The Air Force retirement plan is arguably the best retirement deal around. Airmen are eligible to retire after 20 years of service with the Air Force and begin receiving benefits the day they retire — no matter their age.

The Air Force retirement plan requires no payroll deductions. If you’d like to save a little extra each month, all Airmen are also eligible for the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), which allows participants to place a portion of their monthly pay into an account similar to a 401(k) investment plan.

TSP contributions are considered pretax dollars and therefore reduce the amount of income subject to tax, and the accounts grow tax-free. Enrollment is available when members first join the military and anytime thereafter. Unlike traditional military retirement, which requires a commitment of at least 20 years of active duty, money invested in the TSP belongs to individual members, no matter how many years they serve. Income contributed to the TSP is not taxed until withdrawn from the account. Withdrawal before age 59-1/2 may be subject to penalty; however, the TSP account can be rolled over into an IRA or another employer’s retirement account.