No matter your situation or what stage you’re at in your military career, it’s important to make saving and investing decisions that can support your long-term financial security.
Fortunately, best practices of money management can go a long way toward creating a solid financial future for you. The Canadian Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Canada also provide resources to help service members save, invest and build wealth.
On this page you’ll find
What are the most important ways to manage your finances?
Try these financial tips to help you manage your money, save for retirement and access benefits:
Create a budget. A monthly budget is simply a tool that compares your income and expenses. A budget can help you stay on top of your bills, figure out how much you have available to save, and avoid overspending. Learn more about how to create a budget
- Keep up to date on financial programs for military service members. Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) offers a variety of financial programs and services — including access financial planning assistance — for current or former members of the CAF or RCMP, or a family member. There are also numerous income support benefits available for veterans and survivors. As a service member you may qualify for a Canadian Armed Forces pension, depending upon your length of service.
- Tackle your debt. If you’re carrying a large debt load each month, it might be time to put a plan into action to pay it off. Start by figuring out how much you owe, and how much you can budget each month towards paying it off. If it’s more than you can handle on your own, there are professionals who can help you get there. Learn more about paying down debt.
- Make a financial plan. A financial plan defines your short- and long-term financial goals and how you can reach them. A financial plan can help you:
- Prioritize your goals.
- Determine an investment strategy.
- Provide peace of mind about your future.
Learn more about making a plan to reach your goals.
- Tackle your retirement plan. Your retirement plan should take into account your expected income sources in retirement as well as how much you’ll expect to live on each month as a retiree. As a veteran, even if you have a Canadian Armed Forces pension plan, there are other ways to add to your retirement savings. This includes a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) or a Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA). Learn more about how to plan your income sources in retirement.
- Know what else you’re saving for. It’s a good idea to have a short-term savings goal or two, as well as longer-term goals (like retirement planning or saving for a home). Consider also putting aside money for an emergency fund and for vacations.
You can also take advantage of financial services and advice offered by SISIP Financial, a division of the Canadian Armed Forces. SISIP is located at major bases, wings or units across the country. Their advisors understand the realities of military life and can recommend financial solutions to meet your needs.
They provide assistance with:
- Financial counselling
- Savings and budgeting
- Financial planning
What financial support programs are available to Canadian veterans?
Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) offers a variety of programs and services that can help ensure financial health and security for you and your family throughout your military career and as a veteran.
VAC financial programs that can assist you, and your family, include:
- Compensation for service-related illness or injury.
- Monthly payments to support your income.
- Assistance to pay for medical costs.
- Emergency funding during a financial crisis.
- Death and bereavement benefits.
- Compensation for former prisoners of war.
VAC also offers financial advice when managing a lump-sum payment, and a Veteran Family Program for transitioning to post-military life. Learn more about the financial planning offered by Veteran Affairs Canada.
What pension benefits are available for Canadian veterans?
As a veteran you may be eligible for specific pension and benefits plans.
- VAC Pension for Life – This program is a combination of benefits that provide recognition, income support, and stability to members and veterans who experience a service-related illness or injury. It includes:
- Tax-free disability benefits for pain and suffering.
- Taxable Income Replacement Benefits to compensate for income loss if you’re in rehabilitation.
- Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) pensions – CAF pension plans are provided for active or retired members and survivors of deceased plan members. The pension benefit you may receive depends on the type of plan you are in and on your years of pensionable service.
What else should military service members consider when moving to civilian life?
There is a lot to consider when leaving the military. The first step in helping you get ready to leave the military is your transition interview with Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC). The interview identifies the programs and services to help meet your needs as a civilian. You’ll find out how to apply for VAC programs, including disability benefits, plus receive financial advice for managing lump-sum payments if required. Learn more about the transition interview.
If you already have a financial plan, update it as necessary to ensure it reflects your changing circumstances and new goals for civilian life. Include goals for saving, investing, and paying down debt.
Talking to a financial planner can help. Find out more about working with a financial planner.
For additional support, you can connect with SISIP Financial. It’s a division of the Canadian Armed Forces Personnel and Family Support Services. It provides financial planning advice, investment and insurance for serving and former members of the Canadian military.
Always check the registration of any person or business trying to sell you an investment or give you investment advice. Registration helps protect you from unqualified or fraudulent individuals.
Whatever stage you’re at in your military career, it’s important to make prudent saving and investing decisions to ensure your long-term financial security. Keep these tips in mind:
- Managing your money is an important, including budgeting, saving, and paying down debt.
- If you don’t have a financial plan, now is a good time to set some financial goals and a plan to achieve them.
- Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) pensions are provided for active or retired members and survivors of deceased plan members.
- Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) offers pension benefits and financial programs to help you plan.