As we celebrate the Fourth of July holiday with fireworks and barbeques, it is also a time to appreciate the men and women who have bravely served our country in the past, and those who are serving our country today. The United States has just over 21 million veterans across the nation, in addition to active military duty. One of the most difficult transitions that a veteran can face is the transition from military life to civilian life, partly because the difference in employment structure can be night and day.
Corporate America has been increasingly promoting the hiring of employees with military backgrounds for several reasons, from needed skill sets to tax incentives and overall goodwill. However, the efforts seem to end once the employees are hired. According to the Center for Talent Innovation study, “many veterans feel under-utilized, alienated and uninspired in corporate workplaces…nearly two-thirds of veterans said they felt more purpose in the military than in their corporate jobs…many cited far less camaraderie with their teams at work, and those who were no longer leading other people as they had in the military missed doing so”.
Taking the time to adequately prepare for the transition to civilian employment could be key to finding the best fit possible and pay commensurate with that needed to maintain the veteran’s lifestyle. An article titled Onward and Upward states, “Encouraging service members to begin saving for transition well in advance could provide an economic safety net to prevent some of the more extreme unemployment-triggered issues such as health care problems or homelessness, while allowing some the luxury of a more extended job search, potentially resulting in a better initial fit.” Finding the right career path (rather than simply any job) is profitable to both employees and employers in the long run. Saving a healthy cash reserve prior to leaving the military can afford the veteran the ability to go back to school for career training or more thoroughly explore employment opportunities.
In addition to finding fulfilling employment, the learning curve in understanding the change in personal finances can be steep. Although civilian employment may pay higher gross wages, many tax benefits often drop off and the price tag of housing, healthcare, and childcare can quickly devour a new paycheck. However, as outlined on military.com, there are certain benefits that can help veterans navigate civilian life. VA loans can help veterans purchase a home with no down payment in addition to preferential rates and financing. Also, disability compensation, pension programs, job training, and assistance with financial planning or tax preparation can be helpful.
If you would like help navigating your personal finances, call Sharkey, Howes & Javer at 303-639-5100 to schedule a complimentary consultation.