Military service is undeniably challenging. Long deployments, Permanent Change of Stations, stress
stemming from what seems like everything, and of course being away from your family for long periods
are just some of the rigors of life in the military. Not to mention the financial adversity commonly
experienced by service members. Often, obstacles rooted in money go unacknowledged or completely
overlooked. While many of these challenges are unavoidable, there is plenty that can be done when it
comes to protecting yourself financially.
Stability is crucial for veterans adjusting to civilian life. Low pay coupled with high debt is the beginning
of a very slippery slope for recently discharged vets. Many entitlements exist for service members;
however, a divide exists between what’s available and a working knowledge of what’s available on the
individual level. Those in the military have options; they just need to know what those options are.
Active duty personnel spend on average $1,725 in moving expenses during a Permanent Change of
Station (PCS). Reassignment happens frequently, on average every two to four years. Emotionally and
financially this can take a huge toll. Did you know that lost, stolen or damaged property is reimbursable
by the government? Further protection exists in the form of cheap military renters insurance and auto
insurance. Incurred moving costs are also tax deductible.
Student loan debt is a huge problem for military members looking to further their education. Often,
educational loans taken out by military personnel are avoidable. The Veterans Education Assistance Act
can cover up to the entirety of the tuition for an in-state public university, as well as providing $1,000 in
annual supply costs. This benefit can also be used for housing costs in excess of $1,300 a month.
Healthcare related costs are the most prominent cause of bankruptcy in this country. The price of
healthcare continues to increase annually; many veterans qualify for government subsidized health care.
Those ineligible may still be entitled to discounted coverage.
Travel & Retail:
While not as earth shattering as defrayed healthcare or education costs, many small scale travel and
retail benefits are available to service members. Membership with Veterans Advantage provides military
members with discounts as high as 10 percent at many major retail outlets. Those who travel frequently
can enjoy the advantages of discounted prices. Amtrak, for example, offers a 15 percent discount to
When compared to FHA loans, the VA Home Loan offers many more advantages to veterans. The
guaranteed loan includes low interest rates, lesser underwriting guidelines, $0 down and 100 percent
financing. Advantageously, vets who have experienced prior financial hardships such as short sales,
foreclosures and bankruptcy filings may still qualify if they are current on all payments.
These are just a few of the many offerings available to military members. The challenge is making sure
those who benefit from this information receive it. VA Home Loan Centers encourages everyone to learn
as much as they can about military benefits.
A proud Bostonian and University of Massachusetts alum, Noah currently lives in San
Diego. He works as the CMS for VA Home Loan Centers, a lender sponsored by the VA,
working to assist vets and active duty service members attain affordable housing. To learn
more about the VA loan benefit, visit; https://www.vahomeloancenters.org/