Recently Retired from the Military? 3 Strategies to Implement Right Now
August 14, 2020
Anyone who has served knows that it will forever be among the most rewarding experiences. It is an altogether different type of life than most people will ever know. But, for many military members, their time in uniform will someday come to an end.
Then what? If you have recently found yourself in this situation, you need a game plan. You need to start thinking very seriously about making a satisfying career change, the best way to financially plan for the future, and what to do with your free time.
Now is the time to take charge of this new phase of life to make the most out of it. And the following represent three key strategies to implement after retiring from the military.
1. Figure Out a Plan
One of the most empowering things you can do after leaving the military is raising your confidence. This isn’t a transition to dread. It’s an opportunity to thrive like never before! Yes, things will feel strange for awhile. It may even go on for quite some time. But as you’ve surely learned in training, the foundation of confidence is preparation.
The best way to really believe that you’re ready for something is to have a plan and starting to execute it. Specifically, turn this into action when it comes to your career prospects. Whether that means getting a degree, a certification, or just sending out all the applications and cover letters you can, it will help to figure out what you want to do for the long term. You may not start in this exact role overnight. But envision where you want to go and set out on that path.
2. Get Your Finances in Order
While the military offers many benefits and instills incredible characteristics in those who serve, you probably didn’t strike it rich. Hopefully, you aren’t in a deep hole, but you likely do now have a desire to start getting farther ahead. The biggest factor in getting your finances in order will be a good income. That means following the first step and finding a new career you love and can thrive in.
But in the meantime, there are other good ways to set yourself up for success. First, you should establish a reasonable budget and set up the right accounts. Some smart investments might make sense in the near future. For military members, nothing is better than USAA, the financial institution that caters to service members and veterans in many ways. Getting a low-rate credit card — and using it responsibility — can both help you build your credit and provide an emergency option if things get rough.
3. Make Time to Relax
Life in the military is rigid, intense, and regimented. These qualities will probably stick with you forever. That’s a great thing! Your talent for discipline will serve you always. As they say, a soldier can get more done by 9 am than most people will all day. But there can be too much of a good thing.
If you get stuck into a life that is 100% structure and schedule, you will struggle to enjoy yourself. You need to make time for a little R&R and find some new hobbies. After all, what’s the point of it all if you aren’t having a good time? For most people, relaxing is second nature. But you may now be wired different. So put some concerted effort into downtime so you don’t get burnt out.
Living Your Best Life After Service Ends
For most people, retirement is all about enjoying the smaller, simpler things in life. They are hitting their golden years and ready for a life of leisure. But you’re probably younger than that and still have a lot of years left to work, build your family, and find a second path.
That all starts with establishing a plan for your future. Work on figuring out your career goals and financial needs. These will be the foundation of a secure future for you and your loved ones. But as you move forward, don’t forget to relax and schedule some downtime here and there for your preferred leisure activities.
And there actually is one thing you have in common with someone who retires at 65. Perhaps for the first time, you are finally now in charge of your own schedule. Embrace this — and use it as motivation to get going on your new life.