Tip #2: Take Advantage of a Roth IRA
As Fourth of July fireworks still ring in our ears, we wanted to share a great article from Winnie Sun at Forbes, detailing financial planning tips for US veterans.
Independence Day is not only a celebration of our nation’s birth, it’s also a day to honor and appreciate the men and women of our country’s military. These tips will allow military members to take control of their financial future and feel empowered.
Tip #1: Use Your Education Benefits Wisely
Tip #2: Take Advantage of a Roth IRA
A Roth IRA can be particularly beneficial if you’re receiving tax-free combat-zone pay. All contributions are tax-free. Withdrawals from the account may be tax-free, as long as they are considered qualified. (Limitations and restrictions may apply. Future tax laws can change at any time and may impact the benefits of Roth IRAs. Their tax treatment may change.) Speak to a financial professional to see if this option is right for you!
Tip #3: Maximize Your Tax Benefits through Residency
Your state of residence can have a big impact on your taxes. Active-duty military personnel areallowed to maintain legal residence in one state even if they are transferred to another state. If you live in a tax-free state (such as Florida or Texas) and later move to a state where you’d be required to pay state income tax, this can make a huge impact.
Tip #4: Discover Your Low-Cost Investment Options
Military service members can benefit greatly from using the Thrift Savings Plan. One of the lowest-cost retirement savings plans available, it lets you either choose one of five index mutual funds or opt to set a target date fund instead. Your contributions to the plan reduce your taxable income. In 2016, you can contribute up to $18,000 to the Thrift Savings Plan, and if you’re deployed and receiving tax-free income, you can contribute up to $53,000. Deployed personnel are eligible for the military’s Savings Deposit Program, which allows them to invest up to $10,000 for each deployment. The program lasts for three months following deployment. Members receive 10% annual interest which is compounded quarterly. Restrictions may apply as to the liquidity of this account while it is in use. Please consult with your benefits coordinator prior to selecting this option.
Tip #5: Understand Tools for Debt Relief
According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority , military service members typically have more credit cards and more costly spending behaviors than civilians. A 2015 Debt.org survey of military families found that they were an average of $13,700 in debt, and much of this was credit card debt. Yet, military members have some unique programs and rights that can help ease this debt.
For starters, the Service Member’s Civil Relief Act places a cap on the interest rates for any loans that you took out prior to active service. Unlikecivilians, military members are allowed to terminate a house or apartment rental agreement if they have been permanently moved to a new station or will temporarily be assigned to a new base for 90 days or more.
Tip #6: Simplify Your Home-Buying Experience
One of the best benefits offered to military members is the Veteran’s Administration home-loan program. Loan rates are competitive, and the VA guarantees up to 25% of the payment on the loan, making it virtually one of the only ways available to get a home with no down payment and no private mortgage insurance.
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