Separating from the military can be a stressful time. All bases have counselors and dedicated staff on hand to help you deal with the stress of the unknown. The Transition Assistance Program (TAP) is a great program that covers A to Z. The class provides valuable training from experienced teachers, counselors and other professionals.
Many veterans and their families admit they were not prepared for civilian life. No housing, food, clothing allowance on the outside. In the civilian world there is no such thing as a zero percent interest financial aid loan when you get into financial trouble. Service-members and their families have access to some of the greatest benefits in the world.
Planning for separation can’t begin early enough. Five years before separation is a good time to get serious about putting your financial plans in-order. If it’s a short notice separation you must have a financial plan in-place quick, making every remaining paycheck count big; you may consider a crash diet and stay at home TV as entertainment, as you save like your life depends on it.
Planning for Separation Goals:
Be realistic with your career transition, under promise and over deliver is a great motto. Find work you truly enjoy doing and hard work
- Know your Values, Goals and Sacrifices
- An established monthly spending plan in place and reduce flexible expenses
- Established savings accounts, revolving savings account of 20% of your monthly gross income in a passbook savings linked with your checking. An emergency savings account of at least six-months gross income
- Visit www.turbotap.org regularly for knowledge and jobs search
- Visit the family/financial support center on base for all their resources, such as jobs, career and resume counseling and much, much more
- Have all unsecured credit cards / personal loans paid-off, but don’t deplete all your savings accounts to pay-off debts; cash is still king and savings before debt using balance is the proper approach.
- Secured debts, such as a vehicle loan or mortgage payments become a priority. You can never have a large enough emergency saving account; that said save until it hurts, as the pain you go through early will pay-off later
- We recommend making no major purchases until the next phase of your financial life is established. This is a general comment and must be looked at on a case by case basis.
- Do not make a purchase based on future income or a promised job after you transition, be wise, be savvy
- If you are coming OCONUS to CONUS you will have much greater out of pocket expenses, so planning early is big. Take advantage of every resource the military offers
- If you are transitioning into a new career make sure to deal with your Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), it can easily be transferred into a 401(k) plan or an IRA
- If you’re transitioning into a commission sales job that promises big commissions based on your sales talents, let’s just say, “Stock up on the rice and beans”. Example: Most all the Investment / Insurance companies, Real estate offices run help wanted adds looking for people promising first year annual pay of $45K to $65K, and after two years your making six figures. The 80/20 rule applies. This means in the entire industry nation wide 20% of the people make the top end, and these people have many years of experience, working seven days per-week, sacrificing their family and health to accomplish this. The other 80% average below the bottom scales advertised, most of them their entire careers, while working seven days per-week.
- If you are planning to start your own small business after separating, do not borrow money or use credit cards to start a small business. Only 20% of small businesses ever succeed and most fail due to the burden of unmanageable debt. We know this fly’s in the face of what academia teaches; and what the Small Business Administration (SBA) says, as they market very hard to make you believe an SBA loan is the way to go. This is not true and we hope you don’t learn the hard way; you just need to trust us on this one. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is as most small businesses will not turn a true profit for the first two years. We do promote self-employment, but doing it the correct way, which means growing slow, on a cash basis until you are turning a true profit.
We know there are great resources for service-members when separating. We hope this brief information was helpful. Even in your
Transition Assistance Program (TAP) you will be marketed things, be wise, be savvy, as there are times even the teachers are better
at teaching than doing, sincerely.
Remember: “Never take financial advice from anyone with a vested interest in you signing on the bottom line”.
Thank you for you serivce, President, Phillip E. Day
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