Archive for the 'Career' Category

Supplement Your Retirement by Setting it On Autopilot

Jul 28 2015



By:  Alecia D. Blair, Military Saves Communications Associate

Let’s face it. A military pension and social security will likely not be enough to sustain a comfortable standard of living during retirement. So, enhance your retirement savings for tomorrow by enrolling and saving automatically in the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP),an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or other employer-sponsored retirement plan today.

Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)

The Thrift Savings Plan is a government-sponsored retirement savings plan for military service members and federal civilian employees. Established by Congress in 1986 as part of the Federal Employees’ Retirement System Act, the TSP offers many savings and tax benefits worth exploring.

Depending on whether you choose the Traditional TSP or the Roth TSP, contributions are tax deferred or are tax free when withdrawn under specific circumstances, according to Military OneSource.

Moving on after the military? You can take the TSP with you wherever life takes you. Whether you separate early from the military or earn a military retirement after 20 years, the TSP is yours to keep.

If you are separating from the military, research whether rolling over your TSP is right for you.

To learn how to sign up for the TSP, make a contribution election and access your account after signing up, read “Sign Up and Save with the Thrift Savings Plan.”

Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA)

Another tool to help you supplement your military retirement income and social security is the individual retirement account (IRA)—a savings account that you can set up through your financial institution, advisor or life insurance company. Before doing so, consider the different benefits to the traditional versus Roth IRA.

According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the maximum you can contribute for 2015 for traditional and Roth IRAs is “$5,500 if you’re under age 50.” Learn more about IRAs today and take advantage of this retirement tool.

Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans

It’s possible (and likely) that you’ll have a second career after retiring or separating from the military. With time on your side, this provides the perfect opportunity to enroll in an employer-sponsored retirement plan at work if one is offered.
The most common forms of employer-sponsored retirement plans are the 401k, and 403b (public schools and certain tax-exempt organizations) and 457b (government employers). Employees make contributions to these accounts from their wages prior to taxation and pay taxes when the money is withdrawn at retirement.

Some employers may even match your contributions, and employees may elect to make contributions automatically from their wages. Take advantage of this opportunity to set your retirement savings on autopilot, and enroll. Learn more about saving at work through these retirement tools, now!

“Set a goal. Make a plan. Save automatically.” Save now, and retire comfortably later on.



Making smart financial decisions is not always as clear as we would like it to be.  Whether you are buying a home, considering investments, starting college planning for your children, or other life decisions, the MOAA Finacial Planning Guide has the answers you need. FREE download or hard copy for LIFE and PREMIUM members of MOAA.


Alecia Blair works for Military Saves, managed by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America (CFA), which seeks to motivate, encourage, and support servicemembers and military families to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth. Learn more at

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Are You Ready For Transition?

Jul 23 2015

Published by under Career,Military Spouses,Veterans


By: Janet Farley

The tables were decorated with gold and black helium balloon bouquets, matching streamers and shiny confetti. In a stroke of joint service luck, the Army colors perfectly matched the ornate draperies in the community club’s historic ballroom.

The venue was crowded with fellow service members of all ranks, co-workers, friends and family members who wanted to help mark the occasion of the Soldier’s retirement from active duty.

The sequence of events was a familiar one for many in the room and probably for you, too. First, everyone stood while the official party arrived and they remained standing for the playing of the National Anthem.

Remarks were made by one senior officer and then by another as the man of the hour received a number of awards and ultimately, his official retirement certificate. His wife also received a special certificate and the many sacrifices she and their children had made throughout the years were duly noted.

The guest of honor then spoke to everyone about what his years in service meant to him. Words came easily as he reminisced about why he joined the Army and how his career evolved. He gave credit to his mentors and made everyone laugh with tales of unclassified misadventure from his special ops world.

Before long, however, unscripted moments of awkward silence took center stage. Tears had to be stopped. Composure regained.

Anyone who has ever been to a retirement ceremony, either as the guest of honor, the spouse of one or just as a guest, knows that this is the precise moment when the air leaves the room and time stands still.

It’s the point of no return and it can be scary place if you’re not truly prepared for it.

Transition Tips to Help You Prep for Civilian Life

Whether you and your uniformed other are retiring after twenty plus years of service or simply coming to the end of your tour, be ready for that breathless moment and for the sure to be somewhat stressful times that follow.

Take advantage of the transition assistance services available to you well in advance of your actual transition.

You may think you know everything about leaving the military behind and finding a new job but you probably don’t. Even if you are up to speed, stress and uncertainty have a way of making you forget critical points. Service members and spouses should plan to visit the transition assistance program and absorb every nugget of intel available whether it helps in the present moment or at some future point in time.

Also plan to visit the MOAA Career Center for a ton of career transition information, services and resources. While you’re at it, find out where and when you can connect with employers at the next MOAA Career Fair.

Work together as a team. Throughout your spouse’s career, you’ve been there to support him or her though it all and visa versa. It hasn’t always been easy or fun for either of you, but you stuck it out together anyhow. This isn’t the time to fix what isn’t broken. Continue to work together as a team.

Communicate openly about what it is you want to do and what you can realistically do post uniform life. Brainstorm options and don’t be afraid to consider new paths. Change is going to happen anyway, right?

Be financially fit for your transition. You hope that you and your spouse land great post military life jobs that enable you to ride off into the civilian sunset and live happily ever after. That doesn’t always happen, however. Before your family transitions, know how you’re going to pay the bills. The average job search can take six months to a year. Are you financially prepared to make ends meet?

MOAA’s Financial Planning Tools and Resources can help you up your knowledge base on the topic and provide you with access to useful financial calculators and pertinent links to other financial sites.

Expect civilian life to be different and adjust to it. Even if you will be living and working within a military community as civilians, things will feel a shade or two different. Get used to it. Breathe deeply and accept your new normal. Over a period of time, it will start to feel like home.

Know that transition never really ends. If you continue to move forward in life, personal and professional changes don’t just stop happening when you and your family transition out the military. They keep happening and that’s a good thing. Don’t worry. Practice makes perfect.

Transitioning from the military? Share you tips below.


About the Author: Janet Farley is a job search and workplace issues expert and the author of “The Military Spouse’s Guide to Employment: Smart Job Choices for Mobile Lifestyles,” (Impact Pubs, 2013) and “Quick Military Transition Guide: Seven Steps to Landing a Civilian Job,” (Jist, Inc. 2013). She is co-author of the award winning anthology, Stories Around the Table: Laughter, Wisdom, and Strength in Military Life (Elva Resa Publishing, 2014).

Photo:  Courtesy of DVIDS

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