Moving from a world where you have a schedule, people who depend on you, a social network, and deadlines to one that is completely unstructured can be devastating.
Most people underestimate how difficult this transition from the work world to retirement can be. And many pay the price with a significant mental and physical decline.
For civilians, the move from business, medicine, manufacturing, or any position can be tough. But for those leaving the military after 20 or 30 years, the transition can be borderline impossible.
The readjustment to civilian life from the ultrastructured world of military discipline poses unique problems that can take years to resolve.
But there are some states that are more open and friendlier to vets than others are. And a helping hand can make all the difference when you move to “CivLant” (that was the Navy’s term for retirement).
A recent WalletHub study tracked economic environment, quality of life, and health care availability for vets to determine which locations are the best for retired military personnel.
The study looked at 22 key metrics, including tax friendliness, VA benefit facilities, VA health facilities, veteran-owned businesses, and the number of military bases.
The states with the highest numbers of veteran-owned businesses are South Carolina, Alabama, and Virginia.
The most affordable housing for vets is in Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Better take your woolies for those places.
The states with the lowest numbers of homeless vets are Mississippi, Virginia, and Iowa.
Job opportunities for ex-military are best in Indiana, New Hampshire, and Vermont.
But the state with the best overall score in all 22 categories was Florida… and for good reasons.
The Sunshine State has the third-largest number of retired service members. Miami-Dade County alone has 56,000 vets.
It is also one of the top states for veteran employment. It doesn’t tax military pensions, and survivor benefits plans are tax-exempt.
And a number of Florida VA hospitals ranked very high.
Depending on when you served and your disability rating, vets also receive preferential consideration for government jobs.
As a side note, New York and the District of Columbia were at or near the bottom of every category.
I know firsthand how difficult it is to move back into civilian life. I was discharged for medical reasons after just eight years in the Navy. I had planned to serve 30 years.
My first few years were incredibly difficult. Just getting the taxes on my disability straightened out in Maryland took several years.
And, to be honest, after 30 years out, I still don’t feel like a civilian. I guess you never lose it.
For anyone retiring, but especially for our vets who have a much bigger hurdle to overcome in their reentry, take the time to make the right moves, and consider all of your options before you rotate.
This country can never do enough for those who served, but you have to make the effort to make your retirement the best it can be.
Take a look at the WalletHub study. It might save you a bundle and help you embrace your newfound independence just a little bit easier.
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