For many, retiring from the military is the start of a brand new career. Whether you plan on starting on a business, complete retirement or starting a new career working for someone in the civilian world, learning a few things now can make your immediate future and full retirement easier.
Start With These Five Tips:
Review the Terms of Your Military Retirement Plans
Depending on the branch of service you served in, when you left the armed services, and whether you were a member of the reserves or active duty military, you may have a range of retirement plans and options. You need to know when you can start collecting your funds, and how much it will be. This plus social security will be your starting point for retirement.
Invest in Your Retirement or Retraining if You Get it Right Away
For those lucky enough to retire and start receiving their retirement around age 40-years-old, this money is designed to help fund your second career. Leverage this money says, JJ Montanaro, retired service member and financial planner for USAA’s military transition team. After all, you have decades to let it grow and it can grow further when your new civilian employer matches, contributes as much you do up to a specific amount, in your retirement account. He says to also use it to supplement money you may need to transition from a military or civilian career. This could mean helping with expenses during further education, or while building a new business.
Understand What Education Benefits You May Still Have
If you’re starting a brand-new career, you have much more available to you than just your GI Bill. There are scholarships just for veterans, and you may also qualify for tuition or financial help from your state. Montanaro was able to transfer the 144 credits the state of Texas gave him to his daughter to use. There’s someone on every university and college campus that can help you understand, and get the most of your education benefits. Remember to tell them about everything you’ve learned in the military. You may be able to test out of or skip some courses that are normally required.
A Budget Check-Up is Always Good
You may have expenses in the civilian world you didn’t when you were in the military. For instance, you may have lived in military housing. Either on your own or with the help of the transition team discuss what your new budget may look like. A financial planner or credit union representative can help, too. Checkout the section of this site on personalized budgeting as well.
Learn Your Resources for Help
Every military base has a transition team that can help you with the information you need to transfer professionally and financially into the civilian world. Learn about the program, and get the advice you need. For instance, you may need someone to help you figure out how to sell your military skills to an employer in interviews and in a resume. As with any program, what you get out of it is what you put into it, says Montanaro. The good news is many employers appreciate the discipline and work ethic of retired service members.