About Face: When is it Time to Retire?

Many of us have asked ourselves that question for years. Do we (I say “we” meaning the active-duty member and the spouse, since it is a joint decision) leave at 20 years? Stay in for 25? Retire after three years at the highest rank?

Or just forget about retirement altogether and leave the military after five years, or 10?

About Face: Preparing for Military Retirement The First Decision: Where to Live?

Transitioning out of active-duty service brings with it a myriad of challenges, whether you’ve been in the military – or married to it – for two years or twenty years.

The questions are endless, but the two biggest ones are these:

Where we will live?

How will we support ourselves?

My husband is retiring in August after 26 years of active duty. While we had talked many times about what we would do when that day comes, we really only started thinking seriously about it a little over a year ago.

The Long Wait After the Job Interview

When my husband retired from the Army, we both hit the job hunt trail.

We each fired resumes to dozens of employers and within weeks had several interviews scheduled.

After my interview at the job that was number one on my wish list, I waited about 48 hours before I received the, “you got it” phone call.

My husband’s first choice job? He waited a week. Then, 10 days. So he emailed the recruiter to see if there was anything else he could provide to help the process.

No, the recruiter assured him. You would be hearing from them within the week.

Retirement Chronicles : Your Benefits are Changing

Military retirement pay is changing.

This week President Obama sent a letter to congressional leaders signaling support for the 15 recommendations drafted by the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission in January.

While the president didn't specifically endorse the changes, change is coming.

Overall, the recommendations would drop military retirement pay by about 20 percent. To close the gap, troops will be offered a traditional retirement account.

JROTC – Leave the military without leaving the military

After 20 years of putting a uniform on every single day, you might think your family is ready to finally be free from military life. But, it’s a hard transition to make.

The JROTC program allows retirees to continue serving in uniform, but leave behind deployments, months’ long training and other trappings of traditional military service.

Becoming Former Military, It is Looming, For All of Us

Our neighbors have just a few weeks, and they are leaving the Navy.

They are finished with their time.  They are at the end of their contract.  The jig is up, as they say.

It’s kind of shocking to hear them talk about it.  To know they’re moving back to Pennsylvania and the home they’ve been renting out for years.  To hear them discussing schools for their kids and whether they need to sell one of their cars before or after they move back.

Changing the Old Guard

“We don’t get a lot of those guys.”

That’s the response I hear over and over from veterans who fill the roster at our local VFW, American Legion and Disabled Veterans’ Association.

Those guys. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans. Young members. All of the above.

Retirement Chronicles: Unpacking, forever

Like most military families we’ve moved, a lot. Eight times in 15 years.

Retirement Chronicles: Forever Young, For Now

You know what is awesome about military retirement? We are nowhere near old enough to fit the profile of the typical retiree.

Young privates who check my military ID at the gate do a double take to look at the box marked : RET. I secretly say a silent 'thank you' to the universe for insuring that I do not yet look like a retiree caricature.

Retirement Chronicles: Changes

Retirement, before age 40. Sweet, right? Military members who join at 18, or like my husband who joined at age 17, can enjoy the carefree life of retirement long before their civilian counterparts.


For Military Spouses
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