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I remember years ago when we started this journey that 20 years seemed like forever. We're now 13 years into it and I'm realizing that we only have 7 years to go. WOW that went by fast! One of my biggest concerns as a spouse is what I'm going to do once Kevin gets out of the military. On a personal level - Not only will i miss the installation, the benefits and resources, but I'll really miss the people. On a professional level - now what? I've been doing my thing as a "military spouse" for years now. What happens when we are no longer an "active" part of the service and what will I do for a career? Is this a concern of many of our spouses out there? What are your plans after retirement?

14 REPLIES

You still have 7 years. If you're like most of us you'll still have to work after you leave active duty. this goes for a spouse too. I recommend you find some type of work or hobby that will allow you to meet people outside of the military and that you can build on. Maybe now is a good time to go back to school so you'll be ready to enter the job market. I started my career after following my husband for about 15 years. We made one more move after he retired and I was glad I had a career started that I could build on. We certianly could not live on his retirement with two kids to get through college. Best of luck.
we retired 5 years ago and moved back to Pa where he is from and after getting a good offer for work.We also thought we missed the snow after living most of our 21 years in the South.Well we were wrong; we miss the military community a lot especially the Commissary. The nearest one for us is 4 hours away.We are looking into moving back south close to an installation as soon as this house sells.Since I don't work I can't give you any advice on career or work related things...sorry.
My "Blogmate" Tara Crooks from USAA's Military Spouse Community MONEY MATTERS poses some great questions. A few thoughts: On a professional level - now what? I think it is important for Military Spouses to take some time and think back on all the great things they have done. The speed and pace of being a Military Spouse can blur not only time, but all the activities, experiences, support, and relationships you've made over the years. Make a list of all the stuff you remember doing. For example, did you ever organize a get-together? Did you hold a leadership position in a formal or informal group? Did you help out new spouses in your unit? What did you personally step up to do? What job do you find yourself instantly volunteering to do? Did you ever receive a Letter of Recognition for something you did? Did someone publically thank you for something you did? Did you ever receive a Commanding General's Coin? Did you ever have a situation where a group or individual commented on how well you did something? Did you quietly do something extremely well and just felt great about what you did (with or without being recognized?)? You have some skills you probably have not really thought about. Sometimes these things just sort of happen and you don't pay much attention to how the things you've done translate into benefits for an employer. What can you find in your military spouse experience that can be repackaged as a career? My Wife used to sew her own dresses for Formal Military Events such as; Dining Out. Other Wives used to walk up to her and say, "Wow! You got your dress shipped all the way to Germany in time for this! Did you get that from the Spiegel Catalog?" She now designs Ladies handbags and tote bags for people with disabilities. (It all started and developed from those positive comments from Military Spouse Friends 20 years ago!) Your Military Spouse Friends might already be giving you clues, so pay close attention. What happens when we are no longer an "active" part of the service and what will I do for a career? This is a tough question. The number 1 answer to the question: "What do you miss most about the military?" is THE PEOPLE! Being part of the military is like no other experience. Most folks cannot fully relate to the unique challenges faced by Military Spouses. My best advice is to keep in touch with your Friends after you leave the service. Those who left the service before you can assist you in your transition. You can assist others after you make yours. Networking with Friends and making new Friends is the key. Once you've identified your career path, you can leverage these relationships so that you have some degree of support and can manage expectations along the way. Finding the career that best suits you is the goal. Since your Friends know you well, they can often point out things you might consider as a career choice. "You would make a great_____________? You did such a great job everytime we had to do that while in the military. I'd hire you!" What are your plans after retirement? Planning is the key! Think of how much planning goes into planning a vacation, trip to the grocery store, or managing your life. You must have a personalized plan for after retirement. Consider all the people involved in the decision. Take an inventory of all your skills, abilities, etc. Find out what you're passionate about and explore the possibilities of a career that plays to those strengths. Let's keep the conversation going!
I have to agree with what everyone had to say. I will add that you need to look into what health care coverage you will have and will it be available to where you plan to retire to. You also need to see if there is a Veterans Hospital close by. Being retired ourselves taking advantage of all the military benefits available has saved us money. You may need to take a strong look at where you want to live not for convince to other family members. Things to consider are jobs, education, medical, and the surroundings, ie mountain views, ocean views. With all our moving around it was more important to like the area where we lived than moving back home, closer to family. We love our family but our happiness is very important to us. Besides we get a mini vacation when we visit family.
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You will be amazed to find out how fast the time goes by. In Army terms, 7 years is only 1-2 more assignments. It doesn't have to be a hard transition, but now is the time to start planning for it! If you like the installation and people, think about what career keeps you there. My wife liked to stay connected by teaching at on post schools. There are lots of teaching, medical, and staff positions on on near military bases to name just a few of the opportunities. Plan ahead and good luck!
If you think the first 13 years went by fast, you will be amazed how fast the next 7 (or so) go. In military years, that is two assignments or less. Now is the time to start planning. The most important things are where do you want to live, and what do you want to do, and does one have preference over the other. I like the military communities, and wanted live near one so I could stay involved. I thought I wanted to work as a department of Army civilian, so I started taking assignments that would help further my goals, and made sure I had the necessary education to help me succeed. But those things take time, so planning early is important!
i was not married while in the navy but now i'm a 100% disabled vet. i would likle to thank you. at time didnt realize till now that you guys are bigger then you think you guys hold the family together. my mother recently passed away and the whole family fell apart. my dad was lost very sad and lonely. now i'm married and 2 kids and the same my wife holds the family together. thank you gals for also serving you pay the price as well as us vets.
BE VERY CAREFUL OR DONT DO IT AT ALL WITH USAA.REFINANCE YOUR HOME AND THEIR APPRAISAL FEE OF 350.00 THEY WILL INSURE YOUR HOUSE GETS APPRAISED LOW SO YOU HAVE TO PAY MORTGAGE INSURANCE OR YOU HAVE TO WALK AWAYFROM YOUR 350 APPLICATION FEE.THEY TELL YOU YOU WONT BE CHARGE THE 350 FEE IF YOUR NOT APPROVED BUT THEY WILL APPROVE ANYTHING,THE TERMS OF THE LOAN YOU WONT LIKE OR CAN AFFORD.SO YOU WILL HAVE TO WALK AWAY 350 DOLLARS LIGHTER IN YOUR WALLET.USAA NOT FOR VETERANS THEY JUST SEE A NICE HONORABLE GROUP TO PICK OUR BONES CLEAN LIKE ANY OTHER BANK, YOU CAN REACH ME MY OTHER BROTHERS AND SISTERS IF YOU HAVE SAME POROBLEM OR WANTR TO HELP WE MUST MUST LOOK OUT FOR EACH OTHER!!!!!!
That is an excellent question. Those seven years are going to fly by so preparing now is good thing. I am in the exact situation you worry about. My husband was injured, I cared for him and the kids. That left little time to develop a career. He retired after 21 years and is disabled. We were married the entire time. Shortly after retirement he left me. We are in the process of getting divorced and I will get some monetary support but still need to work. I had a full time job for a short time but was laid off last month. So now I am wondering how to support myself for the rest of my life. Once the divorce is settled I will have to look into returning to school if I haven't found a job. My advice, take care of yourself and plan now.