dealing with certain medical issues or don’t feel like completing all of the paperwork and doctor’s appointments required (which is like shooting yourself in the foot).

I know people who took decades to finally submit their medical claims. But imagine how much more financial freedom they could have experienced if they had simply completed the process well in the past.

Education

I could have gone to college for free because both of my parents served time (and still do) in the military, but we didn’t know we were eligible because of our unique situation. Thankfully, my sister has been able to utilize the funding.

The lack of knowledge of this benefit required me to pay my own way through school, and I’m grateful. Paying my own way developed within me a certain gratitude, which allowed me to never take my education for granted. BUT, knowing that I didn’t have to pay my way through school due to ignorance sucks.

Final Thoughts

I’ve witnessed many homeless veterans because they did not properly learn how to handle their money. If the military can conduct weaponry, artillery, tactical, and physical training, then they can also conduct publicized financial and benefit information sessions (training) for its soldiers; it’s only common courtesy.

One thing I’ve learned from being a civilian related to so many military servicewomen and men is that the military will take everything out of you. So, be sure you take full advantage of every military benefit you are entitled to; that’s the least they can do in return for your sacrifice.


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Destiny S. Harris is a writer, poet, entrepreneur, teacher, and techie who offers free books daily on amazon. Destiny obtained three degrees in political science, psychology, and women’s studies. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook, or @ destinyh.com

This article is for informational and entertainment purposes only. It should not be considered Financial or Legal Advice. Not all information will be accurate. Consult a financial professional before making any significant financial decisions.