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Thread: Advice for military separation

  1. "If you don't like my attitude, quit talking to me"
    TrishAFSpouse's Avatar
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    #11
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    I wouldn't say his job is overly specific. Sometimes a clearance alone will get him a job anywhere.. but that could take time. It won't happen overnight.

    rocket_lizz brought up another good point... if he really is going to get out in Feb, then he need not wait until his terminal leave to start looking for a job (if he is going that route). My husband started 6 months prior to the start of his terminal leave networking. Even though he is still looking, our situation was a bit different, but that early networking has helped him.

    There are 10 types of people in the world, those that understand binary and those that don't
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    #12
    Quote Originally Posted by rocket_lizz View Post
    You've gotten great advice already but I'll share some stuff that DH and I discovered:

    1) Network for him! It's not too early for him to make a linked in profile, start connecting with veterans organizations, get in touch with recruiting companies for jobs. DH did a special 3 week long "job boot camp" thing during his terminal leave and it was completely instrumental in him finding a career level position.

    2) Decide if you're willing to not live in SC. Like you said, your DH doesn't have much that'll translate to civilian jobs but on the off chance he gets a great offer for a job somewhere else - will you move? DH and I decided we were 100% not going to leave SD as I was doing well career-wise and that made job searching take longer for him, but it was worth it to us.

    3) School applications are a bitch. It's super easy to say "Oh DH can just go to school" but in reality it's super complicated. Does he want to transfer any of his military experience? Very few school accept it. Does he want to go to a traditional brick and mortar school? Applications for Fall 2015 will close approx this upcoming October. Has he taken the ACT/SAT? Does he want to do online classes? Can he find an accredited school? Can ya'll afford to pay the tuition out of pocket if the GI Bill is slow about paying the school? I REALLY wanted DH to go to school and in the end it was just easier for him to take a job for now. I would keep in mind, too, that forestry positions often pay crap. Out here in SD there are a ton of openings and they all pay like 12$/hr, which for living in SD, is barely anything. Nuclear would be the way to go, imo.

    4) The process with the VA is a huge PITA. They SAY you can get medical care there but really it's almost impossible unless you are dying. (And even then... just look at what happened in Phoenix) so I wouldn't depend at all on your DH having access to the VA to cover his medical; he'll need insurance too.

    5) People will expect you to suddenly have all this free time now that the military isn't controlling your lives. Learn to say no
    Thank you!

    I plan to carry insurance so I'm hoping the VA won't even factor in. Our VA in Columbia is crap, I actually don't even plan to apply there unless I have to.

    We do have a very significant savings that can be dipped into for school. We have no real 'bills' other than DH's truck payment which is $350/month and our cell plan. We have no CC debt at all, my vehicle will be paid off by the time of separation and we currently live on base so no rental or mortgage (or house to try to sell thank goodness).

    DH completed one year of school before joining the military that is still considered eligible for transfer that he plans to try to have accepted for credit. He will be going to a brick and mortar school, most likely USC in Columbia. He hates online classes as much as I do. He will be making an advisement appointment for the week we will be going home in July and plans to begin classes in May for their summer semester if he decides to go the school route. That will also give us time to find permanent childcare and allow me to work any overtime/training hours needed when we initially move back and I begin work.

    Honestly, no I don't want to live anywhere other than SC. If DH got some crazy job making a crapload of money somewhere else of course we'd consider it, especially since I can work anywhere. In all actuality, we want to get out to move back near family. DH's family all live in FL and OH so SC is a nice median between all of them and exactly where he wants to live as well.
    Quote Originally Posted by Scoobysgal View Post
    Just to echo PP, make sure you're taking BAH into account because that's not something that shows as taxable income on his W2. DH was surprised when I pointed out that he was really making $12,000 more a year than he thought because he was forgetting BAH wasn't included, although if your DH does school I guess that won't be an issue. And be prepared for insurance to cost upwards of $300-400+ a month. We thankfully use TRS but at DH's civilian job it would cost us $350 a month for just health insurance with a high deductible, there were some plans that were more like $500. Good luck whatever you all decide to do!!
    Good advice! I probably wouldn't have thought of it but our CDC uses his full allowances (including flight pay and BAH) to combine a total income for their sliding scale of pay. That's really the only reason I know his full total pay allowances included, so I'm glad I used them last semester.
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  3. Dancing Backwards in High Heels
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    #13
    DH never technically "separated" but since he's NG and came home from deployment, I can share a little of our experience. Like Rocket_Lizz said, school with the GI Bill is a PITA. They are late with payments and the paperwork is a bitch. Also, for whatever reason, it only covers 60% of DH's schooling, and there are all sorts of exceptions with the different "fees" schools charge. Also, if he needs anything for school other than books (ie-DH is a mechanic, he had to buy tools) they did not cover that.

