[MUSIC PLAYING] EMILY BIGHAM: Hi, and welcome back to the podcast MakingCents, brought to you by Navy Federal. Today we're going to be talking about transitioning from military to civilian life.
Every year, about 250,000 service members transition to civilian life. And as we near the end of 2020, we're approaching this crucial period for many service members. This can include many things, such as moving to a new place, finding a civilian job, rebudgeting, new taxes, also your family and kids, taking care of them and all of the things go along with them, schools, spouse jobs. So in today's episodes, we'll be discussing what to look for in a valuable civilian career and having conversations about what veterans should consider when moving to a new city after service. We're also going to add some tips to help service members save pretransition.
So today, I'd like to introduce Clay Stackhouse. Clay, thank you for being on the podcast today.
CLAY STACKHOUSE: I'm so happy to be here, Emily. Hello.
EMILY BIGHAM: Hi. So Clay is the Regional Outreach Manager here at Navy Federal. He's a retired Marine colonel, spent 25 years as a marine aviator traveling to 34 countries, and completed five combat contingency deployments. Wow, Clay. So you really are the expert in not only being a member of our military, but also your transition to civilian life-- going from a Marine aviator to now here at Navy Federal.
CLAY STACKHOUSE: Yeah. Well, I'll tell you, we'll talk about the families as we talk about the transition. I'll tell you, mine are at home right now doing Zoom school. I have teenagers. And the lovely and talented Mrs. Stackhouse, who has been that Marine wife all through the time-- she's trying to keep everything together. How are you and yours doing? I know it's been difficult for us, transition or not.
EMILY BIGHAM: Yeah. With transition to work from home or transition from military to civilian?
CLAY STACKHOUSE: Exactly. I think there's a lot of transition going on.
EMILY BIGHAM: Yeah, I know. It's like, which one do we want to talk about? Well, no, you're correct. My father was in the military for over 25 years. And when he transitioned, he went-- so he was a surgeon. I think it's a little bit easier when you're a surgeon and you have a skill like that where you can move right into either working at a hospital. Or he actually has a practice out in San Diego.
But that felt, I think, pretty-- well, from my perspective, it felt pretty smooth. I bet if you asked him, there were tons of challenges that he went through. But what was your transition to civilian life like? Is there anything that you wish you had known?
CLAY STACKHOUSE: Yeah. That's a great question because now I'm five years past getting out. And I think I probably thought, well, I'm a Marine. Give me anything. I can do any mission and just pick them up and put them down. And I probably did not-- I didn't give the transition the attention it deserved with regard to how hard it is, actually.
And I don't think-- you don't have to be a colonel who's transitioning after 25 years. I think people who transition after doing one hitch in the military is very similar because they're going to be younger. And proportionately, that's probably the first thing they've had to do in their life. So probably, it was harder than I thought, Emily.
I'm glad I had my family, as you were just saying you're familiar with, to bring me through it. And to tell you the truth, my wife and I talked about what I learned. It's probably the degree to which you can lean on those who weren't in service with you.
Navy Federal does these lists. I've talked about the VA. We've talked about Operation Homefront. There are organizations out there who really are ready and willing to bend over backwards and try and help people transition. That's kind of what I'm doing in my job, as you know, as a regional outreach manager. I get to talk all the time to people all over, transitioning veterans and their families, about things that they're really concerned with. So that's probably it.
It was difficult, is the answer about transitioning. I learn every single day more about, I guess, what I didn't know and more about myself because the military makes you a certain person. That's your identity while you're in. I was really happy to put on the Marine Corps uniform.
And actually, they had me-- I was the MC or whatever of the parade, the Veterans Day parade, last year down in Downtown Pensacola. And I put on my Marine Corps blues, and I thought, my kids were proud. That's a big identity. And transitioning out-- it's very difficult to think that you're not going to have that identity anymore.
EMILY BIGHAM: Yeah. It's probably a little bit emotional and get a little bit nostalgic, too--
CLAY STACKHOUSE: It is.
