Military Connection: Planning For Transition


By Debbie Gregory.

As more and more active duty military transition back to civilian life, they face many obstacles. One of the most important obstacles to overcome are the financial ones.

Most service members join the military directly after high school or college, often times without experiencing living on their own. When they’re in the service, they have a steady income without a lot of the financial obligations that their civilian counterparts have.

Suddenly, they’re on their own, facing obligations like rent, food, utilities…things that didn’t previously concern them.

To make the transition easier, there are some simple steps that can be taken.

First, they should start a transition fund, saving three to six months of living expenses before leaving the military.

Next, they need to decide what their next step will be. Job or school? Many will opt to use their Post 9/11 GI Bill education benefits, which also includes a generous housing allowance.

Another step is getting health and life insurance. Some Veterans will qualify for Tricare, the health care program serving active-duty service members, National Guard and Reserve members, retirees, their families, survivors and certain former spouses worldwide. If Tricare is not an option, the next alternative would be coverage through a private plan or through an employer. Treatment is also available through the Veterans Affairs for service-related conditions.

Service members on active duty have up to $400,000 of life insurance for themselves and $100,000 for their spouse for $29 a month. Upon separation, it may be converted to Veteran’s Group life insurance, although this is more expensive than Servicemembers Group Life Insurance.

When it comes to job hunting, military training can provide Veterans with invaluable skills and experience that is highly regarded by employers. Working as a team member, working under pressure, and having leadership skills are always highly sought out by employers.

The Veterans Opportunity to work and Hire Heroes Act of 2011 requires that separating service members attend the Transition Assistance Program, which helps Veterans with all aspects of returning to civilian life. The program offers education in personal financial planning, an employment workshop and entrepreneurial training. For more information, please visit

Don’t diminish your skills, because they do translate into the civilian world. We invite you to use the military skills translator on