Individuals who have dedicated their lives to serving their country deserve acknowledgment from a grateful nation. While your tour of duty may have ended, the support and preferred care should not. Fortunately, there are many ways how veterans can save money and build a financial foundation not available to everyone.
Some veterans may be hesitant to accept discounts, preferred rates, and even public thanks for their service. While setting this boundary is an individual choice, consider accepting what’s available to you. It’s important to know that companies want to return the favor, if even in a small way, for your brave service. When you accept these opportunities, you also have the chance to build a solid financial foundation for the long haul.
1. Select a Financial Institution with Your Needs in Mind
Choose a financial institution with your unique needs and desires in mind. Account portability, fee-free ATM access, and high-level customer service may be features appreciated by veterans. If you’ve retired from active service but now are a National Guard member, account access nationwide matters.
Research banks and credit unions for features that meet your needs. Many institutions offer access to VA loan rates and preferred financing terms. Lower interest rates, down payment amounts, and special loan limits can help you achieve homeownership.
Use databases designed to highlight veteran-specific perks and benefits. These resources can save time and often highlight lesser-known benefits. This is one key way how veterans can save money. Seek information from fellow service members as you narrow down the institutions you’re considering. You can get insight into the customer experience from other veterans you trust before you make a decision.
2. Get Familiar with Discounts Available for Those Who Have Served
The list of discounts available for veterans is likely longer than you think. Restaurants, clothing stores, and major retailers often offer discounts for veterans. Some only require your word for it, while others request to see an ID. Other establishments may want you to enroll in a database that ensures only qualified veterans receive discounts. Taking this extra step to register can save you thousands, so make time to do so.
Accepting a discount can feel odd at times, especially if memories of your service are uncomfortable. However, know that a discount on something as small as a meal is a gift that companies are happy to give. Instead of asking for the military discount, offer your ID at checkout to provide the cashier with proof of service. Most times, they will understand this indication and pass along the discount without an in-depth conversation.
Major purchases like cars can be made more affordable thanks to price cuts and cashback offers available only to veterans. Plus, you’ll save on maintenance costs through preferred service packages and cut rates on replacement parts like brakes and tires. Discounts on life’s purchases can help lessen the pressure on your budget and even make dream buys more affordable. After dedicating yourself to serving others, you deserve these everyday tokens of gratitude.
3. Understand Your Earned Benefits and How to Get the Most From Them
Service members may have one of the best medical and retirement benefits packages around. And they should — active service can take a toll on your mental and physical health. Some service members retire at a relatively young age, leaving them with many years before they reach the traditional retirement age. Many veterans will begin a second career, start a business, or lean into retired life. As you pursue what’s next, it’s important to know what you’ve earned and how best to collect your benefits.
You may be most familiar with your military pension benefit, but it’s essential to understand your suite of earned benefits. Lifelong medical coverage, long-term care coverage, and life insurance are also available to veterans. These benefits can save veteran families tens of thousands or more, easing the financial burden of major expenses.
Most former service members are eligible for GI Bill benefits, which provide funding for college tuition and many associated costs. As you pursue what’s next in your career or think of your children’s educational pursuits, tap into your robust benefits. Also, non-degree education and certification programs are often covered, providing a path for a post-service career. Training, résumé support, and apprenticeships are also available through the Veterans Readiness and Employment Program. If you aren’t interested in using your GI benefits, you may be able to transfer them to your children.
Creating the Future You Deserve
Your military career likely has transformed your outlook on life, giving you a unique view of the world. As your service comes to a close, you may find yourself wondering, “What’s next?”
No matter what your future holds, know that there is a support system there for you. Whether you’re moving to the country or traveling the world, remember that a grateful nation thanks you for your service.