So I was replaying the Spartan Ops mission Spartan Mountain when Sarah Palmer says But I'm the one who signs your paychecks. This got me thinking: do the Spartan-IV's actually get paid, and do they eventually retire? It seems a bit weird to give a 2m tall supersoldier a salary, since he can't go to any pubs, supermarkets, and he doesn't need a house, because shelter is provided by the UNSC.

But that would mean that Spartans (especially the 4's) stay with the UNSC forever. And it would seem a bit weird to me if you see a eighty-year old in a combat harness.

So are the Spartans real soldiers, or are they just killing machines who fight until they die?