Planting Roots after a Military Retirement: Five Factors to Consider Now

By Alecia D. Blair, Military Saves Communications Associate

It’s often easier to focus on bills, budgets and balances in the here and now. For many, saving for retirement is a challenge because it seems like something for the distant future. However, the best time to think about retirement is today—whatever your age!


The earlier you start saving, the more time you’ll have to grow your nest egg.

Another important part of planning for your retirement from the military is deciding where you should retire, which can be a complicated process. Here are just five factors to consider now when planning where to plant roots.

1.  A Family Affair
Where you settle after retirement will greatly affect your family, so now’s the time to bring them in on this discussion, according to MilitaryOneSource. Spouses and children make a great deal of sacrifice throughout a military career. Retiring from the military could be the perfect opportunity for them to pursue educational and work-related opportunities. Where do they want to live?

Due to permanent changes of station (PCS) moves to military installations all over the country and world, chances are you’ve never lived near your extended family. Now may be the time to consider moving back to your hometown.

2. Logistics of Locales
Does your family prefer sun and warm temperatures year-round or the variety of the four seasons? Would you prefer to live near a military installation to take full advantage of your military retirement benefits, such as use of the post exchange (PX) and commissary? How important is state income, sales and property tax to you? Do you want to live close to an airport? Would you like to live in an area with a thriving arts, cultural and recreation scene?

Answering all of these questions honestly will help you focus in on which region, state and city you want to reside.

3. Job Opportunities
What do you plan to do after you retire from the military? Where are the jobs in your industry? In addition to building a top-notch military-to-civilian resume and networking throughout your career, tracking where the jobs are might be the most important piece to this puzzle. For more information on preparing for your career transition from military-to-civilian, visit: DoD's Transitional Assistance Program and Hiring Our Heroes.

4. Overall Cost of Living
What is the housing market like in your area of interest? How much do you want to spend on housing? Do you plan to buy or rent? A quick online real estate search for housing will help you find answers to these questions. While Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) pay does help offset rises in inflation, considering the cost of housing and other necessities, such as utilities, will help you decide if a particular zip code fits into your retirement budget.

5. Health Care
Access to health care becomes more important as we get older. Is your future home in close proximity to a Veteran’s Affairs (VA) hospital and other quality medical facilities? Understanding your VA benefits and looking at VA locations at will help you make a more informed plan for the future.

Where do you want to come home to after life in the military? Start thinking about this now and make it part of your retirement plan journey. Set a Goal. Make a Plan. Save Automatically! 

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