As part of our mission, our educators provide briefs to active duty servicemembers, veterans, and their families on matters of military finances and benefits at no cost and with no obligation. Each year, we reach over 20,000 uniformed personnel, veterans, and their families, tailoring presentations to each audience’s needs and background. Our audiences are composed of servicemembers attending Transition Assistance Programs, retirement briefs, Command Financial Specialist programs, and other financial education classes. We also provide financial training to ROTC cadets, officer candidate schools, and senior enlisted academies.
Our highly trained and certified experts discuss topics ranging from the Survivor Benefit Plan and the Thrift Savings Plan to casualty assistance, savings, estate planning, life insurance, and more. Written information can be found in the Navy Mutual Learning Center and presentations are available upon request. Through our Chart Your Path program, we also provide 1:1 counseling sessions to servicemembers and their families.
Finances for the Military Community
Navy Mutual can help servicemembers, veterans, and their families navigate finances and financial decisions throughout their personal financial lifecycles, from early on during their military service through periods of transition and into retirement.
Chart Your Path
Through our Chart Your Path program, our team of accredited financial counselors (AFC®) provide customized one-on-one counseling sessions to help you “Chart Your Path” towards financial success. We will help you set up a spending plan, explain how to utilize military benefits, prepare you financially for your transition from the service, explain the Thrift Savings Plan, and discuss other topics to help you navigate a clear path to your financial success.
Our team supports the DOD Finances and Transition curriculum that is offered as part of mandated Transition Assistance Programs. We also offer opportunities for individuals to make appointments for 1:1 counseling sessions with accredited financial counselors regarding personal finance and their transition from the military.
Finances for Leadership
We recognize the importance that personal financial fitness has on mission readiness. That’s why we offer a Finances for Leadership series to help military leaders accomplish their own personal finance goals and provide them the tools to empower those they lead to have personal financial success. We offer classes and 1:1 counseling on a variety of subjects including TSP, credit management, homebuying, retirement planning, car buying, and more.
There are many financial benefits and entitlements that may be available as a result of service. Our financial counselors can help you understand the financial benefits available during deployment, PCS, and promotion, and help you take advantage of military perks including the Savings Deposit Program, VA Home Loan Entitlement, Tax Residency Status, and more.
Life Insurance for Active Duty Servicemembers
Upon entering the military, all servicemembers are give an affordable, set-it-and-forget-it life insurance policy. While this can provide peace of mind for military families, each individual should consider whether this coverage alone is enough to meet their needs.
Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance
Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) is provided to all servicemembers when they join the military. It is supervised by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and administered by the Prudential Insurance Company of America. SGLI is open to all active members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Space Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard; commissioned members of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Public Health Service; and cadets and midshipmen at U.S. military academies. Members of the Ready Reserve or National Guard assigned to a unit and scheduled to perform at least 12 periods of inactive training per year and those who volunteer in an Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) mobilization category are also eligible. Reservists in non-pay status may be eligible for coverage.
SGLI offers up to $500,000 in coverage to all active duty servicemembers. It is paid for through a monthly pay deduction of $3 per $50,000 of coverage — with full coverage costing $30 per month. Coverage is paid for through an automatic monthly deduction from a servicemember’s military pay. Servicemembers are covered for the same cost regardless of their health status and there is no need to any servicemember to undergo medical underwriting.
Read more: How Does Military Life Insurance Work?
Traumatic Injury Protection
All servicemembers with SGLI coverage are automatically given Traumatic Injury Protection (TSGLI), which provides up to $100,000 in short-term financial support to servicemembers who receive a severe injury (including the loss of limbs). This costs an additional $1 per month on top of the cost of SGLI. Servicemembers who decline SGLI are not eligible for TSGLI. TSGLI coverages ends upon the servicemember’s separation.
