Have you seen the sites offering details on how to become a millionaire virtually overnight? It seems the most recent popular technique is to use a home equity loan to purchase life insurance policies that will grow faster than the interest charged by the mortgage lender. As it turns out, this technique is speculative by the borrower, but guaranteed income for the life insurance salesman!
A much better strategy is to spend less than you make, pay yourself first, invest in low cost equity mutual funds or exchange traded funds, and live your life. Take advantage of tax free savings programs like the ROTH IRA.
I'd also like to mention that your military benefits, including health care, access to the commissary, fitness centers, recreation centers, and countless others, enrich your life without costing you a dime. These benefits continue after you retire and can really improve your way of life in retirement.
Finally, when military personnel got access to the Federal Government's Thrift Savings Plan in 2002, we were given an incredible way to save for retirement. The low cost fund choices are the envy of many in the private sector, and the TSP provides all military members with another way to save money for retirement even if they decide to leave the service before they are eligible for the full military retirement.
So to summarize, here's how I believe you should build wealth:
1. Spend less than you make.
2. Invest in mutual funds and exchange traded funds, especially in ROTH IRAs.
3. Contribute to the TSP.
No real estate? That's another story.