JANUARY 18, 2022 – Whether you served for two years or 20, you need to prepare for life after the military. But like so many others, you might feel a little worried about returning to regular life. In addition to finding a job, you might wonder if you’ll fit in with society. After all, the life of a soldier is far different than being a civilian. If you’re wondering how to prepare for life outside the service, this guide is for you.
Know Your Worth
You gained a lot of invaluable skills while serving. In fact, many of those skills are probably transferable into a new job. Make a list of all the things you’ve learned. Then, think about the type of jobs you could picture yourself working. Even if you have a few months before you’re honorably discharged, you can still reach out and start applying. You may be able to secure a job before you’re discharged.
Evaluate Your Finances
As you prepare for life outside your battalion, you need to take a serious look at your finances. If you’re a life-long soldier, then you’ll probably have some type of retirement pension. If you only served for a few years, you’ll need to figure out how to live independently without government backing. If you earned a degree while serving, you may want to find a way to decrease your monthly payment. Taking advantage of available student loan refinancing with a private lender can reduce your payment and usually lower the interest you have to pay as well. This way, you can save the extra money and build a nest egg while looking for employment. Your goal should be to have at least six months’ worth of expenses in a savings account.
Don’t Forget Health Insurance
There is no shortage of emphasis on health and fitness for soldiers, and once discharged, you’re still eligible for health insurance coverage. You’ll have to sign up with Humana or Tricare to keep your policy active. You can do this by logging into the DEERS website and entering your updated information. If you’re married with children, they should still be covered under your new policy as well. Just be sure to verify the termination age of dependents. While outside insurance companies allow children to remain on your policy until the age of 26, Tricare has a cut-off age of 21, unless they’re students. If your new job offers health insurance, you can always cancel your existing policy. However, it’s also permissible to have more than one coverage for health care.
The friendships you make while on active duty are made to last a lifetime. Unfortunately, it’s common to lose touch once you’re no longer active duty. Make sure you maintain your military network by attending on-base functions and simply reaching out via text.
Make New Connections
It’s also important to make new friends outside your squad. Once home, you need to build a support system as well. If you’re not extroverted, you can ease into it gradually by joining online groups or specific meetups with people who share your interests. The most important thing is that you don’t isolate yourself from society.