In your words: retirement struggles

Military retirement comes with a lot of lessons learned. Many of those revolve around being better prepared.


Specifically, a lot of spouses find that they – and their veteran – were not financially or emotionally ready to face such a huge transition.


I recently asked a group of “retiree spouses” what their biggest struggle was when their servicemember left the military.


Here are their answers, raw and unedited:


Retirement pay and VA disability compensation to increase in 2019

There was a lot of new information to digest when my husband retired in 2013. A lot of paperwork, a lot of decisions to make and a lot of well, a lot.

A point I missed, and maybe you did too, is that military retiree pay fluctuates with cost of living allowances. So far, that amount has been too miniscule to really notice.

In January, military retirees will receive the largest COLA increase in seven years, a full 2.8 percent pay raise. For those military members at the tippy top of the retirement pay charts that increase could be as much as $369  a month.

Staying strong through hurricanes and military life

Watching Hurricane Florence barrel toward the East Coast this week, my husband said:

“It’s a bad feeling when you think you might lose everything.”

We know that feeling, because a year ago at this time we had just experienced Hurricane Irma’s affects on our new home. And I don’t mean “home,” I mean HOME as in the house we had  purchased less than a month earlier.

The house where we plan to spend at least the next several years until our kids are grown and flown. Maybe even the house we’ll live in the rest of our lives.

Retiree dental coverage is disappearing – here’s how to enroll in the federal employee program

Just when you think you’ve got this retirement thing down, something changes.

This time it’s dental insurance. The single-option Tricare Delta Dental Program, also known as TRDP, will soon be a thing of the past.

Besides the change in dental insurance for retirees, vision insurance will now be available to both retirees and active duty service members.

Retirement - Groups

Finding your place in the “real world” after years of being an active duty military spouse isn’t always easy. So many people I know lament the fact that they can’t find friends in their new location, or just don’t feel like they fit in.

I wrote before about my awesome Chick-fil-A bingo buddies. I was lucky to stumble upon this group of retired military spouses on Facebook, and we’ve become fast friends.

Retirement: When looking ahead means feeling lost

We just passed our second Fourth of July since we arrived here in Florida last year and completed our last PCS as an Army family.


In the next 12 months we’ll mark our second school year here, our second birthdays here, our second Thanksgiving, our second Christmas and New Year’s and Valentine’s Day and Easter and Memorial Day.


The first year in a new place is always a learning experience. There is trepidation, but also excitement and challenge and stimulation, usually in a good way.


Quizzes, summertime schedules, and post retirement reunification

By Amy Nielsen

My husband and I are on the fence about maybe going on the road with our rv and road-schooling our kids while we both finish our degrees and licensure over the next couple years.

He finally comes to a point where he can retire from government service but still has a couple years left on his degree, while I have another year in this program and then a year of internship hours to complete before I sit for my license.

Retirement prep from the military member’s point of view

I recently asked my husband his lessons learned from retirement. I thought it might be nice to get the servicemember / retiree perspective on things.

As usual, he was quick to point out that he’s no expert and his advice may or may not be welcome. And that everybody’s situation is different. And that what might work for one couple or family might not work for another.

Of course he’s right.

But I told him there is value in hearing from someone who’s been there, done that.

Retirement: Learning to be a family again

The other night, after my spouse had loaded the dishwasher after dinner without being asked, I went into the kitchen to add a few stray dishes and push the start button.

First, though, I rearranged everything - that glass should be on the top, that bowl should be facing the other way, the silverware should be sorted by type into each basket with the knives pointing down …

Wait. Why was I doing this?

Because that’s the way I’ve always done it.

Finding a new kind of home

My husband says I can make a new best friend in line at the commissary.

I’ll bet many of you are the same way – you move to a new place, and within five minutes you’ve met someone who will be the emergency contact for your kids’ school. Or the person who will be your go-to pet sitter. Or even someone you’ll spend more time with over the next two years than you do with your husband.

That’s military life. We bond fast.

And we bond hard

Friendships are not so easily forged in the civilian world.


For Military Spouses
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