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Retirement planning tips for Armed Forces personnel

Armed Forces retirement planning

Achieving financial security should be the goal for anyone planning to retire, including those in the Armed Forces. But moving on to civilian life after decades of service poses many challenges.

You can’t rely anymore on the resources provided by the government, which means you may have to navigate benefits, food, and even housing for you and your family.

To take care of all the necessities, you need to have sufficient savings. And this requires you to start planning for retirement as early as possible. In fact, you should start getting ready for retirement already when at the height of your career to ensure a smooth transition to civilian life.

Here are some tips on how to achieve a good retirement after service.

Write down your financial needs for retirement

 Successful retirement planning starts with having a clear overview of how much money you need every year once you’re not working anymore. So write all your possible expenses down.

To calculate exact numbers, take into account variables like the inflation rate. Everyday necessities, like groceries, petrol, and even clothes, get more expensive every year. Your finances need to keep up with the changes.

You also need to consider that if the Ministry of Defence has provided a home for you and your family, you’ll need to finance your own home once you’re retired. If you’ve got plans to buy a home, you should start saving for a deposit as soon as possible. Also start looking at where you might be able to find a mortgage if you need one.

The sooner you start to plan big moves like these, the better.

Re-connect with old friends

Networking and staying in touch with the people you’ve come across during your service can help during the transition period. Some may have already retired, and they can give you valuable advice on how to make plans.

The Armed Forces may provide free advice on financial planning for retirement to make sure you’re up-to-date with all your possibilities. But it’s always good to ask someone who has experience of going through a similar situation with you.

Understand your Armed Forces pension plan

All members of the Armed Forces in the UK are automatically enrolled in a pension scheme. Unlike other public schemes, members do not make contributions. The scheme is funded entirely from the public purse. Exactly how the scheme will work for you depends on when you joined.

Start saving now (if you’re not doing it already)

 The earlier you start to save, the more money you’ll have. It’s as simple as that. So the next time you are paid or receive a sum of money, consider putting a portion of the sum aside for the future.

Educate yourself about saving plans

There is often a variety of savings plans available to military personnel. Research these well and choose something that works with your financial goals. In many cases you may be enrolled in a specific plan automatically, based on when you started the service, but there are also options to set up separate savings accounts for monthly contributions.

Investigate transition programmes

Service members can often access government-provided transition assistance programmes. These workshops that may include individual counselling hours teach you the skills you need to do well in the 2021 job market.

Again, getting an early start is the best approach. We’d recommend you begin your transitioning programme already two years before leaving the service.

Invest your money

 Investing in the stock market can provide additional income during your retirement. However, make sure you only invest an amount of money you can afford to lose.

And remember: the stock market is for long-term players. You can make some small profits with day-trading. But if you want to make profits from stocks a viable part of your retirement planning, you need to be prepared to stay trading for years.

Think about working after retirement

Planning your retirement can also include looking for new job opportunities. Continuing working enables you to stay in service, which can contribute to your emotional well-being. Plus, it gives a chance to continue making money and push retirement worries a bit further.

Continue your education

You can start learning new skills while still in service. It can dramatically improve both your military career and post-retirement options. And in 2021 you can earn a university degree via online courses and don’t need to attend a physical location in person.

Keep up with your overall retirement strategy

When planning for retirement, it’s vital to keep hitting the financial targets in your overall strategy. Try not to get side-tracked by purchases you don’t need or seemingly lucrative investment opportunities. If required, make adjustments to your tactics, but make sure you stick with the overall plan. Growing money takes time and persistence. But in the end, it’ll be worth the effort.

In summary

The bottom line is this: the earlier you start thinking about your life after service, the better. You’ll be able to work towards financial security with clear milestones ahead, and acquire additional skills for civilian life.


Passionate about emerging technology, author Thomas Glare uses his background in legal literature and technology to present a unique perspective on a wide range of topics, including enterprise technology, SQL, data science, SaaS applications, blockchain, cryptocurrency, investment fraud, and law. He is now working on an app for android that will help make secure payments.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

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