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How to Use Your Military Leadership to be Effective in Business

How to Use Your Military Leadership to be Effective in Business

In many ways, the military prepares its members for service well beyond the parameters of its branches. The leadership skills alone that are pushed upon soldiers are unparalleled in the civilian world. And with a quick Google search, it’s easy to see how these particular skills can specifically translate to the world of big business. Just type in “US military has more training than CEOs” and you’ll find studies and stories of former military personnel who have gone on to become highly successful in the world of business — mostly due to their military leadership training.

You, as a Veteran, are among this crowd of elite leaders. Here are a few ways in which the military taught you to be a leader in business.

Be, Know, Do.
Though the Be-Know-Do method is an Army-specific leadership mantra, this mentality can apply to military training across the board. In the service, you are taught that your subordinates will follow what you do far before they’ll follow what you say. The same rules apply to business. As a leader, if you set the precedent of being late to meetings, talking negatively about company leaders, or dress below standard, the rest of your team will follow suit. If your objective is to motivate, you must first become what you want them to emulate, know the right thing to do, and then do it.

Lead instead of manage.
The military is run with a top-down organizational approach, meaning there is one centralized leader who is responsible for all successes and failures of the team. Often, the civilian workplace runs in a bottom-up capacity, which also comes with its pros and cons. Though you aren’t there to revamp the company hierarchy, your top-down experience gave you valuable lessons in leading others that can still translate well on business teams. When tasked with leadership, you’ve been trained to develop your team members both professionally and personally. If one is failing personally it often affects their ability to succeed professionally. When that happens, you take the heat as their leader. Mentoring them to succeed in all aspects of their lives, not just the one at work, is also a true relationship-building technique that will win you trust and respect.

Loyalty.
Your time in service has bred in you a sense of pride and loyalty to your order of business. You were a part of something big, whether fun or not, and you knew where your commitments stood. Use this mindset in the business world. No matter what you do, do it with all your attention. That’s what the military taught you and it will serve you well with your civilian peers.

It’s impossible to cover all the ways in which Veteran skills are translatable to the “real” world. Visit SAVI to learn more about how we can help you reach your full potential on the other side.

What’s Important to You in a Post-Military Location?

What’s Important to You in a Post-Military Location?

What’s Important to You in a Post-Transition Location?

From Austin to Colorado Springs to Seattle to Boise, there are so many U.S. cities that cater to the Veteran community in a way that makes them desirable for a post-separation dwelling. But as with each of these cities, every Veteran is different. What is it you’re looking for in a post-military location? Maybe it’s proximity to extended family, your chosen career path, or a pretty landscape. Maybe you have no idea. That’s OK. To help get you thinking, here are a few things to consider when deciding where to put down your roots and actually stay a while.

Cost of Living — This is an important one. Though Forbes ranks Seattle as one of the best places for Veterans to settle, it’s worth noting that this city also ranks as one of the most expensive in the country. This may not be a deal-breaker for you, but it’s always wise to know how much your location will cost you. In every city you consider, we recommend looking up median mortgage and rent payments, sales tax, average salaries, and school tuition rates. These are all good indicators of what your financial quality of life will be once settled.

Community — If you’re retiring and not just shifting career paths, your interests may be something you can actually plan your choice around. If you’re an outdoorsy, trail-biking, fly-fishing mountain man at heart, a look at Colorado Springs could be a good place to start your search. Likewise, if you’re more interested in a city lifestyle with art and music and restaurants, oh my, Austin could be the place for you.

Family Career Goals — If you’re in a relationship, your next move isn’t just about your career anymore. Talk to your spouse and determine what their career goals are now that you’re getting out. If they’ve had to put their dreams on hold while living the ever-mobile military life, this is a chance for them to blossom in a career track. As you have these discussions, look specifically for areas that offer the best opportunities for your spouse to reach those goals.

For more reading on where to live after the military, check out our June blog post on “10 Veteran-Friendly Cities to Consider.”

Building a Support Community Post-Military

Building a Support Community Post-Military

Having a military background has trained you in many ways for a future on the outside. We’ve already told you about the many skills that transfer with you into the civilian workplace — effective communication is one of them. Yet, no matter how trained you are in this area, speaking civilian can come with its challenges for any military Veteran.

Here are our top three tips for becoming an effective communicator among your civilian peers.

Style matters. How you say it is just as important as what you say as a communicator. Working with civilians, you have to learn to be more diplomatic with your tone. The military taught you direct, mission-focused, and maybe even slightly aggressive speak. There’s often little time or patience for ambiguity. But in the civilian workplace, it’s as much about relationship building as it is getting the task done. An overtly direct and to-the-point email may come across as cold and detached. Likewise, an “order” to get something done will not be seen as “business-as-usual” as it was in the military. In essence: friendlier is best with civilian communication.

Follow their lead. Every business is going to come with its own set of rules you must adhere to as a communicator. In the military, decisions are made from the top down. Out of necessity, there is no negotiating this type of approach. In the civilian world, it may be top-down, bottom-up, side-to-side, or everything in between. It’s important to learn these guidelines and play along. Although decisions may come at a slower pace when more voices are involved, collaboration can often lead to better outcomes — especially in the business world. This is also a great opportunity for you to get your own ideas heard.