Family Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance
The SGLI program also offers life insurance coverage for family members under the Family SGLI program (FSGLI). Spouses of active duty, National Guard, and Reserve servicemembers who have SGLI are eligible for coverage of up to $100,000 with premium prices that are determined by their coverage amount and their age, and increase in five-year increments after the spouse reaches age 35.. Children are offered $10,000 of coverage (until age 18) at no cost. To maintain coverage after age 18, a child must be a full-time student or permanently and totally disabled without the ability to support themselves.
FSGLI coverage is automatic for civilian spouses; military spouses who were married on or after January 2, 2013 must opt in to receive FSGLI coverage. Family SGLI expires 120 days after
servicemembers separate from the military.
Read more: Understanding Family SGLI: Is It Enough?
Life Insurance for Veterans
Veterans who had SGLI while on active duty have additional life insurance options after they leave active duty service. A veteran can choose to convert their SGLI policy to a commercial whole life policy through select companies, or they can elect to participate in Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI). Neither of these options require any medical underwriting if obtained within specific time periods after leaving active duty. Veterans also have access to the VALife, a whole life product, if they have a disability rating.
Veterans' Group Life Insurance
When a servicemember separates from active duty service, Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) becomes available (provided they were covered by SGLI while on active duty). VGLI is a term life insurance policy that provides up to $500,000 of coverage to veterans after they have separated from the military. The one caveat to coverage is that veterans must apply for VGLI within one year and 120 days of leaving the military. After this period of time passes, veterans are no longer eligible for coverage.
If a veteran applies for VGLI within 240 days of separation or retirement, no proof of insurability or medical underwriting is required. Veterans who apply between 240 days and one year and 120 days of separation may be required to undergo a medical exam, their health status will be taken into consideration, and they may not be approved.
Veterans are initially eligible for VGLI coverage in an amount equivalent to their SGLI coverage while in the service. Every five years, however, veterans can increase their coverage amount by $25,000 – up to the $500,000 limit. Veterans cannot increase their coverage after they reach age 60.
Premiums increase every five years, and they depend on both the age of the veteran and the amount of coverage elected. For this reason, costs vary dramatically over time. Because no medical exam is required, premiums may be higher than those offered by a commercial insurer to a healthy individual.
VALife is permanent life insurance offered to all veterans under 80 years old who have a disability rating between 0% and 100%. It provides up to $40,000 (in increments of $10,000) of guaranteed whole life insurance coverage to all eligible veterans who enroll, with no proof of good health required. Coverage becomes effective two years after enrollment and lasts for the duration of a veteran’s life.
If a veteran passes away within two years of enrolling in VALife, the guaranteed payout to their beneficiary consists of the amount they have paid into VALife in premiums plus interest. If a veteran passes away more than two years after enrolling in VALife, their beneficiary will receive the full coverage amount.
Premiums are based on the veteran’s age at the time of their application and the coverage amount chosen. While premium rates will never increase over the life of the policy, premiums are paid for the duration of the veteran’s life.
Note that VALife is a replacement for Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance (S-DVI). Prior to January 1, 2023, veterans with a service-connected disability could apply for S-DVI from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. S-DVI policies were issued for a maximum face amount of $10,000. For those determined to be totally disabled, premiums could be waived and the veteran could be eligible for a supplemental policy of up to $30,000. Premiums for the supplemental policy could not be waived. If a veteran was previously enrolled in S-DVI and wants to switch their coverage to VALife, they are eligible to do so and can maintain their S-DVI coverage for the two years it takes VALife coverage to become effective. No new applications for S-DVI are being accepted
Read more: Veterans Affairs Life Insurance
Thrift Savings Plan
The Thrift Savings Plan, or TSP, is a defined-contribution retirement plan that is accessible only to federal employees and members of the uniformed services. It is the government equivalent of a civilian employer’s 401(k) plan. Those who joined the uniformed services on or after January 1, 2018, or opted in to the Blended Retirement System between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018 were automatically enrolled in TSP after 60 days of service. Those who are not covered by the Blended Retirement System must make a contribution to TSP through payroll to establish an account.