EMILY BIGHAM: --especially if it was for as long as you were. So I want to talk about the fact that you were an aviator in the Marines. So when you decided to be an aviator, were you thinking about the next step of transitioning out? And were you thinking you were going to potentially fly for a commercial airline?
CLAY STACKHOUSE: Yeah, no, I wasn't. As a matter of fact, my skills as an aviator-- yeah, I flew the president's helicopter. I flew in combat all over in three different continents. And I wanted to switch gears when I got out. I do have friends who have gone into the airlines. I like to say, I was done chasing bad guys, and now I'm helping good guys, which is our members, veterans, and their families, and helping them with that transition. And it's really been rewarding. I think I snatched lightning getting in with Navy Federal right away.
We talk about transitioning into a different job. And we did a list. We're doing best cities this year after service. You probably know a couple of years ago or last year we did the best careers after service, where I was able to talk to people all over the country about the transition from military service into what was next. And we had a list for that. You can actually look up that online as well.
But what people need to realize is it's not just whether you are an infantryman or an aviator when you were in the military. You learn skills when you're in the military, like leadership. You learn followership. You learn punctuality, things like that. Your unit and the relationship you had with them is something that employers find really attractive.
So as they transition, people should think, you know, what do I really want to do? And again, I was very lucky to be able to get with Navy Federal, where I'm helping military veterans and families. But it's a time where you need to really sit down with your family and the people you love and care about and talk about what you want to do next.
EMILY BIGHAM: How do you know when it's the right time to leave the military?
CLAY STACKHOUSE: Well, for a personal, I thought 25 years was kind of my target at the beginning. And our children were of the right age. So I think everybody-- a good question is, when people transition from the military, what is the most important thing financially? And I say, that plan, having a plan to transition. So I had a plan which was pertinent to what my family's situation was and where we were living and all that kind of stuff, how old the children were.
The financial plan goes that way, too. You need a financial institution that you trust. And then you need to have that plan. But they taught us all in the military a plan not executed is just a wish list. So you need to be able to execute that plan.
I'm happy to be with Navy Federal. They are helping me execute the plan. And I help people in my job on a day-to-day basis, which is great. But I think that personal plan-- you said when you started there's 250,000 people a year transition from the military. That's a lot of different wants and needs, interpersonal relationship-type things that deal with their families and where they are financially, where they are with regard to their children and their relationships. So each one is personal.
And in the list for best cities, we took that into account-- and in the list for best careers also. We talked to over 1,000 veterans about proximity to hospitals, recreational facilities, things that are important to them. And we heard a lot of different people, a myriad of different points of view about what's important. And I just can't stress enough that it's individual. The transition's individual. And there's people there to help you. I think that's my big takeaway. There's people there to help you.
EMILY BIGHAM: So for you, it was mostly financial. That was the biggest priority for you. But in the list, I think you talked a little bit about how where you're living is potentially your first decision. And there's top 10 cities there.
And I want to get into a couple of those things and what the big standouts are. But also, now that we're in an unprecedented global pandemic, and people's needs and interests and quality of life are generally shifting, are you seeing any changes in the transition from military to civilian? Do you think that people are staying in the military?
CLAY STACKHOUSE: Yeah, Emily, that's a good-- so we revisited the best cities list. We did one in 2018. And then we did best careers last year. And at the end of the day, what we're trying to do is help veterans transition. And we're asking them. They said, I'm worried about what career I'm going to go into. And I'm worried about what city I'm going to move to.
And we said, after the pandemic, let's revisit the best cities list. And what we found in our research was that-- and it's something that's kind of intuitive, actually. We're doing a lot of teleworking now. And there's just not that draw to the big commercial centers there used to be.
On our list, we have Charleston, South Carolina. We have Duluth, Minnesota. And we have San Diego. Those are three cities on our list. So it's geographically dispersed. And it's something where I think what we need to do is have people really drill down and say, what's important to me?
