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If you’re in the military, there are several financial perks that you can take advantage of. These monetary tools make it easier for you and your family to find the home you want and prepare for the future. Whether you’ll be a serviceman or woman for the next few years or you plan on retiring soon, here are a few benefits you can take advantage of.

Retirement Savings Plans

If you’re a member of the military, you’ll be able to access one of the best retirement savings plans. The Thrift Savings Plan charges 0.038% annually on assets, compared to 401K plans, which range between 1 and 2% annually. The Thrift Savings Plan also allows you to choose a target date funds or you can select one of five index mutual funds. As you near retirement, these funds become more conservative. As of 2018, you can invest as much as $18,500 in your Thrift Savings Plan per year.

Savings Accounts

If you want to save money while you’re deployed you can participate in the Savings Deposit Program for military members. The program allows you to invest as much as $10,000 every time you are deployed, and you’ll get an annual interest rate of 10%, which is compounded each quarter. You can even continue investing for up to three months after you return from deployment. Since you’ll be getting more take-home pay during deployment (during this time, your income is tax-free), you can save more money by using the deposit program than a standard savings account, which can benefit you and your family significantly in the long run.

School Savings

When you’re in the military, you can take advantage of the Post 9/11/GI Bill, which will cover the cost of college if you’re attending an in-state school. The bill also covers your fees if you’re a student at a public college for four academic years, or you can get up to $22,085 annually if you’re attending a foreign or private college. This money is available to you if you’re pursuing a graduate or undergraduate degree, or if you’re getting certification for a vocation or trade. The educational funds you receive can also cover room and board, tutoring and textbooks.

Affordable Housing

Finally, if you’re in the military, you’ll also be able to take advantage of VA house loans. In most cases, you’ll able to get a home without having to make a down payment, and you won’t have to worry about private mortgage insurance. You can contact the Veterans Administration to see what the particular terms of your loan based on the state you live in and your financial situation. For instance, if you put no money down on your mortgage or you only make a small down payment, you could own money on the home if prices go down and you have to move to a new residence.

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