- I have been in the Air Force for seven years and in my senior year I was deployed in a combat zone.
- Implementations come with great financial benefits, including accessing a high-interest savings account.
- I have saved enough money to leave the military and start my own freelance business.
My family doesn’t come from money. Even though we are all (most of us, anyway) financially comfortable now, every penny has been earned. For my father, it meant spending long hours at his carpentry business. For me, it meant joining the military, pinching a few cents and earning a college degree.
I have been in the Air Force for a total of seven years. As an Arabic linguist, you spend a few years learning the job itself before going to your job post. Air Force linguists generally enjoy a fairly stable lifestyle; there aren’t many places to live and the vast majority of us don’t take sides.
But that’s a shame. I managed to get myself deployed during my senior year in the Air Force, and while it wasn’t easy, doing so helped me launch into the wild less than a year later.
Distribution can be a financial advantage
This is thanks to the many generous benefits that service members can receive during an implementation. Together with the exemption from federal income tax, those who are employed can take advantage of a unique high-interest savings account that achieves a maximum return of 10%.
And depending on where you are and what you are doing, you may also be entitled to additional types of pay, such as pay for dangerous duties, pay for hostile fires, and pay for imminent danger.
Finally, almost all of your expenses are paid by the government while you are deployed. They will feed and host you during this time, which can significantly reduce your expenses.
All in all, these incentives combine to create a very profitable environment for service members.
Obviously, everyone in the military has heard stories about 21-year-olds returning from the desert and immediately jumping into a brand new sports car, but I didn’t really understand the financial benefit I would receive as a result of my time abroad until I have experienced it.
4X points on all travel categories for PenFed Honors Advantage members, 3X points on all travel categories, 1.5X points on all other purchases
50,000 bonus points when you spend $ 3000 in the first 90 days of opening an account
$ 95 * Waiver for existing Honors Advantage members
2% refund on all purchases for PenFed Honors Advantage members, 1.5% refund on all purchases made with your card
$ 100 credit offer when you spend $ 1,500 in the first 90 days of opening your account
5 points on gas paid at the pump and electric vehicle charging stations, 3 points at the supermarket (including most Target and Walmart locations), restaurants and TV, radio, cable and streaming services, 1 point on all others shopping
15,000 bonus points when you spend $ 1,500 in the first 90 days of opening an account
A breakdown of your potential income and financial benefits during the distribution
Let’s say a sergeant major with six years of service receives orders for a one-year deployment. His base salary is $ 3,273.30 per month, and he is stationed in Fort Meade, Maryland, making his basic housing allowance (BAH) an additional $ 2,010 per month.
BAH is not taxable, so in general it is considering a tax rate of 12%, or around $ 390 per month. During the deployment, that $ 390 will go straight into his pocket, since he won’t have to pay federal income taxes.
He’s also heading for an impending danger zone, which means he’ll get an extra $ 225 on his paycheck.
And luckily for him, BAH also continues while he’s deployed, so even if he’s got rid of his apartment and put his things in storage, he’ll still get that $ 2,010 every month.
You can probably see how quickly this becomes profitable.
Of course, the icing on the cake is the Savings Deposit Program (SDP), which is only available to service members deployed in a combat zone and provides a 10% annual return on savings of up to $ 10,000.
There are a number of other restrictions to the SDP, including the condition that you cannot make withdrawals until you leave the combat zone. However, overall, it cannot be denied that SDP offers an incredible opportunity to save money and earn a great return.
I got everything I could out of the situation and immediately left the army to become a freelancer
My situation almost exactly mirrored what I outlined above: I was stationed in a combat zone and received pay for impending danger, maximized my SDP as quickly as possible, and had a lot of fun skipping federal taxes while I was away.
All of which is to say that my income increased dramatically during my deployment. And this is not limited to my situation. No matter who you are, whether you are enlisted or an officer, being deployed is a highly efficient way to save a lot of money.
Of course, the pay you will receive and the benefits that will be applied will differ depending on where you are, and there is danger in working in a combat zone, but my situation has allowed me to create a very large savings account for my inevitable departure from the army.
Until I screwed everything up on a new Dodge Charger.