For in Duluth, which is the only one I haven't been to on our list-- actually, I've been to all nine of the other cities on our top 10 list. I'd love to go to Duluth. It's on the shores of Lake Superior, Right? I guess the four seasons are very pronounced, and there's a lot of outdoor activities that are a draw. So it's kind of a small town feel up there.
Now, obviously, San Diego's got the high military presence there, wonderful weather. Charleston, South Carolina, is by Joint Base Charleston and a lot of veteran-owned businesses there and that sweet Southern charm type thing.
So what I'm getting at is the list is very varied. And so is the 250,000 people a year who are transitioning. That's why we did the list. It's to have them focus on the fact that there's a lot of different things. And you have to ask yourself and your family, what is it that's important to you in this next step? And remember, we're really there to help you with it.
EMILY BIGHAM: It sounds like a great resource. I'm pretty sure we should include it in the podcast notes. Listeners can take a look at the list and see the top 10 cities and some of the different things that they point to. I think it's pretty interesting that in San Diego, it's such a high percentage of veteran-owned businesses.
And that brings me back to what we were talking about earlier about utilizing your network and how it can be a very scary, intimidating thing to leave one job and go to another. But then also think about the differences between military and civilian life. It's very intimidating. But I think the positives are, use your network. There is a lot of veteran support, especially in these cities where there are military bases.
CLAY STACKHOUSE: That's right. And the network isn't just a veterans network. You can make that club smaller and smaller and smaller. I'm in the Marine Corps Aviation Association. That pertains to aviators who are in the Marine Corps. So if you're a sonarman in the Navy or whatever you did, I'm sure that that group of people one, has transitioned before you. So there's people on the other side a couple of years ahead of you who have already done it that can help you through it.
So look on all the different resources that are out there to stay in touch with the people you served with. And know that the people who have already transitioned are overwhelmingly willing and excited to help you with your transition.
EMILY BIGHAM: I was speaking with our corporate economist, Bob Frick, the other day on the podcast. And we talked a little bit about veterans and whether it was the right time to leave the military and try to find a new job or potentially go get more skills or start a business. We love veteran-owned businesses. And he mentioned that it might be a good time to reassess and think about maybe waiting a year or two until things calm down and the economy bounces back.
CLAY STACKHOUSE: Yeah. Well, and that goes back to-- I mean, if anything, I'm your tax dollars at work. I'm Marine Corps-trained. So I have a plan to go to. And I'm going to look at a pattern. And that gets back to that. Have a plan, and have a financial institution you can trust.
Because whether or not you're going to totally switch gears like I did out of the aviation world and into the financial world, or you're going to stay in what you were trained as, or you're going to-- that's a great one. A lot of my colleagues and friends have opened up businesses. But if that's the case, you're going to want a business loan. And you're going to want to be able to go to a financial institution you trust and say, hey, look, here's my plan. Are they giving the plan a look that's fair?
And that trust is something I cannot overannunciate with regard to your financial institution. And I'm going to keep coming back to that. So whether or not you do it this year or next year, that good plan you stick with is going to be something that's going to yield results for you.
EMILY BIGHAM: Specifically, what type of financial tips do you think? What to you are the most important things that they should be looking at or thinking about? Is it living in the cities?
CLAY STACKHOUSE: I hate this. It's savings. A lot of people don't have that good savings saved up. And when I talk about a plan, now I have that plan. And when I talk to people, we have financial advisors at Navy Federal. But that first step is go ahead and create that budget.
And in the budget, the first person you pay is yourself. You put that aside right away, and you grow a savings account. And that's just a non-negotiable thing to have that money set aside for times to get tough. And I'm telling you, I hate it. And I go into my region. I'm out of Pensacola. I go into a lot of rural Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and they're looking at me like I'm crazy when I tell them they need three months' pay set aside just in cash.
