Financial future after military service

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Naili Chen
  • Commander, 45th Aerospace Medicine Squadron
Knowledge is the key to preparedness, which allows us to determine our path to a successful career. We as military leaders, whether officer or enlisted, do a very good job ensuring our Airmen understand the path to military success. However, "are our Airmen really financially preparing themselves for their future after military service?"

Financial security is a large component of life and allows us to live comfortably and do those "fun things" we dream about. But like most Americans, many Airmen have not planned for their financial future in order to maintain or exceed their current level of income.

When we become eligible for retirement, expectations about retirement income received can be puzzling.

For example, a 20-year Master Sergeant will receive an average net retirement of about $2000 per month, which equates to 60% less income received while on active duty.

Not to mention, the additional allowances we receive on active duty that will no longer be applicable for the retiree.

So, how can we as leaders help our Airmen financially arm themselves for the future? There are many programs available through the Air Force and the Department of Defense to help military members succeed.

Participation in programs like the Thrift Savings Plan allows us to save for retirement. Tuition Assistance and the GI Bill enable military members to educationally posture themselves to compete for desired jobs after military retirement.

While these programs are available for today's Airman, we as leaders need to educate and guide our Airmen in the right direction.

Are you discussing and providing a copy of the Air Force Benefit Fact Sheet during feedback sessions?

Are you pushing your Airmen to educate themselves? Sitting the Airmen down and providing sound financial guidance just may be what they need to better prepare for the future, not only financially, but mentally, physically and emotionally as well.

As Airmen look to finish the military chapter of their lives and begin a new one, they should be able to look to the future with enthusiasm. So I leave you with one question -- are you preparing YOUR Airmen for their financial future?