The 12 Days of Retirement

Today, an ode to an old Christmas favorite, and some of the new challenges of retirement. Happy Holidays to all!

On the first day of Christmas, retirement gave to me … one grateful nation.

On the second day of Christmas, retirement gave to me … two pack out dates and one grateful nation.

On the third day of Christmas retirement gave to me … three DD214s, two pack out dates and one grateful nation.

On the fourth day of Christmas retirement gave to me … four panic attacks, three DD214s, two pack out dates and one grateful nation.

Need financial advice for retirement? These military-focused books can kick start your retirement planning

We’ve all heard of “What Color is Your Parachute?” and “Who Moved My Cheese?” Both are tried and true guides to starting a new career path, embarking on a new life journey, or just gaining perspective on change in general.

But there’s a whole stack of other great books out there for those who are facing a major transition, some even specifically geared toward military retirees or those leaving the military for other reasons. From finances to benefits to job searches to becoming an entrepreneur, chances are there’s a book that covers it.

Retiring? You have one year of free HHG storage, use it wisely

Moving is the one constant about military life. It’s something we all know will happen every two years or so, sometimes a little sooner, sometimes a little later.


And when that time comes, the military tells us where to go. Sure, maybe we have a say in it, an option to pick the top two or three choices. But, most often, we don’t put much thought into it.


The military issues orders, packs us up and ships us off to the new place.


Military milestones give spouse time to breathe

By Amy Nielsen

My husband and I marked two important rites in our path together this week - our 10-year wedding anniversary and his five-year retirement from the Navy. Both are milestones we both thought we would not make it to – for lots of various reasons.

We married after living together for two years, less than one week before he was to deploy on a nine-month sea tour, and days after his extremely contentious divorce was finalized.

Retiring? Be Ready for Uncle Sam to Dump Your Stuff

At some point in the future, three different moving vans will show up at my house delivering 16,000 pounds of household goods that are currently in storage in Virginia, Massachusetts and Kansas.

I dread that day. My 14-year-old put it pretty aptly when he said, “It’ll be like Christmas, but with a ton of crap.”

Leaving the Military? Take a Paid Vacation First

Guess what? There is a huge retirement benefit out there that I will bet many of you didn’t even know you had.


Careful handling of leave days in the last couple of years before retirement or separation can put you in a position to have paid time off right before you retire. Potentially, months of it.

Upon retirement, every service member is granted what’s called “terminal leave.” Previous to my husband putting in his paperwork late last year, I thought terminal leave was free – meaning it didn’t count against your leave days and was automatically granted.

Retirement Means Letting Go, In More Ways Than One

I am alone in my house right now, a rare thing these days.

The kids are out of school and my husband switched out of his job last month to focus on retirement and out-processing, so he only goes into work for a short time each day.

Which means I went from spending most of my time alone to having three other people in the house, almost constantly.

I love my quiet time. I love being alone. I don’t even mind going out for lunch by myself, or shopping by myself or taking a long road trip with no other company but my iTunes playlists.

Retirement Bliss Awaits, Be Aware of the Unexpected Reality Checks

The retirement process can be a tricky one, between all the paperwork, figuring out your finances, looking for a job and finding a place to live.

Most of the basic information is covered in the transition briefs that service members are required to attend, and, with a little digging, other basic facts can be found on the internet.

Follow the Papertrail to Retirement

As my husband gets closer and closer to his retirement date, and with our pack-out date looming just a little more than a month away, we have been going through and sorting all of our paperwork.

Mountains and mountains of paperwork.

While we casually go through things each time we move and get rid of things like utility bills and the newcomer’s packet we received upon arrival at our current duty station, we have never gone through everything this thoroughly.

Retirement Looms, But I am a Spouse for Life

Slowly, over the past few months, I have begun to pull away from my military life.

I’ve volunteered less, stopped being one of the first to step up and offer help, and my usual quick responses to spouse-related emails have gotten fewer and farther between.

Now, with less than three months left before we leave Germany and go on terminal leave until retirement, I find myself latching on to those last few military events I will get to attend.


For Military Spouses
Apply for the Salute to Spouses scholarship today and begin your education! You’ll be on the way to your dream career.