The Next “Military Guide” Book



Some of you know that I write a lot: creating blog posts, drafting the next book, answering reader questions, e-mailing other writers, and posting to Internet forums. I can type over 100 words per minute, and I’ve done it for at least an hour a day over the last 20 years.

I’m also financially independent, and that gives me more control over how I spend my time. I’m not hustling for freelance income or racing publisher deadlines or tweaking the blog for more traffic or working with advertisers. (I’m definitely never writing another point paper on what we should do with U.S. Navy submarines.) I’ve done those things before, and I’d rather do other projects.

The only “challenges” that I struggle with usually involve taking on more commitments than I really should. When you can do almost anything, it’s tempting to cross the line to doing everything. Others could claim that I lack focus. Yeah, that’s a #FirstWorldProblem.

Last month I checked my WordPress dashboard’s “Users” summary. Much to my surprise, during nearly six years of this site I’ve written over 600 posts. Looking at the lengths of most of the posts, I’m pretty confident that’s over a million words. Fortunately we have plenty of search engines to help sort through all those words for the verbiage that will answer your questions. At the very least, readers can browse the title of every post in the archives.

I enjoyed writing those posts, and I’m probably going to write more of them. (Some might claim that I can’t shut up stop myself.) For the next few months, though, I’m going to spend more time writing “The Military Guide To Good Insurance Decisions”. One of the goals of that focus will be creating a better book title. Feel free to nominate one.

Like the first “Military Guide”, this book starts where the benefits websites stop. This is a lifetime guide to using military insurance. It’ll cover how to use a different types of insurance during your military career, your bridge career, and your retirement. It’ll suggest ways that you can use a program to reach financial independence more quickly, or when you should self-insure.

It eases the #1 pain among our military readers: the surprises of the transitions. It’ll guide you through your changing benefits, help you avoid the pitfalls, and show you how to spend your hard-earned money only on the risks that you need to insure. It’ll include dozens of reader examples on how to navigate the jungle.

The current challenge with that book is figuring out where to stop. I’ve pulled everyone’s ideas together into an outline that covers at least three separate eBooks and a much larger hardcopy of 300-400 pages. It’s probably my “focus” problem rearing its ugly head again. Good problem to have.

The book still needs your advice and your stories. Here’s an updated quote from an older post:

  • Why were you glad that you’d signed up for an insurance program?
  • Did you or your family use your insurance to survive a personal disaster?
  • Did you learn some obscure aspect of a program through bitter experience, and you wish everyone knew about it?

I can share your advice & stories however you want. You could use your real name or a pseudonym. You could send me an e-mail with a few paragraphs, or some bullet points, or a draft chapter. Write as much as you want, or I can interview you. If you’re in the business then let me know about recommended products or services that I can list in an appendix.

I’ll crowdsource the book’s editing and proofreading, too, and volunteers are welcome! You don’t need any experience in those areas, other than pointing out my dumb mistakes. I’ll share the draft chapters and the layout/formatting and the cover design (yes, eBooks have covers too). Let me know if you want to help with that as well.

If you’ve already sent me your advice and stories, then mahalo nui loa hana hou! I have everything on file and it’s mostly inserted in the outline. When I finish a draft chapter you’ll have a chance to see how everything turned out.

What do you get for all of your effort? Well, there’s always the warm glow of self-fulfillment that comes from paying it forward. (It’s one of the reasons I write.) Another generation won’t have to repeat our mistakes. You’ll get a free copy of the book as a PDF or a MOBI file, and you’ll be able to read valuable advice along with other interesting stories. And finally, you’ll get a vote on what military-friendly charities will receive the royalties. Although you might help me write the book and I’ll put hours of labor into it, none of us will benefit financially. It’ll be an unbiased assessment with no sponsored content, affiliate links, or cleverly-disguised marketing.

There are no deadlines, but the sooner you send me your input then the more impact you’ll have on the eBook.

I’m still going to write at least an hour a day, but I’m going to write for the blog less often. It’ll probably be one or two posts per month.

There’s also a logistical reason that I’m writing fewer blog posts: I’m going on travel for three months. Some of that time will be spent in Charleston SC visiting our daughter. My spouse and I will spend another six weeks wandering Barcelona, Italy, and a few other parts of Europe with friends. We’ll “come home” to Charleston for a few more weeks with our daughter (bringing our dirty laundry and eating all of her food– just like the college years!) and then we’ll work our way west to FinCon16 in San Diego. (There will be surfing.) We’ll probably be back on Oahu by October.

I’ve learned from previous trips that blogging on an iPad2 really sucks. This time I’m doing it with a second-hand iPad Air 2 and the latest WordPress app, so maybe formatting a post from the road will be a pleasant surprise. If it is then I’ll include more pictures!




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WHAT I DO: I help you reach financial independence. For free.

I retired in 2002 after 20 years in the Navy’s submarine force. I wrote “The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement” to share the stories of over 50 other financially independent servicemembers, veterans, and families. All of my writing revenue is donated to military-friendly charities.

  1. Reply
    peter gregory July 4, 2016 at 9:33 AM

    Insurance vs SGLI vs SBP

    A few years before I retired I had to get my insurance house in order. To be honest the thought of handing over 6.5% for at least 30 years to SPB for 55 cents on the dollar never appealed to me. In full disclosure my wife is a school teacher with a defined benefit plan from the state, manages her own investments, does better than me in that regard. Collectively with 38 years of investing with Vanguard. The house is in order. A thumb nail sketch of my situation in 2016 if I did pay the SBP premiums on $4750.00 a month retirement that would have been $308.00 a month, I would not be “paid up” in the system till I was 82 and 115K less, at least, compensated by my calculation. 30 years of COLA not withstanding.

    Each retiree situation is different, SBP vs any other options must take in factors of relative health, disability matters, family history and important matters on personal financial status and cash flow matters post retirement. The election of, or not of SBP, is a personal decision and not one size fits all approach pounded at most TAP classes may not apply to all. But if one does not elect SBP one must also ensure you are not exposed in other insurance matters, and one needs to factor at what point is the “break even” point of SBP premiums , survivors yield, vs. other forms of life insurance or income sources. I needed to cover that “gap” between my military retirement and hers from the state at age 62. God forbid I get hit by a car or other acts of nature in that time period. USAA fit the bill.

    Still needing to settle the life insurance matter came to a decision on a 20 year level term policy from USAA vs. a continuation of SLGI under the VA system. I found the premiums for the SGLI concept post retirement cost prohibitive and non-competitive in the private market. To make a long story short I settled on a 20 year level term 600K policy from USAA for $675.00 a year. I will live with that as that takes me to 68. I plan to claim SS at that point, the spouse will be retired, all other life expenses pretty much much behind us and I will assess our needs again at that point. Again, what my situation is or will be does not apply to all. But as the DOD moves into this ‘blended’ hybrid defined/contributory model the relative merits and values of the traditional SBP will be a discussion for another day.

    • Reply
      Doug Nordman July 4, 2016 at 10:33 PM

      Thanks, Peter, I’ll add your comments to the draft!

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