    Couple things on emotions he may go through - with school: DH is about 5+ years older than all of his classmates, which made it hard for him to connect/make friends with them. He often gets frustrated with the classes he has to take. He explained it to me that in the Army, they train you to do your job, they don't train you to do your job AND try to make you a "well-rounded" person. (He hated his gen-eds, they wouldn't give him any "life experience" credits)

    With being out of the military: It was a little hard for DH to transition into the "real world" when he got back and had to go back to his civilian job because he liked the structure that the military provided. He was only a SPC at the time of deployment, but that still came with a certain amount of respect, and he missed that.
  4. "If you don't like my attitude, quit talking to me"
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    #14
    day care is a huge expense. The CDC is generally far cheaper than civilian day cares. So I would increase whatever you are paying the CDC by about 30% at the least.

    Like others said, write down your entire budget and expenses. This should include groceries, gas, child care, diapers/baby food, toiletries, cleansers, bills (all bills - utilities, loan pmts, car pmts, cable, phone, internet, etc), entertainment (movie rentals, going to movies, dinners out, etc), savings allotment (how much you put into savings), misc (anything that isn't in another category that you spend), medical and dental (What you will be paying when he gets out).

    from all of that you need to determine if you can survive on your pay alone. Because his MPH will only be during times he is full time school.

    There are 10 types of people in the world, those that understand binary and those that don't
  5. MilitarySOS Jewel
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    #15
    If you want my humble opinion.

    I think you are in an awesome place for him to be considering separating. To me, it sounds like you're being very realistic and considering all your options and are aware that it isn't always a smooth transition.

    I just have a few thoughts.

    1. I agree, once you have your RN, you'll easily find a job (especially with your previous LPN position). You've lived and worked in SC, you know the job market, plus you have connections there. You obviously have already started looking for jobs, and I think that with you willing to work on any unit, you'll have no problem getting your foot in the door (to move to another unit, if you wanted). I personally would look into bigger hospitals as their pay and benefits are more competitive. If you want a little peace of mind, we lived (very nicely, with vacations) on my RN salary alone (and I had just started out) and used my health/dental insurance. We weren't transitioning from one salary to another, but living off of an RN Salary is definitely doable.


    2. Your parents are offering you a HOME to live in. Housing is such an issue for those getting out and honestly, who could ask for more than what your family is offering. Knowing what you've told me about your family, their offer isn't "loaded", I truly think they are simply being generous and perhaps, bribing you to come home so they can see you! I would make sure you know exactly what is expected of you (maintenance, bills, etc.) so you can prepare your budget. I'd also discuss the amount of time they will allow you to stay, if they have future plans on selling, etc.

    3. If he uses the post 9/11, doesn't he get BAH and such with that since he is the service member? If so, that is only an extra boost. Him getting his degree done sooner can only benefit you, the sooner his degree is done, the sooner he can get to work. My only suggestion is for him to start narrowing down his school choices and make a list of application deadlines (if he plans to start in January), some schools have really early deadlines and you'd hate for him to miss a semester over something like that! I used part of my DH's 9/11 GI bill for my Masters and it really isn't that difficult to use. There was a delay for the payment of my first course, but that was due to a zip code error, but it can happen. The VA fixed it immediately, but I'd plan to have some savings set aside.

    4. I would definitely run the numbers of what he is TRULY making (take home) and then compare it to your expenses. Consider day care costs, etc.