But that's something that you can really-- you can do that with a fairly simple plan on a budget that's just not-- I'm not going to say, not that hard to do, but doable. It's something that I've done. And I know there's people out there from all walks of life who can reach out and help you because I know it seems tough. It really does. But when you break it down, you didn't do anything when you were in the military alone. You don't have to do this alone.
So even though the pandemic seems scary and-- oh my gosh. I got to have this much saved up. That seems scary. No. You eat an elephant one bite at a time, right? And we are there to help you. There's other organizations there to help you. Let us help you. And just pick them up and put them down one step at a time to get you into a place where you're much more comfortable.
EMILY BIGHAM: And there's never no-- well, I guess there could be a wrong way to save. But to me, I think the most intimidating part about starting savings is you're not really sure how much you should start saving or how early you should start saving. But I think any amount is great. And then I like the idea of just the set it and forget it-- so taking a portion of your paycheck every month and just putting it in a savings account. Even if you have no plans to transition out of the military in the next year or so, start now. That's the easiest thing.
CLAY STACKHOUSE: That's another great-- but what I do talk to people, Emily, and they're like, oh, I'm in debt. This is hopeless. And I don't have a plan. And I'm transitioning tomorrow, it's never too late. I promise you that. A plan is a plan. So it may be different than somebody's plan who started 10 years ago, but it's still a plan. And a plan gets you, once executed, to the place you want to be, right?
So don't feel that way. And I know it can be overwhelming. As a matter of fact, I got married to the lovely and talented years and years ago. And since I went to the Naval Academy, like your father, we didn't have any student loan debts. Well, my lovely and talented wife did. And I was like, oh, wait a minute. Whoa. So it was kind of like a reverse dowry. I got married, and I got some debt.
But then we made a plan and went through it. And here we are 29 years later, and everything's working out pretty well. So it can work, even things that you don't see coming. Navy Federal's been around a while, has a great reputation. It's a place you can go to.
And you can tell them what your concerns are. You can call up and say, look, I'm scared about this. I don't know. OK, I looked at your best list and your best careers. But here's specifically what I'm scared about. We want to hear that. And we can help. The members of our mission-- when we say that, we mean one member at a time. So know that each person is different, and we're willing to help with each set of problems.
EMILY BIGHAM: There's plenty of ways to find support, just like how you supported your wife.
CLAY STACKHOUSE: Right. That's right. Best thing I ever did, by the way.
EMILY BIGHAM: So what are some of the unexpected differences between service and civilian life? I know that there's probably a lot. But what are the most unexpected ones?
CLAY STACKHOUSE: Yeah. I think especially in the Marine Corps, Emily, you kind of get into one way of doing things. And it's the Marine way. And I'm here to tell you, I think it's a good way. It's a great way. And I'm going to have US Marine written all over me probably till they carry me out of here in a pine box. But it's not the only way to do things, right?
And the civilians-- I think I kind of thought everybody always wanted to be a Marine, and some just weren't able to do it. That's actually not true. There's a lot of people who wanted to do all sorts of different things.
And I'm finding as I've transitioned-- it's been really fun, actually. My world has opened up. And I've met all sorts of walks of life of different people. And the way that they do it is not the Marine way. And it's actually a good way for whatever they're doing. So I think understanding-- you want the US Marine Corps to be a certain way. In the military, each discipline, each kind of warfare specialty you served in is the way they are for a reason.
But know that when you transition, people are going to bring a lot of different things to the table. And it's important that you just button up and listen to them and fit into their way of doing things instead of kind of forcing them to fit into your old way of doing things. I will confess that was probably something that's-- I'm still trying to do it. I'm aware of it. But that's something to be aware of, I think.
EMILY BIGHAM: Even just being a military kid, I didn't really even realize that I was a so-called "Navy brat" until I went to college. And I would listen to other people's experiences, or they would comment on mine. And they would be like, wow, that's really strange. You lived in Japan? Why did you live in Japan? What were you doing there? And I didn't think it was weird. I thought it was weird they grew up in the same house their entire life. I was like, what?
