3 Hobbies Veterans Can Parlay Into a Retirement Fund


Congress repealed its own cuts to military retirement benefits in February, eliminating the 1 percent reduction in annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) it voted for in December. The cuts, had they stood, would have cost service members who enlisted at age 18 and retired at 40 about $83,000 over 20 years, and retired officers about $124,000, according to the Military Officer Association of America.
Granted, Congress fixed what could have negatively affected millions of veterans, but the federal government cannot be relied upon to stick to its promises. Veterans can not only utilize skills learned in the military to supplement their retirement funds, but also turn a hobby into a money-making venture. Here are three ways to combine skill and recreation to earn a paycheck.

Firearms Assembly

The current White House Administration, along with the Senate, continue pushing gun control measures that aim to limit what types of firearms and magazines Americans can purchase. Connecticut’s new gun control law that took effect on January 1 requires all owners of assault rifles manufactured after 1994, and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition, to either register or surrender them to the state, according to infowars.com.

These new laws have created an opportunity for military veterans. Phase 1 of basic army training requires all new enlistees to strip and re-assemble their government-issued M16s in the first three weeks of the program. This skill can earn you extra money due to provisions in the Gun Control Act of 1968. Per said Act, no matter what state laws are passed, Americans can purchase parts kits for any firearm whether its legal in their state or not. Any unlicensed individual can make a firearm out of parts as long as its for personal use and is not sold for profit, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. One caveat, per 27 C.F.R. § 478.39, is that the firearm cannot contain more than 10 imported parts.
Gun collectors and aficionados are now holding gun building parties across the country as more people are buying parts and assembling their firearms themselves. But the people who are in the most demand at these parties and individually are those with expertise in stripping and re-assembling firearms. Build a cheap website advertising your skills and services. Some people may not want to go to a party, but want assistance assembling their firearms. Clearly state an hourly or flat rate, and use social media to market your services. You can even sharpen and expand your skills by taking online gunsmith courses through Penn Foster or some other school that offers it.
There are moral issues you may have to work through personally when it comes to helping others assemble guns, but this hobby could easily be turned into a money-making venture.

Auto Repair

Military mechanics who come home and tinker with cars and trucks can turn that hobby into a profitable enterprise. Mobile mechanics are especially in-demand due to everyone’s busy lifestyles. Offer services such as oil changes, tuneups and even brake replacement. Use a pickup truck or van for your vehicle and do the jobs in your customers’ work parking lots or at their homes. Customers will be more-than-willing to pay for this convenience.

Coin Collecting

The currency you bring home from your tour is fun to show off, and can be the start of a profitable collection. Invest in both a nice display case and a fireproof/waterproof safe to store your coins. Use any paper currency you bring home to purchase silver and gold coins that will hold and even increase in value much better than their paper counterparts.
If you don’t know where to start, buy bags of junk silver coins. All quarters and dimes minted in the U.S. prior to 1964 contain 90 percent silver, thus are considered bullion. Buy now and wait for the price of silver to go up to reap the profits or re-invest in other coins.

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