I hope you liked last week’s interview with Spencer Baker. If you missed it, you can catch it here. Please feel free if you think I need to make changes to this interview format. This week’s interview is with my wife, Tania. Tania’s the best person I’ve ever known. If it weren’t for her, I’m not sure I would have ever found someone who would be able to put up with me, much less be my soul mate. So, even though it might seem like a cop-out, there’s probably not another person whose opinion I’d rather have out there, for people to resonate with as they’re going through their own transition.
My Interview With Tania
1. What’s your military background? Career, family, etc.
I’ve been married for 15+ years to a Naval Supply Corps Officer. We have 3 kids, 11, 8, & 8. I used to work in commercial real estate, but became a stay-at-home mother when our oldest child was born. I went back to work about a year ago as a veterinary technician.
2. Tania, what is it that you want to do (or did you want to) after you leave active duty? Or, if you’ve already transitioned, did you end up where you wanted to be?
When we moved to Tampa, we had been considering this to be a tour where we could either stay in or retire. With that in mind, we moved to a community which we thought would be easier to retire into. I have a good friend from our last duty station who had retired, and became very good friends with everyone in our wardroom. However, we all left eventually, and she felt ‘left behind.’ I did not want that to happen to us, and that was part of the decision not to live in Fish hawk, which is the predominantly military community for MacDill AFB.
3. What is it about your service experience that you think has best prepared you for your transition?
The adaptability that everyone is forced to develop over a military career. You constantly have to make new friends. For example, the people who have lived in the same neighborhood for 30 years have never had to meet new people or do other uncomfortable things. Being in the military allows you to be more comfortable stepping out of your comfort zone.
4. Think of the most challenging part of your life to this point. What is it that you did that helped you through it?
The hardest was having the twins while my husband (you) were deployed to Africa. Including my oldest, I had three kids that were three and under, and we were living in Italy at the time, so I couldn’t even rely upon my family. I consider myself an independent person, and this was the first time that I really had to depend on other people for help. I learned how to ask for help.
5. On a scale of 1 to 10, how confident are you (or were you) in your financial situation as you transition?
Three. Most people who are transitioning from the military are transitioning into a paying career. Creating your own business means that income is not a sure thing. With that said, we have some time until we transition, and we do have savings set aside (as well as our pension), and we have a solid plan. However, as most military folks are apt to do, we do still spend a lot of time thinking about the uncertainty of starting a business, in this case, a financial planning practice. (Yikes! How are we going to make it?)
6. What’s (or was) your biggest fear about your transition?
Resolving the income gap that will start the month after we retire.
7. If you had one question that someone could answer (or could have answered) for you (not doing something for you, but a question that they could answer), what would it be?
What’s going to happen in the future, and are we prepared for it? For example, we’re healthy now, but would we be prepared for a major life-changing event?
8. What would you like to see “out there” that doesn’t exist, but if it did, it would solve a big problem for you, and other people like you?
I wish there was a book that was specifically written to help military spouses better understand all of the personal finance issues that affect our lives. (Sounds like a good idea).
9. Which person has helped you through your military career and/or transition the most?
Forrest Baumhover (this isn’t really a fair question, since I’m interviewing my wife).
10. Do you want to be contacted by people who think you might be able to help them? If so, how do people get in touch with you?
Sure. They can get a hold of me on Facebook. I help try to monitor the traffic on Military in Transition’s Group, just to keep out the trolls and spammers. Feel free to PM me if there’s anything I can help with!
I hope you liked this interview with Tania. It seems pretty cheesy for me to interview my wife for this article, but you’d be surprised how long Tania and I spent trying to figure out the answers to some of these questions. I promise, I will try to have more interviews with military spouses, but that really depends on how many people I can get for interviews. If you’d like your story to get out there, please feel free to reach out through the Military in Transition Facebook Group, or feel free to send me an email.