By Anna Larson
There’s no lack of things I wish I’d known a lot earlier in our family’s journey through military retirement. As I perused the hot topics on Facebook Groups and LinkedIn conversations, I realized that most of the questions asked over and over centered around when to do what.
My experience was no different. I knew we were behind the suggested timeline curve for getting things done in an organized and efficient manner that would leave me feeling stress-free and excited about the next phase of our retired military life.
Perhaps you are feeling that way, too, as your seasoned spouse status moves even closer to retirement? First, let me just say that you are not alone in having 1,000 questions without knowing where to turn to find the answers. Second, I’ve got great news — your questions do have answers. As you near those final months, you realize how knowing the answers is vital to making those next big-step decisions.
First on your list should be a basic understanding of the benefits you are keeping or gaining and the ones you’re losing.
What Can You Look Forward to?
It’s exciting to look forward to a new lifestyle and new opportunities. When retirement arrives you can live anywhere, and with that comes the benefits offered to military retirees in your chosen retirement home state. You also get to keep your Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) and TRICARE for Retirees (those transitioning lose TRICARE), but be warned that health insurance is now going to cost you!
What Are You Going to Lose?
To start, your BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) housing allowance and BAS (Bbasic Aallowance for Ssubsistence.) All special-duty pay goes away and you’ll need new life insurance since SGLI ends with a DD214. You’ll also want to look at the different health insurance, dental insurance, and vision insurance that are available based on the type of retirement or transition from active duty that your family falls under.
As the spouse, I felt like I understood those lists of what I was going to keep and lose, but what I didn’t have a grasp on was what to do with that information. When you start the military retirement and transition process the veteran soldier gets a very long checklist of things they need to do. But, what should the military spouse be doing to support this process?
How about a checklist of your very own? Starting 1-3 years out from your retirement date, SpouseLink and AAFMAA created a comprehensive Transition Timeline checklist that takes you through the last month and last day of active-duty service.
When I say there were things I wish I’d known, this checklist is it. As military spouses, we want to support our soldiers who are also going through a time full of change, stress, and uncertainty. Being able to ask the right questions, understand the right time frame, and even relieve some of that burden is exactly what this Transition Timeline offers.
This Transition Timeline is part of a new SpouseLink 4-part live stream series all about finances during military retirement. The conversation focuses on the big questions like:
- “What benefits do we keep?”
- “How do you budget 20-30 years into the future?”
- “What do we do with our TSP?”
- “Do we need life insurance and SBP? Is one better than the other?”
You’ll find each live stream is coupled with useful tools like the retirement checklist or a budget spreadsheet for military spouses who are supporting a soldier through the retirement process.
Here’s Where You Can Find the Series:
About Anna Larson
Anna is a copywriter and digital marketing strategist, and owner of NomadAbout, a digital marketing strategies company that helps entrepreneurs and other business owners showcase their organizations through social media, websites, and marketing campaigns what they are passionate about and how they do it better than anyone else. She is active in the military community, co-hosting a weekly business-oriented livestream and co-leading the Fort Cavazos (formerly Fort Hood) Cha Chapter of the Association of Military Spouse Entrepreneurs.
Europe, Africa, and the United States, her family made the leap into military retirement. Anna is also a SpouseLink Ambassador with two kids and two dogs. She’s a long-time homeschool mom that loves dance parties, popcorn, camping, and snorkeling in the ocean. In her spare time, you’ll find her traveling the world with her family, relaxing around a fire pit, or on a long walk with her pups.
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