Are you a veteran transitioning out of the active duty military service? If so, you're probably wondering how you're going to make ends meet. It's not easy to find a job when you don't have any civilian workforce experience, and even if you do find a civilian job, it's likely to be lower-paying than what you're used to.
But don't worry - there are ways to make the transition easier. Here are four tips for veterans in transition to learn a better financial strategy:
Retrain Your Mind To The New Reality
When service members leave the military, you'll likely still think in terms of service because that's how we're trained. The problem with this mindset is that it can't work for civilians.
The system just won't work that way. Civilians can't care about service when most are really concerned about survival and consumption; sorry, they care about money. You need to change your mindset to think in terms of money, not duty.
Understand how the job market and business world works, and what you need to do to sell yourself. The sense of duty comes when you find your own path to do this meaningfully and ethically. Most don't.
Develop Your "Ex Military Personnel" Brand
You'll also need to develop your image and brand so that people will trust you and want to work with you. This requires a complete rebranding process. When working with businesses, you may have to do some in-depth research. For example, if you're working in sales, figure out which specific sales techniques work the best in your region of the country.
But always remember, the point of branding is to be unique. Don't fall into the trap of looking like every other veteran. You must clearly define why you are valuable to those who will be paying you, employer or customer, if your resume or LinkedIn looks like everyone else you'll get lost in the shuffle.
Get Some Experience Before You Job Search
Don't get tunnel vision and immediately start applying for jobs just based on your military experience. The time to jump is when you've already taken a few years and built up some experience working within the field, and you can demonstrate it on your resume or already have business income.
People pick out resumes quickly, so if yours looks too general or broad, that can be a red flag. Use modern networking tools like LinkedIn to build a professional network and get totally random career advice. Don't have an agenda as you learn about all the possibilities to define employment in your own terms.
Or here's a crazy idea. Offer a veteran small business owner who you'd like to support to work for free. Tell the hiring manager you just want to learn as much about anything as possible. The low hanging fruit here is to learn SEO or YouTube and help that entrepreneur. How do you think you found this article... just saying 😉
Redefine Your Income
Start seeing yourself as an entrepreneur and recognize that this is your opportunity to take control of your finances, grow your wealth, and start making the kind of money you deserve so you can achieve more of what you want out of life - whether it be spending time with your family or doing things you love. The key is to find a job that has financial rewards but doesn't take up too much of your time, allowing you to pursue those other interests as well.
Overall, remember that this is an opportunity - not a problem. Stay positive and strong, and realize that it's scary leaving the military and going into the civilian world. But with a little thought and effort, you're going to find success within your new career path.
Create Your New Orders
Military transition is about a lot more than just getting a new job. It's about finding a new calling and finding a way to make enough income so that you can finally spend your time the way you want. The secret is to redefine the language surrounding military transition, creating new opportunities which ultimately lead to higher income.
But higher income alone won't ensure your happiness. You must define the language for yourself. Unfortunately, money can be a distraction if we either don't have enough of it, don't have access to it, or blindly seek too much of it. We solve these problems by aligning your Veteran financial advantages with your journey to finding a new career.
Institutions Create Soft Language
Have you ever heard of the swear jar? It's a device that is meant to assist people in breaking their habit of swearing: whenever you say a curse word, you must put money in the jar.
It is based on the notion that no one wants to waste money for no good cause, yet if you are a veteran who is sticking to the traditional pattern of saving for a nebulous goal like "retirement," you are in fact doing precisely that.
And, your money may be “safe” in a retirement fund, but if you can't touch it until you are 65, then what you are throwing away is not money as money but money as opportunity. That's why today I want to propose that we add two new words to the list of “bad” words we need to stop using: military-transition and retirement.
The language that we use is so important. Language is not just about how people communicate; language goes on in your head. Language describes the reality around us. Language creates thoughts, and thoughts are your reality. So what kind of reality are we creating with words like military transition and retirement?
The word military is synonymous with combat, warmongering, fighting. It's an abrasive term, it's very limiting. Why would we attempt to use a word to describe ourselves individually that really describes the entire population of people?
When a person is leaving the military, we're talking about just one person — an individual veteran. What does that individual veteran want? Who is that individual veteran? Transitions suck — transition is about change, and for many, change is synonymous with uncertainty. Fear comes up. The words we are using — military transition — are literally creating fear and uncertainty. Look how people talk about this transition process.
You can see it all over LinkedIn. It just seems so damn scary, going to job fairs and watching military guys put on a business suit, another uniform, and this one they don't know how to wear properly. They look very uncomfortable. They're walking around with resumes that look exactly like the resume of the guy next to them, hoping that they're gonna get a job with one of these companies as a data analyst or project manager.
It's scary because of the tremendous amount of uncertainty. Transition is bad language. It offers zero motivation or guidance for self-discovery and self-leadership.
You Define How to Get Out of the Military and Be Successful
Retirement is just as bad. Retirement is an end. What for? That's boring. We can do better than that. We must do better than that. If we're not careful, we're going to lose the liberty that our forefathers gave us.
Retirement is not life. Retirement is not liberty, and retirement is not pursuit. Veterans need to continue to grow. The most successful people in the world don't stop. Why would we stop?
But in order to do that, we need to get educated about our finances. We need to ask more than how to get out of the military and be successful. We need to start thinking of money not just as something we need to keep our heads above water from month to month, or as a nest egg for later, but as a tool of empowerment, an instrument of liberty.
At US VetWealth, we provide guidance an expertise to help you become autonomous and to help post-military career families live a civilian life of intention.
If you want to stop talking about transition and retirement and start talking about leadership and service, then contact us to talk about the unique opportunities you may have available to you that will give you the financial freedom to transition to a new mission when you leave the military.
A better financial strategy to support the process of leaving the military
It's a framework that creates new opportunities which ultimately lead to higher income for you, but it also solves problems in three areas:
1) Having enough money
2) Accessing your money
3) Blindly seeking too much money
This is not just about getting a new job after leaving the military - it's about finding a way to make enough income so that you can finally spend your time they way you want.
Get The Most Out of a Successful Military Career
So what can you do to make the most of your military skills and transition into a successful civilian career? Start by thinking about what you want, not just what you're afraid of. Don't be limited by language or definitions imposed on you from the outside. redefine the language surrounding military transition, creating new opportunities which ultimately lead to higher income.
But higher income alone won't ensure your happiness. You must define the language for yourself. Unfortunately, money can be a distraction if we either don't have enough of it, don't have access to it, or blindly seek too much of it.
We solve these problems by looking at money as a tool of empowerment, an instrument of liberty. At US VetWealth, we provide guidance an expertise to help you become autonomous and to help post-military career families live a civilian life of intention.
If you're interested in learning more about how we work, schedule a discovery call with me.