You are ready to transition. You have spent your days editing your cover letter and resume to perfection. You have done more mock interviews than you can count. Your LinkedIn profile is polished, and you have built a strong network during your time in the Marine Corps. You should be able to find a job in no time. Right?

Even with careful preparation there is no guarantee you will land your dream job right away. It might take time to find employment, or you may end up underemployed. What will you do if your salary does not cover your expenses or you need to rely on unemployment compensation benefits for a period of time?  In the event that things don’t go to plan are you prepared to cover all of your financial needs?

You learned about the importance of a personal financial plan during the Transition Readiness Seminar; now is the time to put it into practice.

Key Questions

You need to be realistic about your future plans. The first step in creating a personal financial plan is finding answers to some tough questions. Things to consider:

  • Will you be losing your Outside of the Continental United States (OCONUS) pay?
  • Are your salary expectations reasonable? What is the market rate for your skills in your geographic area?
  • If you are moving will your new location affect your cost of living?
  • How do you evaluate the total compensation package of a job offer and how it will affect your monthly spending plan?
  • How will your monthly spending be affected by the loss of free healthcare, Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), gym and reduced expenses on child care and groceries?
  • Will you be attending school after the service and relying on the Monthly Housing Allowance to cover all of your expenses?
  • Are you starting your own business? Do you have enough in savings to get you through the initial startup phase?
  • Are you saving for purchases and unexpected expenses? Are you putting aside money for a college fund, 3-6 months in emergency funds, a home or a car?
  • If you are retiring and receiving a military pension, are you prepared for a monthly, reduced paycheck instead of bi-weekly pay days?  How will the loss of those military tax benefits impact your future income?

Who can help?

Installation Personal Financial Management Specialists (PFMs) can help you answer all of these questions and more. They can offer advice on how to increase your savings, decrease your expenses and debt; invest in your future, and assist you with creating a post-service spending plan as a tool to track your financial progress. PFMs will help you set short and long term financial goals and figure out a plan to achieve them.

Schedule an appointment today with your PFM today and make sure you’re not ‘short-changed’ during your transition. Want to learn more? Click here to locate a Personal Financial Management Specialist near you.