CLAY STACKHOUSE: Right. When you transition, I think that-- like when you went to school, you were transitioning out of a military bubble. That's a great point. That's exactly what I'm talking about. And you realized there's a lot of ways to do things out there. And it's interesting and fun.
EMILY BIGHAM: Yes. It wasn't the Bigham family boot camp anymore. But you mentioned the uniform. I do love a uniform. I think that just makes the most sense to put on a uniform every day. I would not mind that.
CLAY STACKHOUSE: Yeah. Well, if you can't look good in Marine blues, you can't look good.
EMILY BIGHAM: No comment on that. They're great uniforms.
Might be my favorite. OK. Let's go back to the differences between service and civilian life because I want to unveil and talk about the things that people might think are scary but how we can turn those into positives.
CLAY STACKHOUSE: And that's right. No matter where you transitioned, if-- the commandant of the Marine Corps has to get out one day. And he's going to get out on his terms. And somebody who was a senior airman in the Air Force and did a hitch and got out is going-- they're going to transition on his or her terms as well.
So be aware of the skills you got when you were in. Don't minimize them. Like that punctuality, your honor that they taught you from boot camp is not a joke. It's serious stuff. Your leadership, your followership-- you had to be quiet and do what your boss told you in the military. That's something that's attractive to employers, somebody who knows how to do those things.
So I think as you transition, highlight the things that you learned while you were in the military. And figure out a way to enunciate to employers how that can benefit them.
EMILY BIGHAM: So from your perspective, was it intimidating to write your resume, going for job interviews at a corporate company? What was that like?
CLAY STACKHOUSE: Yeah. That's interesting because it probably should have been more intimidating. And again, I talk about my shortcomings. Being intimidated wasn't really part of the deal in the Marine Corps. And I probably should have thought more about what they wanted to see.
I was actually honored you and I were both in the Aspiring Leaders program here at Navy Federal. And I went over to Talent Acquisition, which was awesome because I watched how we hire. And I thought, wow, oh my gosh. If I'd have known this before I transitioned about how to write the resumes and how recruiters actually look at resumes and pick people who are qualified and get them to hiring managers-- it was really interesting.
And so I think I go back to what we started with, which was there's people out there who can help you with these things. And probably, I should have leaned a little harder on those I wasn't in service with who were ready and willing to help me write those resumes who had already done those things.
So I just implore all of those veterans who are transitioning. I know you're used to being big dog in the field you're in now. You're probably at the top of your game. You probably have qualifications, and you're comfortable with what you're doing now. Writing resumes probably isn't it, right? So get some help. That's no big deal. You can call any number of different people who can help you do those things and help you showcase all those skills that you got that you may not even know you got in the military.
You're thinking, yeah, I did get followership. Yeah, but that's no big deal. I was just doing what I was told. Yeah. That's good. People like guys who know how to do what they're told and show up every day on time and in the right uniform, like you say, Emily, if you could just wear a uniform. But being there on time in the right uniform with the right frame of mind is starting off pretty well. And employees find that really attractive.
EMILY BIGHAM: Yeah. Some of those little things, if you do them right, make a good first impression. I think it's also probably a good idea to have a casual conversation with someone who's been in the workforce who hasn't been around military or Marine life. And you'll probably be surprised about the things that they find surprising or the things that really stick out to them that to you were just everyday things [INAUDIBLE].
CLAY STACKHOUSE: Yeah. As a lot of my colleagues I served with throughout the entire Marine Corps-- as you can imagine, I've have guys I've known since really-- my wife says, since we were kids. We were dating. So as we were going through training, I was 22, 23, and I knew these men. And now I'm 52. And some of these guys are calling me, and they're just now transitioning as colonels. And they're like, oh, I'm going to do this.
And it's amazing, Emily. I hear them saying the exact same things that I said. And I'm like, well, the Marine Corps did a good job teaching you how to feel like you can slay the world. But it's a big change. And we need to learn how to sing the civilian world song as you transition out. And there are people out there who can help you do that.
