My husband is retiring out of the Army at the end of 2018 as an E7, that’s 20 years of military service! We have a little debt, a little savings, 3 kids and no idea what to do other than we are going back home to Georgia. I’m not even sure what my question is, I just don’t know where to start. ~Crystal at Fort Hood
Thank you for reaching out. Let me help you gain some control.
First congratulations on making it to 20 years of military service and that you are retiring so close to home, remember you could be writing this from Germany!
I’m going to make a few assumptions based on what little you’ve told me.
- He’s “old school” retirement where he will be getting ½ base pay every month.
- Your children are all school aged.
- You haven’t gotten in touch with the transition program at Fort Hood yet.
You have a year and a half (ish) to:
- Get in control of your small debt. Just think, if you had NO debt, there would be no payments and your monthly expenses would go down.
- Build up your savings some more. All for peace of mind sake.
- Get a plan going with your Hubs.
After 20 years of military service,
First thing to do:
The next chance you get, set aside time with your Hubs for “retirement planning”. Don’t surprise him with this talk, and set it up for a few days away so he can get it on his mind. Then sit down and communicate what you want to do or feel like you should do when you move back home.
If George is home, I’m sure you have an idea of the industries or jobs available. What interests you or Hubs? Will he use his GI Bill and go to school? What would you like your life to look like?
Once you get an idea of your wishes and plans, contact the office of human resources at Fort Hood http://www.hood.army.mil/dhr/dhr.htm They are set up to help you transition in so many ways. From education options, resumes, to VA benefits.
Play with your budget, aim to get as much debt paid off and as much savings built in the next year and a half as you can. Cut any eating out (from date night to McDonalds drive through), gifts, toys, rewards and nick knacks. It’s only 18 months! YOU CAN DO THIS!!!
Could you get a part-time job to add to the income (If you’re not already working) or could you work from home? There are many on-line and milspouse friendly business out there.
I’m guessing you wrote me because you feel stressed financially, once you get debt free and have a solid savings account this stress will abate.
Figure out where you will live when you get back to Georgia. What is the housing cost in the area? Do you plan to move in with family while looking to buy? Or do you plan to rent for a few years?
Look up rentals in the area or home prices and figure out the mortgage payment with a VA calculator.
Getting the blueprint of your new monthly expenses will make you feel in control and have a clear understanding of what you still need. You know what Hubs’ retirement income will be and now you know what other (if any) income will need to come in!
Don’t let all this get pushed to the back burner! Every pay period I want you to go back over the plans. It’s only 18 months of your life, you’ve already made it 18.5 years! You’ve got this Crystal!
- Figure out with your hubs what you guys want to do when he gets out
- Go to the transition center on your base (find it here for Fort Hood http://www.hood.army.mil/dhr/dhr.htm )
- Pay off any debt you have
- Build your savings
- Figure out how much it will cost to live back home
- YOU CAN DO THIS! Think of how much you’ve already done in the last 18+ years!
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