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  • James Robinson CFP

Your Financial Life



A Helicopter Viewpoint of 'Your Financial Life After Military Service' Finally, a financial guide for transitioning Servicemembers and Veterans that is plain English, up to date and relevant. Most of all…. product neutral and conflict free. There is endless financial information being offered by companies to help our military servicemembers transition from military services and back to the civilian world. Most are simply cleverly created content that leads military servicemembers down a path to buy their product and services. Others are telephone size technical guides that drown our military servicemembers in information and leave them starving for knowledge that will help them build and protect wealth. Not this Financial Guide….

  • In Chapter 1, we look at how American Generations impact America’s Military. We also consider spending behaviors among American’s Six Living Generations including the Generation that dominate the military.

  • Chapter 2 follows quickly with an overview of the United States Armed Forces Transition Assistance Program and its importance as the ‘Connective Tissue’ to the civilian world.

  • In Chapter 3, ‘The Conversation,’ contemplate Financial Stress and how it affects the financial health of the servicemembers household. Here we take a deeper dive into “Money Personalities’ and how they affect conversations about personal finance issues with spouses, partners and significant others.

  • The Transition Assistance Program (TAP) for Military Personnel under the auspices of Career Readiness Standards (CRS) mandated compliance requires a 12-month post-separation budget for service members. We made this an easy task by deploying a case driven strategy. In Chapter 4, we spend quality time with Joey and Cari Peterson... (Obviously a hypnotical servicemember). So instead of a primer on accounting 101, we discuss a case scenario that will allow you to become confident and comfortable with the 12 Month Post Separation Spending Plan. We drop rank and armed forces affiliation and we walk with Joey and Cari Peterson as an advisor. We have a job to do as Servicemember Joey Peterson has come to us for help as he transitions from military to civilian life.

  • In Chapter 5, we the Financial Counselors have a ‘Case Review.’ We discuss the Peterson’s household budget from three basic viewpoints. (1) Monthly Income (2) Mandatory Expenses…commonly referred to as fixed expenses and (3) Discretionary Expenses. We will quickly determine future monthly income deficits and monthly income surpluses.

  • Household budgets tend to be impacted by the cost of living factors. In Chapter 6 we identify the cost of living factors that will impact the servicemember or veteran’s 12-month spending plan. More important, we give the servicemember or veteran tools that enable them to access how these factors will impact their 12-Month Spending Plan/Budget.

  • The Transitioning servicemember must decide whether to rent or buy. Transitioning servicemembers may be buying their first house. Even for season home buyers, Chapter 7 is a great reminder of how powerful an ally VA loans are for buying a home or selling a home.

  • Once servicemembers have completed their 12-month spending plan/budget…often time they want to give it legs. In chapter 8, we enable the servicemember with smart budget apps that allow the transition servicemember or veteran to manage your budget in real time…on the fly. The servicemember can see everything in one place, manage and pay bills.

  • Chapter 9 draws our attention to a sensitive and sometimes painful subject. Yet we must discuss how the servicemember or veteran must manage their credit as well as they manage their vacation plans. Most importantly, we discuss strategies’ for maintaining or improving credit scores which impact the 12-month spending plan/budget positively.

  • In 2017, the cost of healthcare for a typical American family of four covered by an average employer-sponsored preferred provider organization (PPO) plan is $26,944. These costs may impact the transitioning service member’s 12-month post separation household budget. This is the compelling reason we dedicated Chapter 10 to ‘Civilian Health & Life Insurance.’ The servicemember, veteran and their families need to be fully informed of available medical coverages and options.

  • Servicemember and Veterans must consider how educational loan obligations could impact Spending plan surpluses. In Chapter 11, we consider educational loans incurred before military services and the educational benefits that lure many people to military service i.e. the Post 911 GI Bill or Montgomery Bill. We provide strategies to minimize the impact of payments on monthly cash flow and the servicemember or veterans 12 Month Post-Separation Spending Plan.

  • “Drowning in Information, Starved for Knowledge.” Megatrends by John Naisbitt (1982), I think of this insightful quote after reviewing hundreds of articles and contents targeted for retiring or retired military servicemembers. Here is where we differ. In Chapter 12, our focus is on retirement plans distributions and not the numerous ways to contribute and invest for retirement. Here we have reached that destination. As we look at retirement assets and how they impact the retiring service member’s budget. Our big concern is the Retirement Income Dilemma. Here we focus on Sergeant Major Tyler Werner - E9. He is retiring at age 38 after 20 years of service. Retirement Income Dilemma? Income gaps of course.

  • We must conclude our discussion and review with Chapter 13… Tax and Estate Planning. As Financial Counselors, we must consider the impact of ownership and cost of high limits of life insurance. Also, it would be professional malpractice if we did not discuss the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) with Sergeant Major Tyler Werner. We end with a plain English discussion and review of how Estate Taxes could affect Werner’s estate.

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