2020 Grads Serving Pays More

This year’s high school grads are entering the most uncertain landscape since the class of 2009 and within an even more unpredictable world. For those still trying to figure out what’s next I wanted to revisit a story I put together pre-pandemic that might be a bit more relevant today. Due to the pandemic, military recruitment levels are well below goals meaning there are lots of opportunities and potentially lots of rewarding opportunities to serve your country and to be served well by your experience on the other end. 

There’s a certain amount of injustice we’ve been conditioned to expect or embrace in our society. Some reasons are political, others are perceived. Regardless, the idea that our veterans get the short end of the stick is one that’s shared by many. From the perspective of one who’s grateful for the sacrifices and service of our veterans, I've got good news. It pays to serve. In fact, it pays more than not serving. 

According to a study by the Pew Research Center, veterans earn more than those who’ve never served on average. The Median household income of veterans at the end of 2017 was $88,700. That’s $12,600, or 14.2%, more than non-veteran households. In context, it makes sense. Most military jobs don’t pay especially well, however, the education and skills obtained through service often translate extremely well in civilian life. It’s not new or a secret than those with the highest level of education and skills generally lead to the highest incomes. And it’s across the board. 

All veteran households earn more in general, but most noteworthy-the biggest difference in household incomes is with Black and Hispanic veteran households. The average household with a black veteran as head of household earns an average of $27,100 more than non-veteran households. The difference is a remarkable $30,800 for Hispanic veteran households. If you’re a parent with a child who’s on the fence about serving and/or might lack direction heading towards college. There’s ample evidence that serving will likely pay off in addition to being honorable.

Photo by: Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

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