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Thread: Advice for military separation

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    #1

    Advice for military separation

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    What is the one suggestion/tip/don't do this/etc you can give for someone interested in separating from the military?

    DH is considering not re-enlisting. I'm completely supportive of this because we are financially very stable and have my career to fall back on if it takes time for him to find a career or if he decides to go back to school.

    It can be anything, anything at all. I'm just trying to get all of our ducks in a row and after making list after list of 'what to get done' I want to know all the little things that fall between the cracks.
    Never do anything halfway unless you want to be half happy.

    Is this a dream? If it is, please don't wake me from this high. I'd become comfortably numb
    until you opened up my eyes to what it's like when everything is right...I can't believe you found me ♥
  2. "If you don't like my attitude, quit talking to me"
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    #2
    How long has he been in, or will be in when his enlistment is up?

    What I tell everyone, will you be able to cover medical insurance, rent/mortgage, and food costs without his allowances? Will he be able to get a job that is equivalent to his base pay + allowances?

    There are 10 types of people in the world, those that understand binary and those that don't
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrishAFSpouse View Post
    How long has he been in, or will be in when his enlistment is up?

    What I tell everyone, will you be able to cover medical insurance, rent/mortgage, and food costs without his allowances? Will he be able to get a job that is equivalent to his base pay + allowances?
    He will be in for 7 years when his extension is up which is in February. He would actually begin terminal leave sometime in December if he decides to separate.

    I'm a nurse (currently an LPN and will complete my RN degree in December. One more semester thank sweet cheezus.) so job security for me is safe. The plan is to move back to SC where I'm from and have total family support. My parents offered for us to live in their old home (they are moving a few minutes away) and only pay utilities for as long as we need. We would most likely buy land (very inexpensive in SC) and build unless we find something affordable and agreeable to us.

    DH is a flight engineer on the Osprey, so continuing his current line of work in the 'real world' isn't much of an option unless he is picked up by certain companies. If those positions are offered to him he will consider them but that is more of an unlikely situation, but is definitely another option for us that wouldn't involve moving back to SC.

    If DH is not picked up for those positions his plan is to use his GI Bill (post 9-11) to attend school full time. He's considering both a forestry/biology degree to eventually work in DNR/park ranger type positions or a degree in nuclear science/technology to work in a nuclear power plant in the town we hope to settle in.

    I'm personally pushing towards school, as we are both creeping up on our 30s and if DH is ever going to go back this is the time to do it.

    Do you have any tips for the actual process of separation?
    Never do anything halfway unless you want to be half happy.

    Is this a dream? If it is, please don't wake me from this high. I'd become comfortably numb
    until you opened up my eyes to what it's like when everything is right...I can't believe you found me ♥
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    #4
    My DH isn't separated, but I was sort of involved with some of the pre-sep stuff at one point.

    Most peopl grossly, grossly underestimate the finances. They fail to look at things like that *huge* tax advantages of a military paycheck when figuring out what they need as a salary in order to keep up a comparable lifestyle.

    Are you sure you can find a job in SC immediately? Will you have to start paying back school loans? Are you truly comfortable living in your parents house and paying no rent for 6-9 months, or more, and can they afford for you to do so? Do you think they are really prepared for it to go on that long if necessary?

    I'd talk to friends and family in the area and use their info to put together a budget. Utilities, gas, car payments (if you'd have them), food bills, etc. Budget every last thing, and see what the numbers look like. Then figure out how much you'd spend on land and building, and what those payments would be like, and add that in as well. Can you cover that, plus any student loans you may have, on a nurse's salary alone (keeping in mind that you'd be paying taxes)?

    Also, take care of medical and dental issues now, and get one last check up before he's out. Even with outside medical insurance, you can end up paying a lot more.

