After any length of time in the service, the military institution has become a big part of your personal identity. As such, it can be strange to make the transition back to a civilian way of life, but there are things you can do to make it smoother and simpler.
Find a Reliable Support System
Your military service no doubt had a wonderful support system built in. While most people maintain lifelong friendships from their time in the service, it may still be strange to be without the constant support system you once had.
As soon as you discharge, it’s a great idea to build a group of people you can always rely on, whether it’s friends and family, a support group through a church, a veterans’ group or something else. These people can support you in good times, and down times, and help push your forward through the rest of your life.
Get Ready for a Different Job Market
You’ll probably find that there are times when your military experience may not transfer to civilian life in the way that you thought it might. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t find meaningful work in the civilian job market.
It’s a good idea to do a bit of repackaging – that is, tailoring your new resume to be sure it creates a clear picture of your time in the service while also ensuring it is relevant to any job you’re considering applying for. For many veterans, meeting with a career expert is an ideal way to adjust and rework your resume to include meaningful terms that will help you land a job you’ll love.
Seek Out Volunteering Opportunities to Stay Connected with Others
For many veterans, volunteering opportunities are a great way to give back while also staying connected to many values learned from time in the service. You may notice that civilian life is less mission-driven than military life, and volunteering can offer a sense of purpose and provide a feeling of doing good and supporting those who need it most.
Learn About VA Loans
You probably already know that post-military life includes VA loans, but it’s good to read up on them as soon as you’re able. These loans can’t be used for just anything and finding a good lender is something you’ll definitely want to take the time to do. If you’re looking to buy a house, be sure to do your homework on loans and what they entail.
Remember to Save for Retirement
Not all service members choose to serve for 20+ years, and that’s okay. Whenever you discharge, it’s a good idea to set up some time to meet with a financial advisor. They can help you devise a retirement plan and get your savings on track to meet your retirement goals while also helping to determine steps to consolidate income streams if you have more than one.
Consider Using Your GI Bill
While the military teaches invaluable skills, many veterans choose to go back to school after their service is completed. The GI Bill pays for your schooling, so if you’ve been thinking about getting your bachelor’s degree or thinking about beefing up your education with a master’s degree, there’s no better time!