by Scott R. Tucker

September 4, 2019

avoid taxes on military retirement

What percentage is military retirement taxed?

The percentage of taxes on military retirement pay depends on a number of factors.  You must consider your federal and state tax rates that are derived from your fixed income. If you take a new job after the military while receiving your pension ALL of your income is fixed and taxable.  This can significantly increase the percentage of of taxes on military retirement pensions. 

Is military retirement pay federally taxed?

Yes, all military retirement pay is federally taxed at the individual's personal income tax rate. However, depending how mow much disability one receives from the Veterans Administration a portion of their income will become federally tax free.    

Why is my military pension taxed?

The honest truth... no one knows! The DOD is funded by the American tax-payers, so all pay and benefits going to military and veterans is coming from after tax dollars. When they they tax that money again, it not only takes more from the individuals family's financial situation, its also a double taxation on the initial dollar that was earned by the tax-payer... This is an overlooked aspect of taxes on military retirement.

Calculate your military retirement pay.

Your Biggest Lifetime Expense: Taxes on Military Retirement

There is one major problem that everybody ignores, yet I think that this is the greatest cost over any individual’s lifetime and the greatest risk to the American people and the American way of life: taxes. I encourage you to understand the true history of the tax code in America, where it comes from, why it’s there, and how it’s hurting the American people. It’s not about taxing the rich versus taxing the poor — that’s just political fear-mongering in the media.

The reality is that taxes are taking from one person against their will and giving it to another. Personally, I’d rather make that choice myself and call it charity. But by constitutional law, the government can now come at you with guns and take your money from you just because they think somebody else should have it. It’s wrong and it’s immoral. Unfortunately, we have to deal with it for the time being.

What the majority is unaware of, though, is that all the increases in healthcare have caused two problems that will increase taxes on military retirement. The first is that the older, aging population — the non-working, non-producing population — is living longer. They’re not dying when the government thought they were going to die when they implemented these plans like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. The reason the corporate pension system doesn’t work anymore is that companies couldn’t afford it. People weren’t dying, and they had to keep paying them.

They ran out of money and then went bankrupt. The government had to pick up that bill. So they invented the 401(k) system, because they’re thinking, “Aha! If we get people to not pay taxes now, we’ll get them to save for 20-30 years. When they have much more money, then there’s all our tax revenue later on.” Don’t you see what they did there? Some kind of “retirement planning,” it’s not a benefit to put money into a retirement account. It’s a place to leave it until the government gets our taxes later. That’s why it’s called tax-deferred.

Military Retirement Taxes: Living Longer is Costly

The second problem is that this same old age group is causing Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare costs to go up, so Social Security costs go up. These things are unfunded liabilities; there isn’t a big pot of money in the government that’s funding these things. No, they’re bringing that money in from the taxpayers. So if the older population is living longer, then we’re having to fund these benefits real-time with current tax dollars from the younger, working population.

But we’re not having as many babies anymore as we used to, so the older, aging population is getting bigger and the younger, working population is getting smaller. This is a major demographic problem, and nobody’s addressing it, we’re just kicking the can down the road. So if all your money is in accounts that are taxable at some point, the government is eventually going to have to raise taxes. There was a time in history when the tax bracket was at 90%.

As a veteran myself, I have no problem giving and being charitable to others, but I’m not going to do it at the force of Uncle Sam. Veterans didn’t sign up to serve the government, we signed up to serve our country. If veterans know there’s a better way to be a steward of their money, then they can choose how they create wealth and abundance, probably create more jobs, and be able to give more to charity versus paying taxes to a government that is going to inefficiently filter it off to pay for programs and rising health care health costs and social security benefits that are poorly managed.

Our current situation cannot last, and veterans shouldn’t be the ones passing it on to future generations. We can change this and avoid taxes on military retirement, but it’s up to us because we’re the only ones that understand true teamwork, and community, and can communicate and continue to lead. Remember, we were also paid by taxpayers to serve. Therefore, veterans have a unique opportunity to be better stewards of those tax dollars and not just get stuck in the same trap.

There are many limitations to traditional financial products if veterans want more than a standard retirement and the inevitable last-minute planning for  their transition out of the military. And they can’t just leave money in the bank or under the mattress because of inflation. That money will lose value because the cost of goods goes up. We all know that a house costs a lot more money than it did 10 to 20 years ago — that’s inflation. Cars cost more, gas costs more, food costs more, everything costs more. If veterans are not growing their assets, they risk literally running out of money because they can’t afford things anymore. That’s not creating wealth. That’s having a poverty mindset. And veterans deserve more than to live paycheck to paycheck.

Diversify Your Tax Basket

Unfortunately, the financial industry makes so much damn money, they don’t bother to innovate. Financial advisers continue to churn clients through the old products and solutions, managing money and talking about accumulating assets. “I can beat your stock returns.” Or as a tip on retirement saving, “use retirement saving vehicles first.” Sure, there’s nothing wrong with putting some money in retirement savings vehicles, but if that’s the only place you’re putting money, then you’re putting all your eggs in one basket. Veterans deserve more than the standard retirement. It’s time to diversify so that you can avoid taxes on military retirement. 

Fortunately, there are other options for military service-people. Just like Tesla and Netflix are changing the way we’re driving cars and watching movies, the financial industry has created new vehicles in which Americans can invest money.  

If you want to learn how to avoid military retirement taxes schedule a FREE Discovery call with an expert guide today!


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About the author 

Scott R. Tucker

Scott R. Tucker is an author, speaker and the founder of US VetWealth, a lifestyle and financial consulting brand that helps service members go from paychecks and government benefits to wealth and liberty. He likes to say, "I Help The 1% Who Serve Our Country Become The 1% Who Influence It." A West Point graduate, serial world traveler, military financial expert, and entrepreneur, Scott brings valuable experience and insight to those who have sacrificed so much in service to our country.

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