Veterans’ Day 2015

(I’m sure you’ll figure out soon enough that this should have been posted 3 days ago but I couldn’t finish in time to get it out, so I’ll go right ahead and admit it right now so we can move on lol. Hopefully, you don’t let that detract from the message.)

Hello all! I don’t know how many people have the day off, but to those who are fortunate enough to stay home from work, I hope you’re having a relaxing time. I want to start with saying a big thank you to all of the Veterans who sacrificed their family life, health, bodies and lives to serve our country. I do not care for the politics of war, but I will urge you to keep in mind that we have a volunteer military, therefore, whether or not you support a war, you have to appreciate the millions of men and women who sign on the dotted line to risk their life for millions of other people they do not know.

But if you are a Veteran, I have to ask you: how well are you managing your military wallet? Sadly enough, there are many veterans who, after they leave the service, fall victim to bad financial decisions. They take their separation pay and buy a nice fancy ride, they don’t account for the fact that they will no longer have a housing allowance on top of their income to pay their rent and their medical expenses have become their problems. When combined with the fact that the trauma from having gone to war may have changed their personalities a bit, making it difficult to have stable, full-time employment, it’s a recipe for disaster. Although it should never happen, it’s no wonder many of the brave men and women who sacrifice themselves to serve our country end up homeless.

While I don’t have the cure for all of your financial ills, take some time to read the following advice to help you along.

  1. Plan ahead. Don’t wait until you have your out-processing papers to start planning your career. If you know you’re not signing another contract with the military, there are things you need to decide on in advance. For example, figure out where you want to go. Then, determine how your military skills translate into the civilian world. Finally start looking at what kind of jobs can use those skills. If you wait until your last day to work on that, you might find yourself without a job for a few months before you get a hit.
  2. Save your leave. By accumulating as much leave as you can towards the end of your career, you will be able to use that time to: a) get a lump sum of cash in your last paycheck when you leave or, b) take your last leave and use that time to job hunt and interview
  3. Get all your medical expenses out of the way. You don’t know how long you’ll be without health insurance. TriCare continues 6 months after you leave, but some things may no longer be 100% covered. Get your big check ups, glasses, medication, and any other expensive medical things that civilian insurance doesn’t cover BEFORE you leave.
  4. Take advantage of all benefits offered to Vets. The Federal Government gives preference to military veterans for job applications. They get even more preference if they are 30% disabled or more. Things like existing security clearances can be attractive to all kinds of employers looking for trustworthy individuals. Even some private companies are committed to hiring veterans. Don’t forget that you’re not the only one who can take advantage from these benefits. Your spouse can also get preference depending on your specific situation. Be sure to ask.
  5. Know your rights. In some states, discrimination based on your military status is illegal. Don’t let someone take advantage of you or interfere with your right to adequate housing because of your military service.

Thank you for your service, and the list of some of my favorite resources below.

Feds Hire Vets – Government-wide Veteran Employment website

USA Jobs – U.S. Government master job board

USAA – Financial Service company (They also hire Vets!)

VA  – Veterans Affairs (find information on VA Loans, Healthcare, Pension/Disability payments, GI Bill, etc.)

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