Life changes can be intimidating. Transitioning from military to civilian life is a drastic change that affects nearly every aspect of life. Preparing for this change can be intimidating, but there is a wealth of help available.
The more knowledge you can gain that pertains to your specific family needs and goals, the better prepared you will become. The first task to tackle should be selecting where you will live after transition, as housing on a military installation will no longer be an available option. For some transitioning families, their home of record is the easy choice, but assuring your family’s goals may mean branching out to a location you have never visited before.
Establish Your Goals
Establishing your family goals is also integral to successfully planning a seamless transition experience. Have you always wanted to go back to school? Has your spouse always had a dream of opening a business? Have you wanted to send your children to a private school?
Defining your family’s priorities will help you to sort through your options and make productive decisions. Among the considerations to be made are: schools for your children, job opportunities, cost of living, local and state taxes, and education options for your spouse and yourself in order to progress to your next set of career goals.
On each installation, there are different transition programs offered to aid with this planning. The Air Force and Army offer the Transition Assistance Program, the Navy offers Transition GPS, the Marine Corps offers Transition Readiness Program, and the Coast Guard offers Transition Assistance Program. These programs are accessible to service members and their spouses up to two years prior to separation.
Certainly not the least of important factors in your transition into civilian life will be the community you plan to move into and the kind of support you will receive there. In the military community, we become accustomed to comradery, support, values, schedules, and resilience that are not commonplace in other communities.
If you find that your family will be moving to a location that is not near a military installation, then you can find support online in discussion forums. Staying connected to others who are undergoing a similar life change may ease the transition experience.