MSEJ August 2018 - Page 38

When you hit fifteen years, retirement should be layered into your military career plan, no matter what may seem more urgent in your military timeline. Six months isn’t enough time to get your retirement plans together—and I’d say the same about twelve, eighteen, or twenty-four months, so don’t think you can wait until then either.

Whether you’re somewhere around that magic fifteen-year marker or standing with me at the abrupt end, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. The best way to get over being overwhelmed is to get proactive, so the real question is: What can you start doing now?

1. Start saving money.

You’re going to need at least a few months of living expenses, and every bit helps.

2. Start thinking about your career.

Read about jobs, think about the skills that you have, the daily routine you’d prefer, and the cities that make sense for you and your family.

3. Take a look at your education and certifications.

If your new career will require a degree or certification, get these items checked off before you retire so you don’t delay the time it will take to get a new job.

4. Take your medicine.

Get your medical matters documented and start the process of getting things fixed while you still have viable insurance.

5. Look up.

There is a life outside the military, and you’re going to need to have interests outside your former job. Find volunteer opportunities, ways to create community, take up a new hobby… make the world out there something exciting rather than something to fear.

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