First, the investment choices they offer are usually going to be fairly limited. They might not even have index funds. Opening an IRA with someone like Vanguard, Charles Schwab, or Fidelity gives you access to just about all of the mutual funds each company offers. It's like comparing a state-run grocery store in the Soviet Union to a well-stocked Wal-Mart in the United States.
Rob Aeschbach is a male military spouse who spent 12 years as an active duty Marine before becoming a Navy spouse. Since then he has been a stay-at-home-dad for more than 10 years, served in the Marine Corps Reserve until his recent retirement, and started a personal finance blog.