You've lived the military life. Now it's time to transition back to civilian life. There are many adjustments to consider, but one of your top priorities will probably be getting your finances in order.
Simple planning will go a long way in making your financial transition smoother. A transition budget is a great way to prepare yourself for what's to come. Here are some expenses to consider:
Depending on where you are moving and the type of discharge you receive, your moving expenses may be covered by the military. If this is the case, consider moving to a temporary residence, then allowing the military to subsidize your move to a permanent residence. Visit the relocation office on your installation for more information.
If you plan on buying a home, you might run into additional fees on top of the closing costs, like Homeowners Association fees. If you plan on renting, make sure to set aside funds for things like deposits, pet fees, and unforeseen expenses. Contact a Real Estate agent.
Find out if you are eligible for continued military health benefits. If not, be aware that civilian employers may offer medical insurance that requires you to pay part of the premium. Visit the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) website for more information.
If you plan on going back to school, consider the GI Bill. The Montgomery GI Bill is open to Active/Former Active Duty, Reserve, or National Guard
veterans. If you have earned certifications or licenses through the military, check to see whether they are transferable to the civilian world. Get a copy
of your verification of military experience and training. Check out military.com for a full list of VA-approved programs.
Resume and Networking
Two other factors that will give you an advantage—but are easy to overlook in the job hunt—are a well-thought-out, polished resume and practicing for interviews. They can go a long way in making you a more appealing candidate. When it comes time to look for a job, good networking is a huge plus, too. Consider tapping into organizations like the Military Officers Association, Retired Enlisted Association, Non Commissioned Officers Association, Marine for Life, Army Career and Alumni Program, and Military.com. GIjobs is full of helpful tips and information on jobs.
Thrift Savings Plan
If you have a Thrift Savings Plan, here are a few things you can do with it once you leave the military:
Before you transition to civilian life, be sure to make time to tend to the following personal matters:
A good resource to help you manage your personal information and benefits is eBenefits. Navy Federal also offers resources to help with your transition, including financial seminars with a focus on transitioning to civilian life. To find out about this and other transition assistance resources, give us a call at 1-888-842-6328.