According to a survey conducted by CNBC, more than 70 percent of government employees live on a paycheck to paycheck basis. However, this might not be the only way to live. Some ways can make you incredibly wealthy, all the while staying in the government sector. One such option is by joining the military.
The military has many ways that you can save money and earn a whole lot of money. It can help you acquire numbers upwards of a million dollars. It may seem absurd, but it’s true. You will have to put in a bit of work, but this is possible.
One way you can manifest this, along with others, is that you retire with a yearly pension of $35,000, which you can receive after only after 20 years of service.
However, there are several other options and possibilities as well.
1. Utilize Military Benefits
It is common knowledge that the military gives its employees great benefits. Among other things, you get a mess hall and all the PX privileges. You also have the option of on-base housing and buying things from the base. Since on-base housing is practically free or extremely subsidized, you never have to worry about paying a mortgage or saving money to spend on a house.
Along with that, everything you buy on base is tax-free. So, if you want to get gas or groceries, you have the privilege of buying them at a much lower price from the base as compared to that from a civilian market. Joining the military also gets you healthcare, which reduces expenses brought about by health insurance or medical bills.
The average mortgage payment in the US is approximately $1,000, and the average family spends around $600 on groceries each month. By joining the military, you can save up to $1,200 from this amount each month.
This brings the savings (just from the mortgage and deduction of taxes on groceries) to around $300,000 for a 20-year service. This amount is staggering if you think about it. No position in the civilian sector can ever get you such an amount of savings or such benefits to enjoy.
2. Cutting Expenses
To become wealthy, you will also have to learn to spend as little as possible. You may have to learn to live very frugally.
This may be a drastic change for some people, but it is a necessary change if you want to accumulate wealth. Wealth does not come overnight. You have to work for it, and in some cases, change your lifestyle a bit.
The best way to do this is by holding yourself back every time you get a pay raise. Most people naturally increase their spending habits whenever their pay is raised.
In the military, you will get a promotion every other year (every year for the first four years), which means you will get a pay raise every other year. So, you will have a natural impulse to buy more and to save less. However, you must keep in mind the amount you are saving.
You may treat yourself from time to time, but make sure that it does not proportionally increase with the increases in your paychecks. Either you cut your expenses or hold them off for several years to save up.
3. Pay Yourself
Paying yourself essentially means prioritizing yourself over every other expense that you may have on your budget. Often, people who enter the government services become stuck in a cycle of not being able to pay themselves or save.
However, it becomes easier to pay yourself first and then worry about all other things through military benefits. This essentially means saving a set amount for yourself each month. This is money that you do not touch for a good ten to fifteen years.
The Cycle of Not Saving…
For example, you get your paycheck at the start of this month. Accordingly, you pay all your bills like utility, mortgage, and gas. Then, you get groceries and go out to dinner for a few days. Next, in the middle of the month, you start thinking about saving, and you discover that you have nothing left from your paycheck. This cycle can only repeat from here.
So, what you do is, save a set amount like $500 from every paycheck as soon as you get it and put it in your savings account or invest somewhere. This way, you will be able to budget your other expenses accordingly, and at the end of every year, you will have $12,000 or more if you decide on calculating compound interest.
Thus, through very small steps, you can pave your way towards becoming a wealthy person by joining the military. Since you will get the security of a house and cutting daily expenses through on-base shopping, you will already be on the way to saving money.
The military provides you with so much that you will never really have to worry about money. At the very start, you may have to make some sacrifices and hold your expenses down for a bit.
4. Play with the Taxes
As mentioned previously, if you’re in the military, you will get lots of tax benefits. One of the major benefits is that only 40% of your entire income is taxed. That’s it! It is only your base pay that gets taxed, and everything else is tax-free.
The “everything else” part is the allowances, including health care, groceries, travel, and other everyday expenses. It also includes your housing allowance, cost of living, and sustenance is all free of tax.
This means that you automatically enter into one of the lowest tax brackets for the amount you’re earning. However, there are some ways that you can pay even lesser taxes. The most recommended one is your military Thrift Savings Plan or TSP.
This account lets you defer all your taxes as long as you don’t withdraw the money. This means you can withdraw all your money upon retirement, and you won’t have to pay any taxes on it now.
Thus, you can practically put all your base amount in your TSP and live off of the allowances until you choose to get retirement. This means you can live most of your life entirely tax-free.
In this way, the military creates more avenues for you to save and accumulate wealth more than any other civilian job.
As seen above, there are several ways through which joining the military is beneficial for you if you want to become wealthy.
This government job gives you a great many options to save on taxes and general expenses and housing, all of which contribute to your eventual wealth and easy retirement.
So, it is safe to say that you are destined to make lots of money if you decide to join the military.
Image by DariuszSankowski