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Get those Bennies – Top 5 Benefits of Joining the Reserves

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Community Support
April 1, 2024
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Joining the military reserves offers a unique blend of opportunities, challenges, and rewards, providing individuals with experiences that can benefit them both personally and professionally. While service in the reserves requires dedication and a commitment to one’s country, the advantages can be significant and far-reaching. Important to keep in mind is that reserve units can be called up in the event of an emergency, so this is not a path to choose lightly. Here are five of the best benefits of joining the military reserves.

Educational Benefits

One of the most common statements you hear when you ask someone in the military why they joined is the access to educational benefits. Members can receive tuition assistance for higher education, which covers a certain monetary amount each year for undergraduate and graduate degrees, certifications, and technical training. Either during your service or after, programs like the Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve and the Post-9/11 GI Bill are designed to help reservists cover tuition and fees, making higher education more accessible. These benefits not only aid in personal development but also enhance career prospects both inside and out of the military. Given the ridiculous cost of a college degree these days it’s a major consideration.

Skills Training and Professional Development

The military reserves offer extensive training in a variety of skills and professions, from technical fields like engineering and cybersecurity to leadership and tactical operations. This training is invaluable, providing reservists with the competencies and experience that are highly sought after in the civilian job market. Moreover, the discipline, leadership skills, and work ethic instilled through military training are universally respected qualities that can propel one's career forward in any field. Given the current reduced tempo of operations compared to a few years ago, the opportunity to take advantage of courses and certifications unique to the military that could build up your resume is there for anyone who wants it.

Health and Insurance Benefits

Reservists and their families gain access to comprehensive health care and life insurance benefits. The Tricare Reserve Select program offers affordable health insurance coverage, while the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) provides life insurance policies at competitive rates. These benefits are significant, ensuring that reservists and their families are protected and have access to quality medical care. Many veterans have a love – hate relationship with military medicine, we don’t deny that access to the base hospital or Tricare was a massive relief when your kids started chunky coughing.

Retirement Benefits

Although serving in the reserves does not accrue time as quickly as active duty does towards retirement, reservists are still eligible for a military retirement pension. This pension is based on a points system, where active duty, training, and other service contributions count towards retirement benefits. Additionally, reservists can contribute to a Thrift Savings Plan, a tax-advantaged retirement savings account, further securing their financial future. The TSP is government controlled, but the rate of return is steady and safe.

Community and Camaraderie

Joining the military reserves fosters a sense of belonging to a community that shares a common purpose and values. You may not forge the bonds that active-duty personnel can, (mostly through trauma), but creating lifelong friendships and a support network that extends beyond military service is certainly on the table. This social aspect can provide emotional support, professional networking opportunities, and a sense of identity and pride that enriches one's life.

The decision to join the military reserves is a significant one, with profound implications for one’s personal and professional growth. Don’t go into it blind, as you could still find yourself deployed and in a dangerous situation but understand that with the risk comes a not insubstantial reward.

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