EMILY BIGHAM: There are a lot of perks and benefits, especially ones that help you financially, when you're in the military. What are some of the unexpected costs that you came across?
CLAY STACKHOUSE: Right. Well, you need to remember, as you transition, see-- I was in five years when I lived in the barracks. And if I got a cavity, I just went to base dental. And for lunch, I'd stop by the commissary and get something at a discounted rate you weren't even aware of.
So I got out. Wait a minute. Whoa, whoa, whoa. I don't have dental? No. Matter of fact, you're retired, and you don't have dental. That's something you need to get through your employer. Oh, wait. I got to go to a Walmart or something like that now? Yeah, yeah. And it's going to be significantly more expensive, actually, than if you went to the chow hall or something. And you need to consider mortgage rates now, which are very good now. They may not always be. And you're not going into housing.
So there's this entire infrastructure that you live comfortably within while you're in the military. And then when you transition out, if you're not talking to people about that-- that's that plan I alluded to before. If you're not talking to people about that before you get out, well, we just need to start talking about that, is what I'm saying, because those are things you need to make provisions for as you transition.
EMILY BIGHAM: So I know you said there isn't necessarily a best time to start planning. But let's say someone was thinking about transitioning a year from now or two years from now. Is it too late to start planning? Is it just the right time to start planning? Give me a ballpark.
CLAY STACKHOUSE: I'd say a year out, you're golden. That's really even with regard to your VA benefits. And there's putting together a package there. There's organizations who can help you do that. There's a lot of things out there. If you're a year out, oh, man. We're in catbird seat. That's not who I'm talking about.
I'm talking about transitioning around-- so I'm lucky enough to talk to the National Guard. Mississippi is in my area. And I was talking to the Mississippi National Guard up in Tupelo at what's called a "yellow ribbon," which is when they come back or before they deploy. They get together and have all the different things that are available to them shown to them. It's like a predeployment brief you would do in the Navy, Marine Corps, Army, Air Force.
And this guy had just gotten back. And he was a sergeant first class. And he was like, yeah-- he really hadn't thought a whole lot about it at all. And I'm like, OK, when are you getting out? He's like, I'm on terminal leave next week. I said, oh, OK. Wait a second here. Hold on.
Even those guys, though, that's-- when I talked about it's never too late, that's the person I'm talking about. So he and I sat down after the event. And I just drew something up, gave him my card. Thank goodness he was a member of Navy Federal. He was able to reach out to our financial advisors-- as you know, are free of charge-- and really get him squared away with a plan.
And like I said, it's never too late. A year out, I would love to be able to talk to him and set up something that would have been more robust. But he didn't do that. But that's OK. If you start an attack and the enemy starts shooting back, you can't just stop. You have to do something else. That's 101 stuff. And you just reset. That's all.
EMILY BIGHAM: Absolutely, reset. And we've talked a lot about the transition from military to civilian. But you also mentioned that there's all kinds of transitionings happen all the time. So maybe you didn't do it the perfect time, or you didn't have the best transition from military to civilian. But now that you are a civilian, you-- job changes. You move cities. You even start families. Your kids go to college. As long as you're just starting and you're actually taking action on something--
CLAY STACKHOUSE: Right. Well, know that it's been done before. I know it's personal. And it's scary because it's you, right? Oh, this is my family we're talking about. This is my livelihood. And it gets real quick. OK. But know that it's been done before. 250,000 times a year, people are doing it. So it's been done before. And don't do it alone. Just don't do it alone. Let us help, please.
EMILY BIGHAM: Besides Navy Federal, what are some other resources?
CLAY STACKHOUSE: Yeah. So obviously, the Veterans Administration plays a large part. We partnered with Operation Homefront with this list. And these are organizations-- you can get on the internet any number of different organizations who are out there and willing to help in different ways.
