4-Star General Retirement Pay: A Comprehensive Guide

Retiring from the military after decades of service is a major life transition. If you’re a 4-star general at the pinnacle of your career, you may be wondering what retirement benefits you can expect after you hang up the uniform.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Retired 4-star generals receive full pay and allowances, which can amount to over $15,000 per month depending on their time in service.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about 4-star general retirement pay, including details on compensation, allowances, healthcare benefits, and more. You’ll learn how pay is calculated based on your years of service, when you become eligible for retirement, and how your benefits compare to those of other senior officers.

Basic Eligibility for 4-Star General Retirement

Becoming a 4-star general in the military is a prestigious achievement that comes with a range of benefits, including retirement pay. However, not all military personnel are eligible for this level of retirement.

Here’s a comprehensive guide to the basic eligibility requirements for 4-star general retirement:

Minimum Years of Service

To be eligible for 4-star general retirement, individuals must have served in the military for a minimum number of years. The exact number of years varies depending on the branch of the military and the specific requirements set by each service.

Generally, a minimum of 30 years of active duty service is required to reach the rank of 4-star general.

For more detailed information on the specific requirements for each branch of the military, you can visit the official websites of the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, or U.S. Marine Corps.

Retirement Pay Base Calculation

The retirement pay for 4-star generals is calculated based on a percentage of the individual’s final pay rate. The exact percentage varies depending on the years of service. Generally, individuals who have served for 30 years or more receive 75% of their final pay rate as retirement pay.

This percentage increases for each additional year of service beyond 30 years.

For a detailed breakdown of the retirement pay calculations, you can refer to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) website.

Reductions in Retired Pay

It’s important to note that there are certain circumstances that may result in reductions in retired pay for 4-star generals. One such circumstance is if the individual receives compensation from another federal source, such as a civilian government job.

In these cases, the retired pay may be reduced by the amount of compensation received from the other federal source.

Additionally, if a 4-star general retires before reaching the required years of service, their retirement pay may be reduced. This reduction is calculated based on the number of years of service completed, compared to the required years of service.

For more information on the specific circumstances that may result in reductions in retired pay, you can visit the official website of the Department of Defense.

Understanding the basic eligibility requirements for 4-star general retirement is essential for military personnel who are aspiring to reach this rank. By knowing the minimum years of service, retirement pay base calculation, and potential reductions in retired pay, individuals can better plan for their future and make informed decisions regarding their military career.

Details of 4-Star General Retired Pay

Retirement pay for a 4-star general is an important consideration for military personnel who have dedicated their lives to serving their country. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the details of 4-star general retired pay, including the monthly retirement pay amount, cost of living adjustments (COLA), and survivor benefit payments.

Monthly Retirement Pay Amount

The monthly retirement pay for a 4-star general is based on their years of service and their highest pay grade achieved. As of 2021, the base pay for a 4-star general with over 40 years of service is approximately $15,583.20 per month.

This amount can increase with additional years of service or if the general served in a higher pay grade. It’s important to note that this is the base pay and does not include any additional allowances or bonuses.

Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA)

In order to keep up with inflation and the rising cost of living, retired military personnel, including 4-star generals, receive annual cost of living adjustments (COLA) to their retirement pay. The COLA is based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and is designed to ensure that retired military personnel can maintain their standard of living.

The exact COLA percentage is determined each year by the government and is typically announced in December for the following year.

Survivor Benefit Payments

Survivor benefit payments are an important consideration for retired military personnel, including 4-star generals, who have dependents. The Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) allows retired military personnel to provide a monthly income to their eligible beneficiaries in the event of their death.

The SBP is a monthly annuity that is based on a percentage of the retiree’s base pay. The cost of the SBP is deducted from the retiree’s retirement pay.

It’s important for 4-star generals and their families to carefully consider their options when it comes to survivor benefit payments. The SBP can provide financial security for surviving family members, but it’s important to weigh the cost of the plan against other financial considerations.

For more information on 4-star general retired pay, including specific pay tables and eligibility requirements, visit the official website of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) at https://www.dfas.mil/militarymembers/payentitlements/military-pay-charts.html.

Additional Benefits in Retirement

Retirement from the military comes with a range of benefits that go beyond just a monthly pension. These additional benefits can greatly enhance the quality of life for retired 4-star generals. Here are some of the key benefits that they can enjoy:

TRICARE Healthcare

One of the most significant benefits for retired 4-star generals is access to TRICARE, the military healthcare program. TRICARE offers comprehensive healthcare coverage for retirees and their families, including access to doctors, hospitals, and prescription medications.

This benefit provides peace of mind and ensures that retired generals and their loved ones receive the healthcare they need. For more information, visit the official TRICARE website.

Commissary and Exchange Privileges

Retired 4-star generals also have the privilege of using military commissaries and exchanges. These facilities offer a wide range of goods at significantly discounted prices, allowing retired generals to save money on groceries, household items, and even electronics.

This benefit can be a significant financial advantage and is greatly appreciated by retired military personnel. To learn more about commissary and exchange privileges, visit the Defense Commissary Agency website.

Other Benefits

In addition to healthcare and shopping privileges, retired 4-star generals may also enjoy other benefits such as access to recreational facilities, discounted travel options, and continuing education opportunities. These benefits vary depending on factors such as years of service and rank.

It is important for retired generals to stay informed about the benefits they are entitled to and to take advantage of all the resources available to them.

Retirement from the military is a well-deserved reward for years of dedicated service. The additional benefits that retired 4-star generals receive can make a significant difference in their post-military lives, providing them with the support and resources they need to thrive.


With over 30 years of service culminating in 4-star rank, you’ve reached the pinnacle of a military career. Your retirement benefits reflect your distinguished service to our country. As a 4-star general, you can expect a comfortable retirement with full pay and allowances, healthcare coverage, and other benefits.

While filling your days as a retired 4-star general may take adjustment after such an illustrious career, you can take pride in your service and rest assured your needs are provided for. We hope this guide gave you a comprehensive overview of what retirement pay and benefits to expect in your next chapter of life.

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