Updated: Jan 28
By Kelli Brewer, DeployCare.org
Transitioning from military service to civilian life comes with many challenges, and that includes financial ones.
Many things that were provided to you during your time in the service will likely be things that you have to pay for in civilian life.
However, there are also benefits and resources to take advantage of as a veteran.
Figuring out how to make sense of it all and putting yourself (and your family) in a good financial position is critical to ensuring that you can live your best life. From beginning a new career to utilizing resources like the Indiana Legion to saving for retirement, here are some simple tips to keep in mind while you transition as a young veteran:
Consider starting a new career.
The best thing you can do for your financial situation is to bring in a solid income.
As soon as possible, even before you leave the service, start thinking about your next career.
Is there a particular field or industry you’re passionate about? Do you have any hobbies that you could turn into a lucrative business?
One great advantage of being a veteran is that you can use the GI Bill to help pay for college courses. And thanks to the Internet, going back to school is now more accessible, flexible, and convenient than ever before.
Consider pursuing an online degree that can help you in the short term and long term. For example, you could get a degree in computer science, which would teach you valuable knowledge and skills in data structures, AI, computer theory, architecture and systems, and more. Since there is such high demand in these fields, this type of degree could offer you great long-term security.
If you dream of opening your own business, maybe a business degree would be the best step forward. Business management, human resources management, and marketing are a few concentrations that can lead to a promising career.
Check your resources.
Along with the GI Bill, there are many more resources that can help you and your family after your service. Dedicate time to researching and learning about these resources so that you can figure out which ones to pursue.
Veterans in Indiana can benefit from membership in the Indiana Legion. Doing so will give you access to the Legionnaires Insurance Trust, which includes a Death and Dismemberment policy at no cost.
All you have to do is sign up for the free policy. The LIT offers veterans plenty of other benefits that can improve their financial situation, as well, such as emergency grants, scholarships, and free VA claims processing and advocacy.
Insurance is essential to securing your family’s future. Health insurance, in particular, can help prevent financial disaster in the event that you or a family member becomes ill or suffers an accident.
If you’ve served 20 or more years in the military, you can qualify for TRICARE. If you’re separating (not retiring), you might be eligible for temporary care via the Continued Health Care Benefit Program (CHCBP).
But if you don’t qualify for either of these, check with the VA about other health insurance options.
Look to retirement.
Once you’re discharged from the military, you will need to make retirement plans a priority.
In 2018, the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) became much more favorable to federal employees than it used to be.
Simply put, it’s now among the most cost-effective methods of saving for retirement. Make sure you are contributing as much as possible each year.
Getting back into civilian life after serving your country is challenging enough. Don’t make it harder on yourself by neglecting to plan for your financial future. Along with implementing the tips listed here, consider speaking with a financial advisor to ensure that you set yourself and your family up for the best long-term financial situation possible.
Are you a veteran looking for more information on the various benefits and resources available to you? Join the Indiana Legion today.