Well, the Horrell household is six days post-retirement, and the to-do list still feels just as large as it did six months ago. And, if this gives you any sense of how things are going, this post’s title started out as “Observations From 5 Days Before Retirement.” If retirement is in your future, perhaps you’ll learn a few tidbits that can make your transition easier.
There’s Just A Lot To Do
If you’ve read my retirement checklist, you’ll know that there is a lot of stuff on it. And you’d think that since I wrote such a big checklist, I would have been better about doing all those things in a timely fashion.
Well, despite thinking about this constantly for YEARS, there will be things that didn’t or aren’t going to happen on time. I STILL haven’t made a decision about dental coverage. We haven’t updated our wills and POAs. There are probably 16 other things that we haven’t done. I’m alternately sick to my stomach, and also thankful that we started years in advance, and also some moments I just don’t care. Hopefully, there won’t be too much expense or hassle caused by my inability to execute the plan.
I can not emphasize enough how much you need to plan, and work the plan, and amend the plan, and keep working the plan.
It’s Liberating! So Liberating!
My dear husband has been on leave since mid-April. It’s been fabulous having him home! We can eat dinner at a decent hour. There has been some facial hair. We’re planning travel without worrying about whether he can get leave. I like it.
I hope I don’t sound like a broken record when I say that I would absolutely not be enjoying this if we had financial pressure to find another job right away. Having very few fixed bills and a hefty transition fund takes that stress (mostly) off the table.
That $0 Paycheck Actually Happened
I knew it was going to happen – that the final paycheck would be held for audit. Earlier this week, when I did some banking, I had to actively think – hey, don’t move that money into savings, because there will be no paycheck this week. And then I saw the LES:
Yup. Exactly as everyone has been warned, the last paycheck has the entire amount held pending audit. I know we’re lucky that the Navy seems to get their audits done quickly, and we were prepared for this, and it’s not a big deal. But it was still fascinating to see it in print, and to know that this Friday will be the first military payday in 30 years that my husband won’t get paid when everyone else does.
It’s Stressful No Matter How Prepared You Are
My stock response these last two months has been, “It’s like running in front of an avalanche.” And it is sobering to think that I feel that way, and that folks who don’t do this as their ACTUAL JOB are probably even more stressed out than I am. Whether you’re the retiree, or the family member, or the friend offering the place to vent, give yourself some grace. It is a lot. So much.
There Are A World Of Programs and Support Out There
I am positively amazed at how many programs exist to support transitioning service members. I’m trying to update my resources right now but there are just so many! CASY, Hiring Our Heroes, IVMF, USO, VetJobs, Patriot Boot Camp…I’ll link here once I get this post updated.
I’m sure this sounds like a broken record, but the two biggest takeaways here are:
1. You can’t start too early. Seriously.
2. Bring your patience. With yourself, and with others. You’ll need it.
Transitioning from the military is a big thing – financially, logistically, and emotionally. There are so many moving parts. Preparation can help make it smoother, but it can’t eliminate all the stressors. It’s sort of like a really big PCS move – you just dig in and do your best and eventually, you’ll be at the next place in your life.
As always, your tips and tricks to help the next person are always welcome!