FAMILY & FINANCES
VA HOME LOAN
Active Duty Military members are eligible after 90 days of continuous service. Reserve and National Guard are eligible after 6 years of service. After this time you earn your Certificate of Eligibility (COE).
The basic entitlement is 25 percent of the mortgage amount up to $36,000 (the amount the government will guarantee in the event you default). In general lenders will lend up to 4x the entitlement ($144K).
Because most homes today cost more than $144K — the 2018 median home price was $315,000 —VA also provides bonus or second-tier entitlement. The bonus entitlement is based on the Federal Housing Finance Agency conforming loan limit, which in 2019 is $484,350 and in some high-priced housing markets is increased to 150 percent of the base limit ($726,525 for 2019).
TOP 5 RESOURCES
Veterans only make up 7% of the population, but 14% of all small business owners. Military services teaches members resourcefulness and grit, which is why veteran small business owners have a higher chance of success. We picked out our top 5 favorite resources to help military members and spouses kick-start their dream in being their own boss and owning their own business:
SBA Boots to Business & VTOCs
VetFran: Franchise Opportunities for Veterans
Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV) Program
CAREER INTERMISSION PROGRAM
AD service members have the opportunity to take 1-3 years off to raise a family, take a sabbatical, or pursue an educational opportunity while retaining medical benefits, 1/15th pay, and the ability to come right back to Active Duty.
You must apply during designated application windows specific to your branch and not everyone gets approved. Typically, your incurred commitment is twice of what you took out (12 months out = 24 months committed upon your return.
COMMERCIAL PRODUCT DISCOUNTS
Many national and local businesses show their appreciation for Active Duty military by generously offering discounts on their products. Unfortunately, many businesses don't market such opportunities and so they are left to word of mouth or the member asking directly at the point of sale if a discount exists. Our growing article breaks down various commercial discounts by major category such as Clothing, Electronics, Home, Restaurants, and more.
The Breakdown coming soon...
CREDIT CARDS 101
Credit cards can offer more security than debit cards and are a great way to garner passive income. Active Duty Military members are offered exceptional credit card benefits such as waived annual fees and lower interest rates thanks to the Service Member's Civil Relief Act (SCRA) and the Military Lending Act (MLA). Before getting into the credit cards points game ensure that you can pay off your statement every month as not to accrue interest charges. Our top 2 recommended cards are the Chase Saphire Reserve and Amex Platinum cards due to the numerous benefits included. If you do not want to pay the yearly fee after active duty ends ensure to ask about a product change (downgrade) to a card with no yearly fee.
CAREER STARTER LOAN
USAA provides a low interest (.5%-2.99%) starter loan for Academy ($35K), ROTC ($25K), and Officer Training Candidates ($25K) to help with your personal expenses after graduation.
Navy Federal Credit Union provides a similar offer (1.25%) for Academy cadets ($32K).
These low interest loans are a great way to pay off higher interest debt such as credit cards or student loans, get rid of the clunker and get a reliable car, or kick-start your investment strategy.
TOP 5 PROGRAMS
Military service members aren’t the only ones who serve. Spouses, children, and other family members are all affected by military service. Here, we are outlining some of the most popular and most useful military family benefits that can make your life a little easier:
Military Parental Leave Program (MPLP)
Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP)
Join Spouse Assignments for Mil-to-Mil
Cost Reimbursement: Childcare & Spouse Licensure
High School Senior Assignment Deferral