Watch the video above and talk about it with a group or mentor. Learn more.

You aren’t going to be rich if in the military. But if you take advantage of opportunities and don’t live beyond your means, you’ll be extremely well positioned in retirement.

Key Points:

  • Don’t count on your pension. You cannot assume that you will remain in the military until retirement. You must have a diversified strategy.
  • Don’t live above your BAH. Staying at or below the BAH will help you reach your other financial goals, including saving for the future.
  • Use the three-year rule when buying a house. If you are only going to be in the area for less than three years, closing costs and other fees can force you into a break-even or investment-loss situation.
  • Take advantage of the benefits. There are many ways to save money during your time of service. 
  • Use the GI bill after you get out. The GI Bill is a great benefit to take care of higher education costs. It can be used by a service member, or be transferred to a spouse or child.
  • Stay away from credit cards for stupid expenses. Live within your means. Stay away from using credit cards until you are in a position where you know you will not be reliant on them to make ends meet.
  • Make a habit of giving. Giving back is a good way to impact those around you for good and to keep your own view of money in check.
  • Increase your saving before you increase your luxuries. Invest in your future before you increase current comforts.
  • Max out your TSP and Roth. The more money you save now, the more it can work for you and earn for your future. One dollar now is worth ten dollars later.
  • Position yourself for life after the military. Find the parallels in the civilian world and get those certificates so you can get a job at the drop of a hat.

Quote This:

Proverbs 13:11 Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.

See Also: Budgeting, Military

Talk About It
  1. What is your initial reaction to this topic? What jumped out at you?
  2. Hindsight is 20/20. Think back on a time when you were expecting an additional income (tax refund, bonus, etc.). Did you plan for it or did it dissolve in your bank account? How can you plan for income increases and make the most of them?
  3. Are your housing costs a reflection of the money you are receiving for BAH, or of your actual housing need at the moment? Have you overextended yourself?
  4. If you had to end your time in the military this week, would you be prepared to enter the civilian workforce? If not, what are the steps you would need to take?
  5. What were your last 3 credit card purchases? Where they budgeted items, or are you counting on paying them off in the future? Where they necessities or novelties?
  6. Read Luke 14:28-30, Proverbs 27:23, and Proverbs 21:5. What is the Bible’s view on planning for the future?
  7. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.