After the TSP, I invest my money in Betterment and Vanguard. I track all of my investments with Personal Capital. I also wrote a short, 2 hour book summarizing this site. You can buy it here.
Short answer: $0.
Long answer: Depends on where you live. Getting married is a huge commitment and not something you want to do merely for the financial benefits. The military divorce rate has been historically higher than the civilian divorce rate, so make sure you’re getting into it for the right reasons. So with that disclaimer, note the following:
- Your basic pay is not affected by whether your married or have kids
- The only pay you receive that is affected by marriage or having kids (both classified as dependents by the DoD) is your Basic Allowance for Housing, or BAH
If he’s not married, he receives $960 per month in BAH (tax free too, another benefit of military service). However, if he has any dependents (either a kid or he’s married) then he receives $1281 per month. And that’s it. A $321 difference in pay between married and unmarried military members. Now, there are also tax benefits as well, but we’ll ignore those for now.
2 Websites I Use to Achieve Financial Independence Faster
I have investment accounts all over the place. To keep track of all of them in one place I use Personal Capital. It combines all of my accounts, shows me where I may be overpaying in fees, and provides beautiful charts showing my overall asset allocation and performance.
I use Personal Capital to track my Roth and Traditional TSP, Vanguard IRAs, banking accounts, SDP, and my Betterment taxable account, all in one place. It's free, secure and presents me with a one-stop dashboard so I can see all my money on one site.
Read my full review of Personal Capital and see how easy it can be to manage your investments in one place. Trust me, once you try it, you'll love it.
P.S. - If you have over $100,000 of assets and a 401k, you really need to run the Personal Capital 401k Fee Analyzer.
The best way I know to achieve financial independence is to keep your investments simple, diversified, automatic, and low-cost. Costs eat into your returns like you wouldn't believe! A 1% difference in expense ratios can mean $100,000s lost to fees over a lifetime of investing.
Even if you're a DIY (do-it-yourself) investor like I am, you need to check out Betterment. You can read my full review here, but the bottom line is for only $250 per $100,000 invested (0.25% expense ratio) you get simple, diversified, and automated investing. In addition every account now gets free Tax Loss Harvesting+ features, which should increase returns for the average investor more than the minuscule management fee.
If you're not a DIY investor or are just getting started with investing, then you definitely need to check out Betterment. It's what I recommend to my family and friends who aren't strong investors or don't care to learn about asset allocations, diversification, or rebalancing.