    Have him figure out his terminal leave so he'll know approximately when his last day of work would be. He can start looking for jobs, if he is going to try to work, 30-60 days out from his last day of work (and the start of terminal leave), depending on what sort of work he looks for. If he's very, very lucky, he can start a second job while he's on terminal leave, so he'd be getting two paychecks. If he's not, he'll at least be a couple months along in his search before his pay dries up. And have him stop taking any leave so you can store up as much as possible for terminal leave.
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    Quote Originally Posted by villanelle View Post
    My DH isn't separated, but I was sort of involved with some of the pre-sep stuff at one point.

    Most peopl grossly, grossly underestimate the finances. They fail to look at things like that *huge* tax advantages of a military paycheck when figuring out what they need as a salary in order to keep up a comparable lifestyle.

    Are you sure you can find a job in SC immediately? Will you have to start paying back school loans? Are you truly comfortable living in your parents house and paying no rent for 6-9 months, or more, and can they afford for you to do so? Do you think they are really prepared for it to go on that long if necessary?

    I'd talk to friends and family in the area and use their info to put together a budget. Utilities, gas, car payments (if you'd have them), food bills, etc. Budget every last thing, and see what the numbers look like. Then figure out how much you'd spend on land and building, and what those payments would be like, and add that in as well. Can you cover that, plus any student loans you may have, on a nurse's salary alone (keeping in mind that you'd be paying taxes)?

    Also, take care of medical and dental issues now, and get one last check up before he's out. Even with outside medical insurance, you can end up paying a lot more.

    Have him figure out his terminal leave so he'll know approximately when his last day of work would be. He can start looking for jobs, if he is going to try to work, 30-60 days out from his last day of work (and the start of terminal leave), depending on what sort of work he looks for. If he's very, very lucky, he can start a second job while he's on terminal leave, so he'd be getting two paychecks. If he's not, he'll at least be a couple months along in his search before his pay dries up. And have him stop taking any leave so you can store up as much as possible for terminal leave.

    Thanks you for your response! Stuff like this makes me keep thinking and adding to our list of 'how to' when doing this.

    I'm lucky in that the nursing field is pretty much wide open in SC. There are several jobs posted at each hospital we will be near, some even on floors I'm interested in. The nice thing about nursing is you can always find a job. It might not be the floor/specialty you want, but they are there. I, luckily, have no student loans from my LPN to RN transition, mainly because NM schools are so, so cheap. NM is also a compact state so my license can be used in SC with no additional fees.

    My parent's home is paid off and they have no plans to sell it, mainly because then my Mom would have to clean out the garage. I would be comfortable living there because we would be keeping the house up and because my parents offered it to us without me even mentioning the idea, mainly because I never considered it. They want us to move home so much they will offer just about anything to get us there. DS is seven months old now and being across the country from their only grandchild is pretty much killing them.

    DH is only a Ssgt in the AF so his pay is honestly not what I consider 'great'. I actually made an equal salary as him working as an LPN in 2013, although I stopped working in Oct when my son was born. I've asked friends who are RNs at the hospital I plan to apply to and their hourly wages are comparable to what is offered where we are currently located.

    Honestly, for me, the biggest drawback is insurance. Tricare is just wonderful. I hate the medical where we are currently located, but the insurance coverage is great.

    I'm really hoping DH chooses the school route (which he's leaning towards) because I feel it will give us the greatest reward in the end, plus MAH during his full time schedules.
    Never do anything halfway unless you want to be half happy.

    Is this a dream? If it is, please don't wake me from this high. I'd become comfortably numb
    until you opened up my eyes to what it's like when everything is right...I can't believe you found me ♥
  6. "If you don't like my attitude, quit talking to me"
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    #6
    Villanelle pretty much got it all.

    You say that his E5 pay isn't that great but I am here to tell you, it doesn't seem great while IN the military but once you get out you quickly see how great of pay it really is. What many don't realize is how significant the allowances are. That is a major blow. Which is why I say you have to figure his salary as being his base pay + allowances. So many only consider the base pay and think that is what they need to survive, when in reality its not.

