I've begun the process of separating, or transitioning as it's better referred to in the civilian sector, from the military, more specifically, the U.S. Coast Guard.

Having viewed many retirements from the inside I didn't see the complexities that I now have before me. This series I plan to post here is what I've learned and the tools/advice I've found or was given. Now it's yours.

First things first, I'm retiring over the summer of 2019 with 20+ years of combined U.S. Army and U.S. Coast Guard service (I even did 9+ months of National Guard duty in between the two).

"Why retire, can't you go to 30-years?" I've been asked this a few times. Though I didn't think of it at the time of my decision (well, actually our decision- do nothing without your spouse), the current state of our government really does have some to do with it. However, when it's time, you'll know it. A mantra I've heard many-a-times. And it's true. It's time.

The process to make your exit shouldn't be taken lightly. Mine wasn't. Tami and I discussed it for almost a year, on and off, before I actually put my letter in. It wasn't until after the decision was made that I found out I should have already been preparing. That is, if you take the advice of those that have gone before us, you should really be thinking about this three+ years out (your twilight tour).

One of the best "guides" I've received came from a friend of mine in the Navy. It's basically a best practice type of roadmap. Though it's Army-centric, it's easily adaptable to any service. Below is the picture, you can download a better resolution PDF here.

Retirement Countdown Roadmap (PDF)

First things first, get into a convening of Transition Goals, Plan and Success (TGPS) [link only works on .mil/.gov networks], this is the old TAPS. In short, this is the first step, and it's really the only thing that is required (that is, it's a congressional mandate that you attend before retiring/discharging). Your local education/transition team should be able to assist.

Next, while you're waiting to attend TGPS or while you're thinking about getting out you might want to start thinking about "what's next." Upon your exit, do you have a plan? If so, make that plan come true and get classes that you might need, or certificates. If you don't have a plan, now's the time to start down that road. You have time. Look into free courses offered from organizations like the USO or Hiring Our Heroes (a post about such organizations and what they offer will be next).

This is just the start of our adventure. I plan to make regular posts over the next few weeks/months as I work towards my own retirement. Standby.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask! If I don't know the answer, I know people who do.

Part 1: Military Retirement: Start
Part 2: Military Retirement: Medical Records
Part 3: Military Retirement: Preparing your VA Compensation Claim
Part 4: Military Retirement: The Job Hunt & Resources