30 Day Financial Transition Challenge Day 25: Quality of Life

Welcome to Day Twenty-Five of the “30 Day Financial Transition Challenge.”  Today’s article focuses on your quality of life.

Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF) 

While it’s important to focus on the financial impacts of your military transition, you need to balance that focus with some of the non-financial aspects of your life.  Setting expectations for your quality of life will help you establish that balance.

Why?

By now, you’ve probably got a big to-do list.  You’ve also got some serious decisions to make (hopefully).  For example, you might have figured out how much discretionary income you’re going to have.  You may have even decided how much you’re going to set aside for retirement, Survivor Benefit Plan (or an insurance policy, if that’s your decision), college, etc.

However, you also need to look at how your day-to-day quality of life might change based upon your new circumstances.  You also need to set expectations for that quality of life change.  That way, you’ll know when things are no longer in balance and you’ll be able to make the proper adjustments.

If there are trade-offs that need to be made (such as income vs family time), it’s also important to have those trade-offs documented as part of your transition plan.  If you make conscious decisions and record them now, it will be easier to make adjustments later.

Goal

Today’s goal is simply to help you set future expectations for your future quality of life.  You’ll establish a checklist of things that you need to consider, and possible trade-offs that you might have to make.

What you need:  Nothing

How-to:

This exercise consists of a simple checklist of questions to help frame your approach.

  1. What major impacts are happening in your life?  Take the time to record all of them, and define what they really mean.  You’ll want to spend some time on this to really figure out what each of these impacts means to you or your family.
  • What are the follow-on impacts, such as changing schools, new housing, etc.
  • New job responsibilities
  • Taking off the uniform. What does this adjustment mean to you?
  • Change in the amount of family time
  • Change in the amount of income
  1. What priority does each impact take, when compared to the others?
  2. Are there any major purchases or expenditures?
  3. Do you have to make trade-offs (i.e. cut programs for children due to decreased spending)?
  4. Take the time to talk with everyone to make sure they’re on the same page.
  • Are there any concerns, particularly from your children?
  • Is there’s any tradespace (i.e. cutting cable to pay for continued dance lessons)
  1. Are there any major disruptions? If so, is there a ‘get-well’ plan that you can establish?
  • One year plan, three year plan, etc.?
  • Conditions-based goals (i.e. when we complete this move & find a job, we can do XXXX)

Conclusion

By the end of today’s exercise, you should have a good idea of your post-military quality of life, tradeoffs that you may need to make, and an expectation of when things might start feeling normal.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at physical wellness.  When you transition from the military, it’s important to recognize that there’s no one keeping an eye on your physical readiness anymore.  That means it’s completely up to you to make your physical fitness and well being a priority, even during your transition.

About Forrest Baumhover

Forrest Baumhover is a Certified Financial Planner™ and tax professional. His firm, Westchase Financial Planning, focuses on the unique financial planning needs of servicemembers and families looking to separate or retire from active duty.If you’d like to learn more about Forrest or his services, please check out the About Forrest page at the top of this article.
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