This is a question many people ask when considering joining the military. While many people have heard about the benefits that being in the service offers, it can be hard to know for certain what benefits one would receive when they join a branch of the military. Some of the military benefits vary by which branch you are in; the Air Force Reserves will have differences in benefits from the Marine Corps, etc.
But for the most part, the benefits are similar across the board. As an active serviceman, you’ll receive competitive pay, and more paid vacation time per year than most similar civilian jobs. When deployed, all of the income the serviceman makes from the military is not taxed, equating to a roughly 20-25% raise, as well as up to $1000 extra per month between FSA (Family separation Allowance), HDP-L (Hardship Duty Pay- Location), HFP (Hostile Fire Pay), and per diem. Granted, there is a good reason the military provides these extra incentives for deployed servicemen. Deployment can be a very trying experience, and there is an inherent risk of death or injury.
In addition the the pay and vacation benefits, the military also offers free health care to servicemen and their dependents, free job training (much of which is transferable as college credit), and tuition assistance. Most of the job training you receive in the military is coveted by employers, and will give you a head start in your career if/when you decide to leave the military. The tuition assistance and the GI-Bill are generally very fair and can make college more affordable for those on active duty and those that have already left the military.
Whether you’re considering a career in the military or just a few years of service, it is also important to note the very generous life insurance policy that comes as a benefit of being a serviceman. A $400,000 life insurance policy can be selected for only $27/ month which is automatically deducted from your paycheck. In addition to the life insurance, for career servicemen, a fair retirement plan is in place. After 20 years, a serviceman may receive a retirement fund that is equal to 50% of his/her highest pay rate.
While benefits are important to consider no matter what decision you’re making, they are far from the only factor involved. Military life can be hard on families, place restrictions on where you live, how long you live there, and even what you do in your spare time. If you’re serious about considering joining the military, an important step will be to speak with a recruiter and find out what you can expect from military life.