    I know this has got to be such a scary time, but I think you're doing it right. Granted, I've never been in this situation, so take my thoughts with a grain of salt.

    ETA: Check out YNAB (You Need a Budget), it is an awesome program to really help you sort out your budget. https://www.youneedabudget.com/ Might help you run all the numbers.
    Last edited by Volare.; 05-29-2014 at 11:53 AM.
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    #16
    Even if you add in the allowances, adding pay plus allowances won't give you an accurate picture of what he'd or you'd need to make. Allowances aren't taxed. So if he makes $40k (picked for easy math in my head!) in pay and allowances now, he takes home a lot more than $40k from a civili4n job. If 1/4 of his pay (so $10k) now is allowances and you are in a 25% effective tax bracket, he is taking home and keeping $32,500. (Thats 75% of 30k plus the fill 10k of allowances with nothing taken out for taxes). At a civilian job, that $40k is all taxed, so he'd only keep $30,000. And of course, if he gets tax free pay during deployment, that's another huge issue. And that doesn't even take in to account things like losing commissary shopping, cheaper gas on base, free access to a gym, and all the other little things people fail to account for.

    I don't want to sound all doom and gloom. It sounds like you are very confident about your job prospects. But just make sure you run the real numbers, with all these little details like increased grocery costs without the commissary and paying for a gym and for childcare, so that you are prepared if it is going to be lean living for a while.

    And if he wants to start school in the Spring, he needs to take his SAT pronto. It might already be too late. So have him look into the deadlines for the schools he's interested in, and work backwards to figure out what is realistic. SAT results take a while to get back (at least they did in the stone age when I took it, but perhaps they are faster now) and if he wants to do any studying or prep, he needs to factor time in for that. His earliest chances is probably summer 2015, if they allow students to start in summer, and if not, he'd be looking at Fall 2015, unless he can maybe do a community college until then and then transfer. (Be careful with that though as most schools limit the number of transfer units so he'll want to make sure he doesn't go over the limit.)
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  7. "If you don't like my attitude, quit talking to me"
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    #17
    again agree with villanelle... on everything.

    Run the numbers... you don't realize what we take for granted until you start running numbers. Everything on base is free, that will no longer be the case.
    Right now you don't pay anything in utilities. Living in your folks home is just like living on base (as far as no rent), however, you now have utilities that you didn't have before. You now have increased groceries, day care, insurance. All of these things add up. So while it looks fine and dandy you won't know for sure until you run the numbers.

    There are 10 types of people in the world, those that understand binary and those that don't
  8. Team Rocket
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    #18
    Very good advice from PPs about money too For example:

    When DH was still in, we were making about 66K combined before taxes, including BAH. Now we make about 92K combined before taxes, and our standard of living is slightly lower because health/dental/vision insurance is so freaking much (around 120$/week for the 2 of us not including copays), and taxes are always more than you expect. We don't have military discounts on car insurance or cell phone plans anything anymore either so that increased those. We spend a lot more on food because DH can't just eat at the ship and he's required to eat in his companies cafeteria, which is not super cheap (about 40$/week). It's definitely better to over estimate how much money you'll need
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  9. MilitarySOS Jewel
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    #19
    I forwarded you an email I got today... If you sign up for GI Jobs you can access a military to civilian pay calculator. Not sure how good it is, but here is the link from the email:

    https://www.gijobs.com/sign-up/?redi...ay-calculator/
  10. Meet me underneath the Oklahoma sky
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    #20
    DH and I are in this process right now (he is on terminal leave). I also a nurse. I went home 6 months early and DH moved in with a friend and split rent. So we were able to save all of his BAH and most of his pay. He was in 6 years and is an E6. It's really been pretty nice with him getting out so far. I was able to get a job and start working within 2 weeks of returning home. We live in a renovated garage apartment my in-laws have and pay no rent or utilities (just internet). We are planning on living there till DH is done with school. He has been able to line up odd jobs so we will still have additional income on top of his GI bill.

    I will have to say we saved up a ton of money. And like you, insurance was my only worry. But other than constantly fighting with Tricare because DH can't get care until he gets on my insurance, it's been pretty easy and he is so much happier.

    PM me if you have any questions.
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