Are military pensions too 'generous'? - Yahoo! News WASHINGTON (AP) β It sounds like a pretty good deal: Retire at age 38 after 20 years of work and get a monthly pension of half your salary for the rest of your life. All you have to do is join the military. As the nation tightens its budget belt, the century-old military retirement system has come under attack as unaffordable, unfair to some who serve and overly generous compared with civilian benefits. ... The report noted that military retirees start collecting pensions immediately upon leaving the service, rather than at age 65. That's a benefit without peer in the private sector, although there's a parallel in government. Some city police departments start retirement payments immediately, for instance.