I’ve proofed the second draft of the typeset manuscript, and by the time you read this post the book should be headed for the printing press. The publisher will get it back for a final scrub in 3-4 weeks. If everything looks good then the first print run will start shipping to the distributor for the military exchanges a month or two later. You can now pre-order the book on Impact Publications’ website. If you’re ordering from an APO/FPO or Alaska/Hawaii address then use this overseas order page.
The pocket guide, a 4″x5″ format with 64 pages, is a great summary for transition seminars and conferences. Impact’s offering substantial discounts for bulk orders. If you’re visiting military career seminars or job fairs, you may see their display and have the opportunity to peruse a sample.
Here’s the book’s table of contents, along with rock&roll quotes from a draft (sorry, no audio track):
- (“What’s money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.” — Bob Dylan)
- “Why are you still working?”: the question that started this project
- “Why plan for the future? I could be killed tomorrow!”
- How this book can help
- How to read this book
Chapter 1: Plan Your Post-Military Life
- (“Life’s been good to me so far.” – Joe Walsh, philosopher and Eagles guitarist)
- The biggest obstacles confronting all retirees: healthcare and inflation
- The biggest benefits of a military retirement: TRICARE & an inflation-fighting pension
- Where are all the retirees? How do we ask for their advice?
- What they don’t tell you at the military’s “Transition Assistance Programs”
- Which do you want? An occupation, a bridge career, or an avocation?
- Bridge careers, career surveys & assessment tests
- Myths of military retirement and early retirement
Chapter 2: You’ve Decided to Retire! So Calculate Your Income
- (“You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave!” — The Eagles, “Hotel California”)
- Humor: Things you shouldn’t learn to do before you retire
- The Department of Defense military retirement pay system
- What the Transition Assistance Program can do for you– and what it can’t
- Advance planning
- Financial myths of retirement
- Retirement budgeting & finances
- How much will I need?
- How much can I spend?
- Sample calculations for a warrant officer deciding when to retire under Final Pay
Chapter 3: Start the Year Before
- (“We gotta get out of this place…” -- The Animals
- (“There must be some kind of way out of here…” — Bob Dylan, interpreted by Jimi Hendrix)
- Filing your retirement request
- What to tell your kids, parents, shipmates, & friends
- What to do with your unused leave
- Choosing where to live
- How far away from the commissary, medical, dental?
- Military-friendly states
- Are you a perpetual traveler? What does your family think?
- The expatriate lifestyle– intriguing but not for everyone
Chapter 4: Countdown to Your Final Six Months.
- (“We’ll be takin’ care of business…” — Bachman Turner Overdrive)
- Attending the Transition Assistance Programs (TAP) training
- Self-assessment software & worksheets
- Discharge paperwork
- Medical & dental exams
- Exit interviews and last-minute questions
- Cleaning up the details
- The retirement ceremony
- The command’s farewell
- Saying “See you later” to everyone else
Chapter 5: Retirement for Reserves and National Guard
- (“So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains, and we never even know we have the key…” — The Eagles)
- Another way to get to 20 years for the military pension & TRICARE
- Extended mobilizations
- Avoid these other civilian-military pitfalls
- Health insurance while retired awaiting pay
- The pension starts at age 60, but you can retire right now on savings
Chapter 6: Bridge Career Options
- (“Aw, that ain’t workin’– that’s the way you do it!” – Dire Straits)
- Retiring without a military pension or even the Reserves/National Guard
- The Safe Withdrawal Rate (SWR)
- “How to” examples from Ken and Arif
Chapter 7: Move in the Right Direction
- (“You can’t always get what you want…” — The Rolling Stones)
- Military compensation and the lifestyle
- Start saving now
- Frugal living is not deprivation
- Payroll deductions
- The Thrift Savings Plan, IRAs, and taxable investment accounts
- Real estate: renting versus buying
- Tailor your portfolio to your military pay and to your pension
- The “fog of work” (with apologies to von Clausewitz)
Chapter 8: The First Two Years After Retiring
- (“This is a thing I’ve never known before, it’s called easy living. This is a place I’ve never seen before, and I’ve been forgiven.” — Uriah Heep)
- (“I . Wanna rock & roll. All night. And party ev-er-y day.” — KISS)
- Relax & reconnect
- Taking a long-term perspective– Terhorst’s “two-year test”
- Re-engage with family
- Lifestyles in retirement (the perpetual question: “What do you do all day?”)
- Don’t recreate your old environment
- Forget about who you were: discover who you are
- Dealing with “retiree guilt”
- Volunteering for charity or neighbors
- The inevitable job offers
- Small financial steps
- Healthy lifestyle
- Rebel a little
- Where do you want to go next?
Chapter 9: The Future
- (“Ya know ya got to… keep on rolling…” — REO Speedwagon)
- (“That’s why I’m goin’ to Kathmandu!” — Bob Seger)
- You will change. Your plans may change too.
- Long-term goals
- Find your avocation?
- Paying it forward
- “Who are you with?”: Blowing the job interview of the decade
- Conclusion: Enjoy the journey
- Effect of Inflation on a Dollar
- Saving Base Pay and Promotion Raises
- Retiring on Multiple Streams of Income
- Effect of Inflation on a REDUX Military Pension
- “Present Value” Estimate of a Military Pension
- Asset Allocation Considerations for the Lump-Sum Value of a Military Pension
Chapter & Appendix Notes
Bibliography & Index
If you’ve been reading the blog for the last six months, you’ll notice that just about every subject in the table of contents has also been discussed in a blog post. (The “Recommended Reading” list is updated here.) The book, however, covers them in more detail with all the stories from over 50 servicemembers & veterans who have been there & done that. The book’s checklists came from their experience (and mistakes!). A highly successful Reservist wrote the outline and a number of paragraphs for Chapter 5, including ways to leverage your civilian and Reserve/National Guard careers off each other. Ken & Arif contributed their career stories (military and civilian!) for Chapter 6. The rest of the chapters are filled with examples and advice from over the other contributors.
The pocket guide squeezes the book into 64 4″x5″ pages. That was a pretty painful limit but it gives you a brainstorming boost for a transition-assistance seminar. Impact Publications has seen a great response to earlier drafts of the pocket guide (thanks!), so we’re offering bulk discounts to the military’s transition-assistance programs as well as state Veteran’s Affairs offices.
Now that you’ve seen the table of contents, what other topics would you like to learn about? We’ll discuss them here! The most popular ones will be added to the e-book and future editions.
If you’d like to contribute your own story for a guest post or the book’s next edition, then either comment here or use the “Contact Me” link on the right-hand side of the menu bar just below the waves at the top of the page. Thanks!
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