Financial tips are necessary – especially when you are going through a major change in your life. For those of you in the military, these tips will come in handy when you decide to transition from a military to a civilian life.
Nobody stays in the military forever. Even the high-ranking officials are bound to retire at some point in their lives. Military service members are able to retire after 20 years and forced to do so after 30 years of service. However, not everyone last that long. According to a study published on Pew Research Center, officers stay on active duty for an average of 11 years. Enlisted military personnel stays for an average of 6.7 years.
If nobody stays in the military forever, you can assume that most of those in service will have to face civilian life sooner or later. That would require a couple of adjustments – and one of them involves your finances. After all, your stint in the military is considered a career. That means you earned from it. When you hang up your boots, you need to be sure that you and your family will still be left with secure finances.
Here are useful financial tips that can help you transition from a military to a civilian life.
Understand your military pay.
You should know what you lose when you leave the military. It is not just about your salary. You need to know how much you really take home and how much is being deducted from it. Not only that, you have to list the benefits that you get as a member of the military. Some have housing allowance, special pay, etc. All of these will be gone once you leave the service. Some servicemembers may be earning $50,000 a year but if you add all their benefits, it amounts to so much more.
Know your priority expenses.
After calculating your military pay, you need to sort out your expenses. To be more specific, you need to know which of your expenses should be considered a priority. Usually, your basic necessities are part of this list. Try to come up with two lists. One is your list of expenses for your bare basic necessities. These are the expenses that you need to survive. Then create another version of that list – something that still involves your basic necessities, but with more room for unnecessary yet vital expenses. For instance, a budget for a weekend getaway is not really part of your bare basic necessities but it is still necessary for the family to bond and have fun. This will help you set your financial targets later on.
Study the civilian’s outlook in life.
This does not seem like it is related to your finances but believe it or not, it can help you define what your priority expenses are. You have to remember that the life of a civilian and that of a military on active duty can be extremes. A civilian’s life can sometimes seem shallow to someone who just came from from a battlefield. While this may be true, you have to respect what the civilians hold valuable – because that will be your life from now on. Not only that, you need to change your expectations. People are not as disciplined or organized in the civilian world. Make sure you have your mind adapt to everything so you can make the right decisions when it comes to your finances.