Today is March 23, which means that tomorrow (March 24) marks 400 days until my retirement ceremony date of May 1, 2017. The other day, I was talking with Jeff Rose, CFP®. Jeff is the creator of the Good Financial Cents blog and principal of Alliance Wealth Management. He’s also a really great guy, whom I met through an introduction by Ryan Guina of The Military Wallet. When I asked Jeff for advice for my blog, he mentioned that I should try to create a countdown to make my personal story more, well, personal. That made me remember that I’ve been horribly remiss in writing my retirement journal, so here we are.
To keep myself on track, I will write in this journal no less frequently than every 50 days (more if something compelling comes up), if nothing more than to count down. I’ll also document things that I’m doing on the military side (i.e. VA physical, benefits, TAP, etc.), and write a separate article on some of the larger ones as I go through them. However, I’ll also document my financial planning milestones, since my post-retirement career is a very important part of my post-retirement life. If nothing more, this should serve to help me put pen to paper on some of the things that I’ve done, so that I have a record. Tip number one: you should do the same, even if you don’t have an audience paying attention to you.
So, this is day 400, and since my last post, here are the military-related things that I’ve done:
- Medical: Continued allergy shots, started getting consults for all of those nagging things that have been bothering me throughout my career, but that I never got around to fixing, such as tinnitus, ankle, knee, etc.
- Enrolled in TAP (scheduled for September 26-30, which puts me at 11 months from my effective retirement date.
- Lots and lots of research. The good thing about writing this blog is that I get to force myself to understand those issues that are going to affect me. You can see the result of a lot of this research in this blog..it’s my forum to share what I’ve learned with a broader audience of people who might be able to use it. The downside is that by focusing so much on my retirement situation, I don’t have enough time to research things in the periphery, such as the upcoming blended retirement plan. I’ll research that in due time, but I probably won’t be the first mover, since it’s not a focus item for the folks concerned about retiring under the current rules.
Here is a synopsis of opportunities that have either come my way, or are targets of opportunity that I’ll keep track of for now.
- Earned the Enrolled Agent designation, which is a huge milestone for me! This means the IRS has recognized me as a tax professional, which I feel will allow me to bring an additional dimension of service to clients, particularly those military clients who may not have access to a tax accountant or CPA.
- Talked with Military OneSource. Military OneSource has contract relationships with fee-only financial professionals who will provide unbiased advice on an as-needed basis to servicemembers and their families in their local area. It’s an opportunity for me to give back to the military community by working with people who could benefit from my advice, and to have some employment in 2017 if needed. However, Military OneSource works with CFP® professionals, so I will circle back with them later this year when I’ve attained the CFP® designation. I’ve had similar discussions with other activities and organizations, but they’re not as far along, so I’ll wait to mention them in a future post.
- Received a first ‘soft referral.’ It’s not a real referral (yet), as the referring planner is still working with this family on a pro bono basis. However, she believes they’re in a position to eventually become paying clients, at which point she would like to refer the relationship because she is focused on pro bono work and speaking engagements. Not a huge opportunity, but little things happen with time, and I’d be more than happy to work with these folks, because I think they have a truly special story. If this happens, and I’m allowed to talk about it (without using real names, because testimonials are illegal in the financial services industry), I will mention it in a future blog post.
- Started a Facebook Group named Military In Transition. I love this blog, and am very passionate about the material that I write. However, it is a blog, which is a one-directional form of communication, and is truly one-dimensional in nature. In my opinion, having an online forum of people with similar interests, goals, and concerns will start the true dialogue that I intend to have. And to be honest, no matter how much I research, I still cannot compete with the people who have been there, done that, in every dimension—branches of service, guard/reserves, geographic location, duty station, family situation, financial issues. Needless to say, the list goes on and on of all the different ways in which you, the broader military community, are better suited to answer a lot of these questions than I am. If you feel this is the case, please pass it on so we can expand this brain-trust and have that true engagement that happens when get past the basics.
- Started tax preparation work for another fee-only financial planner. I think that preparing a client’s taxes is a good way to help them with tax planning needs. With the inefficiencies in the tax system, there is almost always a tax-efficent way to do things…being able to help avoid obstacles starts with being the person who is looking at the returns. Also, I do eventually want to hire a planner to do this work, and working for someone else will help me be better prepared for when I eventually do the hiring.
Over the next 50 days, I don’t think that I’ll get a lot of military retirement-related things accomplished (most items are within the 9-12 month window). However, I have promised myself that I would publish 2 unique articles to Military in Transition, plus a weekly recap of the best personal finance blogs I’ve seen (a total of 3 weekly articles). This means a lot of research to keep abreast of the issues that I need to be aware of so I can provide value to you. Also, I plan to make sure that my Facebook engagement supports the Military in Transition Group page (as well as some of the other communities out there, who are doing great things!). However, my goal for the Military in Transition Group page is for it to develop a life of its own so that it can operate without me.
I’ll expect to post my next update in 50 days, unless something earth-shattering happens sooner. As always, this blog serves to answer your questions and address concerns. If you like this blog, please forward it on to other people who may benefit. If you have issues or concerns, or if you have a question you’d like me to answer, please feel free to contact me or to post a comment to this blog…I read every comment, and will answer every question. Otherwise, you can reach me through my website or via email. In the meanwhile, take charge of your life!