Photo Credit: Fort Bragg, Creative Commons, no changes
Some people get out of the military with a safety net: their spouse with a stable income. But oh no, not you and yours. You two are thrill-seekers, risk-takers and are probably mutually terrified. Welcome, my dual-military compatriots. All will be well for those who plan well.
Let’s first talk about some of the challenges and we will look at ways to overcome them.
The number one destabilizing element in a dual-military transition is the sudden lack of household employment. You know, the whole absolutely no income thing. I’m sure your service has counseled you on the economy and such. They may have even succeeded in terrifying you, just a little bit. It’s going to be OK. It’s not that they’re wrong, it’s that they don’t know how well you’ve planned.
2. Start early, save up.
Get those resumes beautified; research what you want to do for income. Take a look at your financial needs to establish how much your family will need. Put some dough away in the bank and take a good look at the unemployment application process for your state.
If you are living in base housing, this is even more challenging because you have to beat feet the moment you are no longer active duty. Take some leave and visit the location where you will be transitioning and assess your housing options. Securing a place to live ahead of time can help you create a more effective plan of attack. (Read: Purchasing a Home During Your Transition).
4. Checking out
It is finally time! You have your check-out sheets in hand, you’re busy getting those signatures. Since both of you are in the process, you may find some needless double duty. Housing office? Base childcare? Go together.
There are a few nice perks in transitioning from dual military to dual civilian. For example, you are eligible for two separate military moves, including vehicles. Use this to your advantage. You can choose to send one vehicle ahead so you will have transportation when you arrive. Or if your next residence will be temporary, you can send one shipment there and another to your mom’s house (because she loves boxes cluttering her garage).
Make use of terminal leave effectively. This can provide a great deal of stability if one member chooses to take terminal leave while the other stays at their command until the end of their enlistment period. This would allow one of you to secure a place to live and establish employment before pulling the plug entirely. Any unused accrued leave by the member who stays behind can be used as additional backup savings.
Service in the military has always been a family affair, but today it is increasingly common to see both spouses on active duty. Dual military couples often face special challenges in the transition process. But with a little planning, you and your spouse’s transition can be a success.
READ NEXT: Are you really ready? Take our Transition Readiness Quiz and find out!