Generally speaking, credit unions are less  

expensive than banks, in large part because 

they are not-for-profit institutions owned  


by their depositors.







Checking and savings accounts are essential 

tools in successful money management. 

By linking your savings to your checking 

account you can authorize automatic 

transfers of a percentage of your 

pay to build your savings balance. 

In addition, direct deposit of your 

paycheck or other benefits and 

electronic bill payment can save 

you time and money. 

You have a wide choice of federally insured 

credit unions and banks in civilian life, and you’ll 

want to compare those you’re considering on 

three criteria: cost, convenience, and service.  

The bottom line is that you want the most eco-

nomical provider that offers the services you 

need. In an online environment, remember that 

physical proximity isn’t always essential. 


Preparing your income tax returns may also be 

more complicated than you might expect. Among 

other things, if you were posted to a combat zone 

during the year before you left the military, you 

may have tax-exempt as well as taxable income 

that must be reported differently. You may also 

qualify for education tax credits, childcare  

credits, the earned income tax credit, and other 

tax breaks. 

If you’re receiving VA benefits, most of them, 

including education and training allowances, are 

not taxable. Severance pay and pension income 

may or may not be taxable, depending on a 

number of factors, including whether or not you 

are disabled. Check out IRS Publication 3 and 

Publication 525 and initially, at least, consult  

with a tax adviser who has experience working 

with veterans.


When you finish your active duty, some 

of the protections of the Servicemembers 

Civil Relief Act (SCRA), such as interest rate 

caps, eviction protection, and the ability  

to end car leases early may terminate, 

though others are extended for a time. 

If you’ve taken advantage of any SCRA 

provisions, you’ll want to find out when the 

protection ends and what your remaining 

obligations are to creditors, the courts, or 

other parties. You can begin by contacting 

an Armed Forces Legal Assistance Program 

office. You can find one that’s convenient 

for you at legalassistance.law.af.mil/ 


veterans HanDBOOK