Life holds many major decision points for each of us Veterans. For military members, one of the biggest was the choice to join the service in the first place. Just as significant is the choice to get out. It’s one of the toughest decisions you’ll ever have to make! But once you do, you need to be ready because transitioning back into the civilian world involves much more than just finding a job.
Here’s a few tips to help Veterans thrive during your military transition and long after your separation from service!
During the Transition
House Hunting – Hopefully you know well in advance where you plan to settle down after getting out of the military. If not, it’s something you’ll need to pin down as soon as possible.
Each branch of service offers permissive House Hunting Trip days to help transitioning service members scout around. Don’t let these go to waste. Use them to travel to different towns, perhaps different states, until you pick your dream spot!
Home Buying – Related to house hunting is the decision to buy or not. And depending on many factors, it may or may not be the right time to buy. For example, you’ve decided to move out of state but you haven’t been picked up for a new job there yet. Getting tied to a home mortgage could be a mistake, unless you can ensure you’ll have the income stream to make the payments.
You don’t want to start your post-separation civilian life struggling with an economic hardship. Buying a new home usually comes with many unexpected costs. But if the time is right, we recommend looking into the VA Home Loan program! And don’t forget to check out our free webinar The Art of Military House Hacking.
Medical Disability Claims – Your branch of service should host a mandatory Transition Assistance Program (TAP) or other similar course designed to help you plan ahead. Often, a representative from Veterans Affairs will offer a briefing during this course to help you understand how the VA disability claims process works. Pay close attention and then follow-up with action.
If you don’t get this briefing, contact your personnel section to help put you in touch with a local rep, or contact us to learn about your options. As Veterans, we also tend to suffer from chronic disabilities related to our service. Unfortunately, we also often fail to realize that we should be receiving compensation and benefits from the VA. Test your knowledge about VA benefits with SAVI’s short VA Benefits 101 Survey.
Stay Fit – Life in the military keeps us in good physical condition, if for no other reason than the fact that we have to pass an annual fitness test. Once that accountability is gone post-separation, don’t just throw away your running shoes and start to skip the gym.
Staying physically active is critical for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It also helps us remain positive through stressful situations (like starting a new civilian life!). There are plenty of fun ways to maintain your fitness level, even if it means switching up your old routine. Maybe get a new workout buddy to motivate you? Whatever works to keep yourself moving and healthy is worth it!
Stay Engaged – Once you’re a Veteran, you’re a Veteran for life! Keeping up friendships can be a challenge when you’re on the go. The great thing about Veteran life is that it’s easy to snap into a new community of prior service members. The trick is actually doing it.
If you find yourself feeling a little disconnected from the civilian world, you may just miss the camaraderie from your time in the military. That’s okay – that camaraderie is still out there! You just have to be proactive and find the Vets in your area. You might start your search with the VA’s Directory of Veterans Service Organizations.
Post-separation, you’re in charge of your own transition and your life after the military. Apply the diligence and perseverance you learned in the service to educate yourself and plan for the future. Never settle for less! Because when you take control and steer your own ship, you’ll get where you want to go versus letting the currents whisk you around randomly.
For more great tips, visit our website to learn how SAVI provides the emotional, physical, and mental support you need in your military transition to civilian life. We also offer four comprehensive planning tracks—Education, Employment, Entrepreneurship, and Retirement. And best of all? Enrollment in each of them is absolutely free!