To the pragmatic thinkers among us this could seem like an exercise in overstating the obvious, but retirement is not some type of Shangri-La that you step into when you have a particular birthday. It is just a word that describes the act of putting your working years behind you. Most people work because they need the income, so if you’re going to retire you have to be able to finance your lifestyle without drawing a paycheck. If you are like most people, reaching this level of financial independence is going to require careful long-term planning.
There are people who join the military with eventual retirement in mind, and this path can lead to the financial ability to stop working at some point and enjoy your free time. Members of the armed services who served 20 years or more are entitled to a retirement pension that they will receive for the rest their lives.
Since many people join the military when they are very young adults, a lot of veterans who retire after 20 years still have the ability to work for another 20 or 30 years in the private sector before they become eligible to receive Social Security. Saving and investing the income that your military pension provides while you are advancing along a career path while at the same time contributing into a 401(k) can indeed lead to the type of financial success that you need to retire in comfort.
In addition to the retirement pension, many veterans are eligible for the Veterans Aid and Attendance special pension. To qualify for this benefit you need not serve for 20 years; you must simply have served for at least 90 days with a minimum of one of these days taking place during wartime and need assistance tending to your day-to-day living needs. Single veterans may be eligible for as much as $1632 per month, and this can certainly be a big help should you need living assistance at some point in time.
If you are a veteran looking for retirement planning advice, the wise course of action would be to arrange for a consultation with an experienced retirement planning attorney who has a thorough understanding of military benefits for retirees.