Returning to civilian life after active duty can be confusing and somewhat daunting. Whether you have been in the military for many years or if you have returned home after a grueling tour, adjusting to your previous life is definitely not an easy task. While there is a myriad of questions you need to answer and many issues you need to tackle during this adjustment period, one of the most pressing questions is how to achieve financial freedom for your family.
Achieving financial stability can seem like a huge task for a veteran, but you can achieve it by creating passive income and even returning to the workforce. Most importantly, to achieve financial stability and freedom down the road, you need to make the right investments in your professional and personal realms.
These investments range from setting up a retirement plan to actively investing in real estate, but this can also include upskilling and getting certified to take on a completely new career path. Let’s put the best options into perspective and look at some important life investments every veteran should make.
First and foremost, you need to set up your health insurance, which is especially important for veterans requiring long-term medical treatment, professional counseling, and more. Unless you have been in the service for 20 years and have health insurance through Tricare, you will have to look into health coverage outside of the military. Keep in mind--if you have a medical condition that is a direct result of your time on active duty, you may be eligible for Veteran Affairs health care coverage.
If you’re not eligible for either of these, then private health insurance is the way to go. You can find a plan that works for you through the Affordable Care Act or a new employer. Take your time to learn the key terms like deductibles, copays, coinsurance, and out-of-pocket maximums and how different insurers use them in their policies. You can extend your military healthcare coverage for up to 36 months post-service through the Continued Health Care Benefit Program to buy more time and sort out your health insurance.
The next big move you should make is to invest in real estate as a retired veteran. Due to rapid urbanization across the US and the world--real estate continues to be a thriving sector with many opportunities for long-term professional growth. Becoming a real estate investor allows you to sell properties for a quick influx of cash or rent real estate to business leaders and tenants to create a steady income. Both commercial and residential real estate investing are good options--and you should strive to invest in both over time.
Now, starting in real estate investing is best done with an experienced professional at your side - and by educating yourself first. There are many online platforms where you can learn the ropes quickly. The most -important step is to do your research to find up-and-coming real estate markets and good deals on properties and new developments. Over time, you should diversify your investments into commercial and residential properties--with a focus on sales-oriented and rent-oriented real estate.
Another great way to build financial stability over the long term while actively working is to change career paths through upskilling and online certification. For example, if you were a corpsman or a medic in any military branch-- you might want to pursue a career in medicine and continue helping others in the civic healthcare system.
Now that the COVID-19 pandemic has created a need for highly-trained medical professionals-- investing in advanced medical certification online is a great way for veterans to transition quickly into the healthcare industry and find stable employment. As a medic, you are already familiar with emergency response techniques and practices--now all you have to do is get the right certifications to work in a hospital or private practice.
Because of the pandemic and many other socio-economic factors, the healthcare industry will be booming in the years to come, which is a great opportunity for you to thrive professionally.
When you leave active duty, the first thing that can come to mind is how to ensure a healthy retirement. Naturally, you need money to do so, and you can do it by ensuring a steady cash flow from your real estate and other investments. However, you can also set up a retirement plan in other ways, mainly by saving up over the next few decades.
If you have 20 years of service, you are eligible for regular military retirement and a steady pension. If not, then you should start saving up now to meet your goals when you reach your retirement age. You can do this by opening up an individual retirement account (traditional or Roth), or you can contribute to a 401(k) plan.
Finally, make an investment plan to reduce your debt over the long term. It might not sound like an investment at first, but reducing and eliminating debt is one of the best ways to ensure a financially stable future. Make sure to set up a debt-repayment roadmap, and consider working with a financial advisor to minimize your losses and retain as much of your wealth as possible.
Coming home from active duty can be tough--, and while you might want to deal with other immediate issues first, you should prioritize your finances and long-term stability. Consider making these investments now and over the next few years to build financial stability and freedom.