    Medical and housing cost is probably THE biggest thing that has to be adjusted for. So many don't realize how big of a cost that is once you get out. You are getting lucky with not having to pay rent/mortgage, but the medical, that will be a cost that you are not accounting for.

    Getting a job may not be as easy as it seems.

    Hubs retired (currently on terminal leave) and we thought him getting a job would be super easy and quick (given his experience, clearance, education and location) and well... not so much. So, I wouldn't bank on him being able to get two paychecks while on leave. He also cannot apply for govt/fed jobs while he is on terminal, because its considered double dipping.

    We have found during this process that there is just so many expenses you don't think about until its there. Things such as dental (totally didn't think dental would be triple in cost), life insurance costs, etc. Just little things we didn't even think of (and I can't even remember what they are, as we are still in the middle of it all).

    My advice (in addition to all villanelle gave) is think of every worst case scenario and make sure you have a plan for it, or can recover.

    School for him is definitely a good thing. He may be better off doing that then trying to find a job. In the fantasy world, you would have a job right away, he would have a job right away, and go to school. Things would be cheap and easy. But in reality.... its quite the opposite. Jobs are not easy (even in SC), and things cost a lot of money.

    There are 10 types of people in the world, those that understand binary and those that don't
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    #7
    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
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    #8
    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!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrishAFSpouse View Post
    Villanelle pretty much got it all.

    You say that his E5 pay isn't that great but I am here to tell you, it doesn't seem great while IN the military but once you get out you quickly see how great of pay it really is. What many don't realize is how significant the allowances are. That is a major blow. Which is why I say you have to figure his salary as being his base pay + allowances. So many only consider the base pay and think that is what they need to survive, when in reality its not.

    Medical and housing cost is probably THE biggest thing that has to be adjusted for. So many don't realize how big of a cost that is once you get out. You are getting lucky with not having to pay rent/mortgage, but the medical, that will be a cost that you are not accounting for.

    Getting a job may not be as easy as it seems.

    Hubs retired (currently on terminal leave) and we thought him getting a job would be super easy and quick (given his experience, clearance, education and location) and well... not so much. So, I wouldn't bank on him being able to get two paychecks while on leave. He also cannot apply for govt/fed jobs while he is on terminal, because its considered double dipping.

    We have found during this process that there is just so many expenses you don't think about until its there. Things such as dental (totally didn't think dental would be triple in cost), life insurance costs, etc. Just little things we didn't even think of (and I can't even remember what they are, as we are still in the middle of it all).

    My advice (in addition to all villanelle gave) is think of every worst case scenario and make sure you have a plan for it, or can recover.

    School for him is definitely a good thing. He may be better off doing that then trying to find a job. In the fantasy world, you would have a job right away, he would have a job right away, and go to school. Things would be cheap and easy. But in reality.... its quite the opposite. Jobs are not easy (even in SC), and things cost a lot of money.

    To the bolded, which is why I want him to go to school. A job for me will not be an issue as an RN. I literally don't know one graduate who does not have a job, especially if they had prior experience as an LPN. I may not get the floor or hospital I hope for, but getting hired with my experience and awesome resume a friend from here helped we with (Volare ) really isn't even an issue I'm considering. I plan to apply before I complete school through the early hire process to all five hospitals in the vicinity of where we intend to move.

    DH finding a job is another issue entirely. Unless he's hired by a company that uses his specific career field and clearance or a company that uses a more broad interpretation of his career (such as FedEx aviation, etc) he's really out of luck. The more he looks into school the more interested he is in it.
    Never do anything halfway unless you want to be half happy.

    Is this a dream? If it is, please don't wake me from this high. I'd become comfortably numb
    until you opened up my eyes to what it's like when everything is right...I can't believe you found me ♥
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    #10
    Child care! What are you all going to do for that if your DH is in school and you're working hours that don't agree with his schedule? Will your parents or his be able to take care of the baby for you or will you have to do day care? If it's day care I would factor in another $500-700 when you're looking at your monthly budget.
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