Obviously, we help specifically with financial things. We're Navy Federal, right? But there are emotional transitional counseling. There's all sorts of different things that you may not even consider that's out there. But if you just stop and you get in front of your computer, get a cup of coffee with you and your wife or husband, and sit down and say-- or whomever, your loved one-- and say, what are we really worried about? What keeps us up?
And then look into it. And you can call us, as you know. You're in credit cards. You can call 24 hours a day. And if you have financial concerns, you can call our team 24 hours a day. And we're going to do something to help you. But that's a first start. And reach out to all those different organizations because a lot of people want to help.
EMILY BIGHAM: You mentioned emotional support. Did you find that it was emotional for you?
CLAY STACKHOUSE: I did way more than I thought, honestly. There's a lot of guys who have done a lot more than I have. And I know a lot of them. But it's funny how emotionally tied to the whole thing you kind of are. When you go out on a mission and you're signing for your flight, you're thinking, this might be it.
It goes back to that identity we talked about, Emily. It's who you are. So yeah, yeah. It's emotional. And I just shared that from my perspective. I would not think it's any less emotional for somebody who did a four-year tour in the Air Force because they deployed with their unit or wherever they were and did what they did as well.
And it's like a family. And it's a family you leave your original family from to join. And then you go out in service to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. And it's just kind of a big deal. So if it weren't emotional, it would be weird, I think.
EMILY BIGHAM: I think it's also emotional for the families, military families. For me personally, going to the Navy football games or even seeing like Blue Angels fly over-- and I know down in Pensacola, you guys have a Blue Angels down there-- it's always a huge activity and a big event. And the whole town comes out. And there's just so much support.
CLAY STACKHOUSE: Oh, yeah. They flew over my house the other day. And I've seen them 100 times. I still get chills.
EMILY BIGHAM: Well, I think the best cities list for veterans is-- if you feel you're going to have an emotional time or you want to keep that bond and that network close, looking at the cities is good for that as well. And then, of course, we have the careers list, too. So we'll make sure to put those resources [INAUDIBLE].
CLAY STACKHOUSE: Yeah. Well, it's navyfederal.org/bestcities. Or you can do the same thing slash careers, and it pops right up. As a matter of fact, I was reading them before. And that best careers list we did last year was so much fun because one of the things about transitioning for a lot of veterans is you realize what you were doing before with service, whether you knew it or not, whether you thought about it or not. It was important for me to make a difference.
And as I was able to travel around the country and sit down and talk with these veterans one-on-one about their transition, it was fulfilling to me. It was easy for me to get out of bed because I'm like, man, I'm going to help a lot of people today. And I think a lot of veterans feel that pull. And Navy Federal's a financial organization. But we're not the wolf of Wall Street. We are actually helping veterans and their families in military. That's why we get up in the morning.
And that was important for me. I think a lot of my colleagues who have transitioned and gone into-- well, I'll just say different organizations where they didn't feel they were helping people as much as they should have have now moved on to other organizations. And I just feel like for the people I know, that tug of service is something that's significant.
EMILY BIGHAM: Well, and mission-oriented. It's the mission-driven-- really important to find that. Well, thanks, Clay Stackhouse, for coming on the podcast today. This has been great. Is there anything else that you'd like, any other tips, or any last insights you'd like to give?
CLAY STACKHOUSE: Yeah. Emily, it's just a lot of fun talking to you. Thank you for inviting me on.
When I feel like we reach out to people like this, not only is it fun-- and we have a lot in common with regard to our backgrounds and everything. But no, yeah, go to navyfederal.org/bestcities and take a look of what we've come up with. And know that people are out there to help you.
EMILY BIGHAM: Thanks so much. And also, thank you for your service.
CLAY STACKHOUSE: Oh, same to you, you and your family.
NARRATOR: Navy Federal Credit Union is federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration. This podcast is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax, or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial professional for specific information on how certain laws may apply to your individual financial situation. References to and participation with the military community does not constitute organizational endorsement. Navy Federal is an equal housing lender.