Types of TSP Accounts
- Contributions are not taxed at the time of deposit.
- Contributions and earnings are taxed as ordinary income at the time of withdrawal.
- Contributions are taxed at the time of deposit.
- Contributions and earnings are not taxed at the time of withdrawal.
Servicemembers in a Combat Zone Tax Exclusion area or a Direct Support Area will find that any money contributed to TSP – regardless of whether the account is traditional or Roth – is invested tax-free during any month or partial month in which they are deployed. Contributions to traditional TSP accounts will be tax-free when at the time of withdrawal, though taxes will be due on any earnings. Withdrawal of Roth contributions made in a combat zone or Direct Support Area and any associated earnings will remain tax-free.
Servicemembers can contribute any amount up to the annual limit set by the IRS − in 2023, it is $22,500. The IRS contribution limit for TSP increases when in a Combat Zone or a Direct Support Area. In 2023, the annual limit is $66,000. Up to $22,500 may be deposited into a Roth TSP; the remaining contributions must be categorized as traditional.
Further, the government allows for automatic and matching contributions:
- Automatic Contributions: Blended Retirement System members will receive an automatic contribution of 1% of their basic pay each pay period from their agency. This starts after 60 days of entering the service.
- Matching Contributions: Blended Retirement System members will receive matching contributions (up to 4%) from their agency after completing two years of service.
TSP offers five core funds (G, F, C, S, and I) to choose from. Each fund offers a different investment strategy and type of investment, as well as varying levels of risk and anticipated return. For example, the G Fund has a low risk level, but correspondingly lower potential returns on your investment. The S Fund offers the potential for much higher return, but is associated with a correspondingly higher level of risk.
- G Fund: This is a short-term fund with the most modest potential for gain. However, the payment of G Fund principal and interest is guaranteed by the U.S. government, meaning that the U.S. government will always make the required payments, effectively eliminating investors’ risk of loss.
- F Fund: F Fund investors are rewarded with the opportunity to earn higher rates of return over the long term than they would receive from investments in short-term securities such as the G Fund.
- C Fund: C Fund investors are provided with the opportunity to experience gains from equity ownership in large and mid-sized U.S. company stocks.
- S Fund: S Fund investors are given the opportunity to experience gains from equity ownership in small-to-mid-sized U.S. companies.
- I Fund: I Fund investors receive the opportunity to experience gains from equity ownership in non-U.S. companies.
Lifecycle funds (L funds) are a mix of the five core funds and offer professional management based on a servicemember’s “target date” – or when they plan to use the money. They are designed to maximize return while reducing the amount of risk based on the target date, so the mix of investments trends less risky as your target date approaches. The portfolio is readjusted every three months.
A veteran must be at least 59 ½ years old, be retirement eligible, and have left the service to receive payments. Payments can be made in four different ways:
- Fixed-Dollar Installments: Choose an amount (at least $25) to receive in each monthly, quarterly, or annual payment. Payments will continue until the account balance reaches zero.
- Life Expectancy Installments: TSP will compute payment amount based on payment frequency and life expectancy. The initial payment amount is based on age and account balance.
- Single Withdrawal: TSP will process one payment of at least $1,000 in a 30-day period.
- Annuity: TSP will purchase an annuity with money from the account (at least $3,500). Monthly payments last for life.
Navy Mutual’s Education and Veterans Services team can help servicemembers, veterans, and their families with matters related to financial education, veterans services, and survivor benefits.
Navy Mutual Aid Association’s Department of Education and Veteran Services does not endorse or favor any commercial financial product or service or promote the services of any specific financial institution. Further, Navy Mutual Aid Association and its accredited VSO Representatives do not charge or accept a fee or gratuity for representation services rendered to claimants before the Department of Veterans Affairs. 38 C.F.R. §14.628.