December 30, 2015, by Tiffany Rowe – There are dozens of major motives to become a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, not the least of which is the pride and honor of serving for your country. However, there are plenty of secret benefits to being military personnel – and many recruits don’t know about them even after they’ve signed the dotted line. It doesn’t matter which branch, which base, or even which position; everyone in the armed forces enjoys the following outstanding perks of this uniquely important job.
1. Lengthy Paid Vacations
In America, an average worker earns about 16 vacation days every year ― but only 25 percent of Americans use the full extent of their days off. Worse, more than 61 percent of vacationers admit to attempting to do work while they take time away. Meanwhile, a full quarter of the American workforce earns absolutely no vacation time whatsoever.
In contrast, members of the military earn an astounding 2.5 days of vacation for every month of service, which by the end of the year amounts to 30 full days off. Some commands allow service members to accrue up to 75 days of leave, which can be fully redeemable in a single year. Even better, life events like moving to a new base or having a child grant free days of leave, so members do not have to dip into their saved vacation days. Time off is always paid, and few military posts permit access to work off-base, which means enlisted men and women can truly relax during their vacations.
2. Extensive Travel
Still, vacations are expensive ― unless you already live in an exciting, exotic place. The most common destinations for American travelers, like Europe and the Far East, are also common locations for military bases. America maintains armed forces all over the world, and service members have the unique opportunity to see distant places and experience distinct cultures without worrying about the cost of airfare or accommodations. For many, the military provides their only opportunity to see the world, as travel is much too expensive without the government’s help.
3. Crazy Financial Boons
Besides the reliably regular pay check, enlistment immediately grants military members a number of jaw-dropping benefits, most of which go above and beyond the options available to average Americans.
For example, by opening a retirement account using the military’s Thrift Savings Plan, service members access the lowest retirement fees nationwide as well as contributions up to $53,000 annually. Other savings accounts provide 10 percent returns, which is especially lucrative during tax-free deployment. Life insurance, a necessity in the military, is surprisingly inexpensive, with the cheapest plan at just $.07 a month and the maximum coverage of $400,000 costing less than $30 a month. In addition, service members can earn free college tuition – not only for themselves, but also for their spouses and children.
4. Huge Military Discounts
Additionally, service members benefit financially nearly everywhere else they go – often for the rest of their lives. Because most Americans wish to demonstrate their gratitude to active-duty and retired members of the military, thousands of merchants and service providers offer discounts on their products. There are hundreds of participating businesses around the country, including:
- Gold’s Gym
- Sally Beauty Supply
- Home Depot
- And over 250 more
You can even gain access to exceptional rewards credit cards with evidence of service to double-down on bonuses for your enlistment.
5. Unrivaled Entertainment Opportunities
Admittedly, months of deployment can get dull, especially when you are assigned to a base in a less-than-interesting corner of the world. Fortunately, the same American urge that provides military discounts also brings active-duty members extraordinary entertainment.
Aside from the on-base movie theaters, bowling alleys, parks, and gyms, service members gain access to Armed Forces Entertainment, which produces more than 1,200 shows every year at more than 270 bases around the world. Only in the military can you enjoy a private musical performance, comedy show, or celebrity meet-and-greet without spending a dime.
6. Job Training
Training employees is difficult and expensive, which is precisely why many companies always opt for job applicants with prior experience. As a result, most job hunters fresh from college have serious trouble securing a position that pays, as most are untrained and unprepared for the working life.
However, the military takes the opposite stance. Every member of the military is trained not only with a specific hard skill – medicine, computer science, aircraft maintenance – but also with the soft skills necessary to be successful at any job. True training is becoming increasingly rare in the real world, which makes the military’s invested training time especially valuable.
BIO: Tiffany Rowe is a marketing administrator who assists in contributing resourceful content throughout the world wide web. Tiffany prides herself in her ability to provide high quality content that readers will find valuable. She often enjoys photography, researching new trends and D.I.Y crafting.