This military lifestyle isn’t for everyone. Shoot, some days it isn’t for us!
But just like any career, it has it’s pros and it’s cons. Whether you’re looking into joining the military or just trying to feel better about this life, here are 8 pros of a military lifestyle.
1. Traveling / Living Overseas
The opportunity to live in other countries and to travel is probably Tom’s and my biggest pros of a military lifestyle.
The Air Force has made it possible for us to live in Japan for 3 years and now is sending us to live in England. (You can find more details on our England move here!)
Not only is it incredible living in different countries. But it allows us to travel to other countries close by for so much cheaper than if we were to fly from America.
Friends all over the world, yay!
Living overseas, we get to make friends from so many countries and cultures.
It’s a chance to learn new languages and just broaden your circle of friends.
That’s some killer networking right there!
2. VA Loan
I can’t say enough great things about the VA loan. I think it is one of the greatest assets the military gives it’s people.
The VA loan allows you to buy a home with 0% down and no PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance).
This loan has allowed us to acquire two homes and turn them into rental properties.
This is something that would have been extremely difficult to do without this benefit since you would have to come up with so much money up front for conventional loans (5% – 20% down).
VA loans are not allowed to be used for investment properties. However, loophole: If you live in the home for one year, you can then rent out your home and use your VA loan to get a second home that you plan on living in for at least a year.
According to the VA, right now the VA loan limit is $484,350. So, as long as your two homes are within this limit you can do what we did!
3. Life never gets stagnant
Nothing ever stays the same long enough for it to get boring, that’s for sure. For some this is a con and for some it’s a pro. I go back and forth with how I feel about it but today, it’s one of the pros of a military lifestyle.
Hey, I’m a woman, I’m allowed to change my mind.
If you don’t like where you live, don’t worry it will change soon.
Don’t like your job? Don’t worry it will change soon.
Annoyed with your husband? Don’t worry he’ll have to leave soon.
(…That last one was a joke. No-one harass me. lol)
But, it never fails. This life is ever changing and it’s not always a bad thing.
There’s almost a comfort in knowing some things aren’t permanent.
This level of comfort you reach, when it comes to change, is a good thing in my opinion.
You learn how to handle these regular changes and how to conform to new ways of life, new jobs, new people and new friends.
I feel like traveling and living with other cultures has made me a better person. A more understanding, empathetic and patient person.
Traveling is something I didn’t do when I was a child.
But Isaac, he has been everywhere and he is only 3. God only knows where he will go and what he will see by the time he leaves home. And I can only daydream about how much of a better person he will turn out to be than me because of that.
I am just happy to know he will have incredible life experiences before he even leaves home.
5. Early retirement
Tom has the opportunity to retire at the ripe age of 40… That’s madness compared to most careers.
Of course, I don’t know what we would do with ourselves after that, but I’m guessing the right answer is, whatever the heck we want.
We can have a better chance of having jobs we actually want to have because we love them and not because we have to do them.
6. GI Bill / TA (Tuition Assistance)
Another pro of a military lifestyle is free college!! Tom is about to finish his bachelors degree and he hasn’t even touched his GI Bill.
He has accomplished that through Tuition Assistance, which is only for Active Duty Military. This will allow him to free up his GI Bill for his masters degree.
I will be using my GI Bill starting in August and will be able to get BAH (housing allowance) from it. So many perks!
Another pro to the GI Bill, if you don’t use your benefit and you serve 10 years, you can pass it along to your child!
7. Your friends will become more like family
This is bitter sweet.
The likelihood of you being close to family is pretty slim. Therefore, the friends that you do make will quite literally become your family.
I’ve had friends meet my child before my family has (not their fault). We have had friends live with us for a few weeks and visa versa.
In this community, we all are in the same boat.
We are all far from family, no-one to celebrate birthdays with, Christmas and other holidays, no-one to go to when you need help with your child or need help getting a tv off the wall.
But that’s what brings out the best in this community. Everyone takes care of each other.
I see all the time people inviting new families into their homes for holidays. Or maybe someone just moved to the area and they don’t have any of their home goods, people will cook them every meal of the day, let complete strangers borrow the essentials, etc.
This military lifestyle can really bring out the best in this community.
You can find my tips for making friends in new cities here!
8. This military lifestyle makes my relationship with my husband stronger
I know the Air Force could tell him he has to go away without any notice.
I am aware of the 6 month, 9 month, and 1 year deployments…I watch friends go through it all of the time.
Although we thankfully haven’t had to endure that, I know it is only a matter a time.
This only makes me appreciate every day we have together that much more.
I know that one day, for a long time, I won’t have him around. It will just be Isaac and I, and I won’t have any control over it…
That knowledge is life changing.
It’s a reason to not argue over the little things. It’s why I wake up feeling blessed everyday.
Knowing this fact forces me to look at this person and realistically wonder what life would be like without them.
It makes you hug them a little tighter, kiss them every chance you get and snuggle a little longer even when you just want to stretch out in your bed at night.
Ugh…I dread the day.
The best decision we’ve ever made
Tom and I both joined the Air Force after high school (him a little after high school) and we both agree that we couldn’t have made a better choice.
This path will provide you with so many great opportunities, you just have to be smart about what you do with them.
Some of you will serve your first enlistment and get out. Others will make a career of it.
Whatever you choose, there is no wrong answer. I just hope you’re able to find the pros in this military lifestyle however long you have it.