Serving in the armed forces should be an honor and privilege that sets you up well for life after the service. Unfortunately, the systems in place are imperfect when it comes to serving veterans and helping them transition back into civilian life.
Although there are plenty of flaws in veteran care, that does not mean life is guaranteed to be complicated after your military career is over. There are many perks that you can take advantage of when you have served in the United States armed forces once you re-integrate into society. One area that you may not consider before you leave the military is the ability to make money. The armed forces do not pay super well, and although there are helpful healthcare systems and solid retirement plans, you will still need to earn money once you return home. Here are a few tips for making money as a veteran in the US.
Leverage Experience to Start a Small Business
Small businesses provide millions of jobs across the country and are an important piece of this nation’s economy. There are roughly 2.5 million veteran-owned businesses in the US, and their success rate makes entrepreneurship an attractive path for former military members. One of the main reasons for the success of veteran-owned businesses is the character traits acquired during their service. Serving in the military creates an emphasis on strong leadership, teamwork, resilience, and resourcefulness, all skills that are critical to business ownership and management. If you have a great idea for a business, then you probably have many of the soft skills needed to lead a company effectively, resulting in reliable income.
The stock market can be another source of income for people with the time to learn about how it works. While you can get in on the profits with minimal effort through mutual funds, the real money can be made by investing in stocks yourself. Understanding the stock market and reacting to changing stock values requires a level of detail that not everyone has the patience for. With your military background, precision is now instinctual for you. This will give you the drive to research the markets, identify investment opportunities, and cash out on them or receive dividends when their value climbs.
Accept Disability Compensation
Many veterans have injuries or illnesses that occurred during their time in the military. Others may have had conditions that were worsened because of their service. In these circumstances, the Department of Veterans Affairs has a program to help. VA disability benefits come in the form of monthly tax-free payments to the victim if their injury or illness is service-related. For example, once you calculate the disability rating associated with your injury or illness, you can file a claim and start receiving payments that range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on the severity of the disability. This compensation can help cover medical bills, but it can also be used to increase your savings outside of regular income from a job.
Invest in Rental Properties
Renting is a very popular option for many younger generations, especially with higher prices in many housing markets. If you have the funds to invest in a rental property, you could turn it into a consistent stream of reliable income to boost your savings. As a veteran, you could use a VA home loan with favorable terms to purchase a new home and then turn your previous home into a rental property. This strategy is highly dependent on good research, as you will need to understand the local market and its demand for rental properties.
Become a Bodyguard or Security Guard
While many jobs in the civilian sector do not align with the practical skills you learned in the military, there are others that do. Careers in private security are often highly attractive to veterans who have combat training and are looking for a way to apply that knowledge and skill set. Some bodyguard and security guard positions can pay very well depending on who or what you are protecting, and your history of military service will make you an especially appealing candidate for the employer.
Rely on VA Resources If You Need Help Finding Income
One of the positive benefits that the VA offers is support for veterans who are transitioning back into civilian life. It can be hard to figure out a career or educational path after your time of service. The VA provides free educational and career counseling resources to help you learn about your options and craft a plan for your income as a civilian. Rely on these resources and consider some of the options mentioned in this article to start saving for the future.