Couple hugging each other and smiling while standing in front of a house with an America flag hanging out front. Man is dressed in military uniform.

Tips for Transitioning or Retiring from the Military

By: FINRA Investor Education Foundation Staff

Military service can leave you believing that change is the only constant in life. Take a look at a photo of yourself entering boot camp and compare it with the one your service took of you at graduation. You already changed—a lot. But you need to get ready for a big one. 

Transitions get a lot of attention in the military community, because they help drive advancements, relocations and deployments. Whether you are separating after one hitch or retiring following a long and successful career, your transition from the military should have your full attention, too. Your service thinks it’s important enough to order your participation in a Transition Assistance Program, Transition-GPS or a similar program. Few organizations devote that level of support to departing employees. Take full advantage of the many resources offered by your service during your transition period.

Your transition from the military will usher in many changes in your life. You will likely need to find a job. You may relocate. Your tax bill will probably increase, as once tax-free allowances for housing and subsistence will disappear. You will assume responsibility for many things that you may have previously taken for granted, such as where you live and how you feed yourself and your family. You must find medical and dental care providers. You may need to purchase life insurance, especially if you have dependents and your new employer doesn’t offer coverage. You will need to save for your eventual retirement from the workforce and other financial goals. You need to decide what to do with your Thrift Savings Plan.

Like many successes in life, preparation is key. Here are some tips to ease your transition:

The larger point is that you will always be in transition. Whether it’s a new job, relationship, location or change in status, we are always in transition. No run, ride, drive or flight is the same. But the sum of our journeys makes up the voyage of our lifetime.

For more information about transitioning from the military, visit

"Like many successes in life, preparation is key." Here are tips to ease your military transition > @FINRAFoundation

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