Learn the why behind the way. It’s crucial to your success as a civilian professional to learn the ins and outs of your new industry. As mentioned above, each business comes with its own style of doing things. In the military, you had little room for expression. The civilian world, on the other hand, is full of individuals with all types of backgrounds, allowing communicators to develop a unique style. And every single industry can look different. Find a mentor at your new place of work, learn your business handbook, invite trusted colleagues out to lunch, and ask thoughtful questions. The more you seek to learn the why, the faster you’ll learn your way.

How to Speak Civilian and Be an Effective Communicator

How to Speak Civilian and Be an Effective Communicator

Having a military background has trained you in many ways for a future on the outside. We’ve already told you about the many skills that transfer with you into the civilian workplace — effective communication is one of them. Yet, no matter how trained you are in this area, speaking civilian can come with its challenges for any military Veteran.

Here are our top three tips for becoming an effective communicator among your civilian peers.

Style matters. How you say it is just as important as what you say as a communicator. Working with civilians, you have to learn to be more diplomatic with your tone. The military taught you direct, mission-focused, and maybe even slightly aggressive speak. There’s often little time or patience for ambiguity. But in the civilian workplace, it’s as much about relationship building as it is getting the task done. An overtly direct and to-the-point email may come across as cold and detached. Likewise, an “order” to get something done will not be seen as “business-as-usual” as it was in the military. In essence: friendlier is best with civilian communication.

Follow their lead. Every business is going to come with its own set of rules you must adhere to as a communicator. In the military, decisions are made from the top down. Out of necessity, there is no negotiating this type of approach. In the civilian world, it may be top-down, bottom-up, side-to-side, or everything in between. It’s important to learn these guidelines and play along. Although decisions may come at a slower pace when more voices are involved, collaboration can often lead to better outcomes — especially in the business world. This is also a great opportunity for you to get your own ideas heard.

Learn the why behind the way. It’s crucial to your success as a civilian professional to learn the ins and outs of your new industry. As mentioned above, each business comes with its own style of doing things. In the military, you had little room for expression. The civilian world, on the other hand, is full of individuals with all types of backgrounds, allowing communicators to develop a unique style. And every single industry can look different. Find a mentor at your new place of work, learn your business handbook, invite trusted colleagues out to lunch, and ask thoughtful questions. The more you seek to learn the why, the faster you’ll learn your way.

VA Claims Assistance with Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs)

VA Claims Assistance with Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs)

Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs) were created to help Veterans and their families, or their survivors. Many of these organizations focus on assisting Veterans as they make the transition from active duty to civilian life. Many of these organizations offer veterans a variety of services, including VA disability benefits claims assistance, education and job training, resume writing services, financial grants, opportunities to participate in community service projects, and more. In most cases, these services are free! Many of the VSOs have state and local branches, which makes them easy to visit in-person.

Getting Started with a VSO

It is very important to find an accredited VSO or an accredited representative. Only recognized, accredited organizations and individuals can legally represent a veteran, dependent, or survivor before the VA. Non-recognized organizations and individuals can provide information, but cannot be representatives. A few well-known, nationally accredited VSOs include The American Legion, DAV (Disabled American Veterans), NCOA (Non Commissioned Officers Association), VFW (Veteran of Foreign Wars), and VVA (Vietnam Veterans of America).

An accredited representative is an individual who has undergone a formal application and training process, and is recognized by the VA as being capable of assisting claimants with their affairs before the VA. Most accredited representatives work for VSOs.

You can find an accredited representative or VSO organizations by going to eBenefits. The VA Office of General Counsel also maintains a list of VA-recognized organizations and VA-accredited individuals that are authorized to assist in the preparation, presentation and prosecution of VA benefit claims. You can search by location to find a VSO near you using either site:

What Services Does an Accredited VSO Offer?

Most importantly, VSOs exist so veterans are never alone when trying to navigate their VA claims; helping them to receive their full benefits. The best part about using a VSO is access to the combined expertise on staff.  VSO service officers have vast experience in VA claims. They have seen thousands of cases and know the in’s and out’s of the VA system. If these organizations can’t help you, they can certainly put you into contact with someone who can.

VSOs can help you understand and apply for VA benefits, like:

  • Financial support (monthly payments)
  • Education
  • Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment (VR&E)
  • Home loans
  • Life insurance
  • Pension
  • Health care
  • Burial benefits

They can also help you with:

  • Gathering supporting documents (like a doctor’s report or medical test results)
  • Filing a claim or appeal on your behalf
  • Providing added support, like helping with transportation to medical appointments or emergency funds

Are VSO Services Really Free?

Getting help with veterans benefits isn’t difficult; and it’s a wonder more veterans don’t take advantage of these organizations! VSOs (compared to an individual claims representative or attorney) generally offer their services for free. In general, no individual or organization may charge you a fee to help you file your initial application for benefits. If you have questions about a VSO you are considering working with, or suggestions on free services near you, reach out to SAVI today.

The Benefits of Non-Profit Collaboration

The Benefits of Non-Profit Collaboration

Have you considered partnering with a non-profit? Non-profit collaboration provides a fantastic opportunity to grow your causes, expand your reach, and develop meaningful, long-lasting relationships. Especially in the Veteran space, relationships are essential to providing the resources and information your audience truly needs.

If you haven’t considered a non-profit collaboration, or are wondering what the benefits truly are, here are several benefits to non-profit collaboration that SAVI has identified in building relationships with our partners.

  • Enhance your capabilities. By partnership with other non-profits, you are able to share infrastructure, administrative resources, and personnel resources. We have all heard the expression “two heads is better than one,” and with non-profit collaboration the additional brainpower behind your initiative is sure to kick things into overdrive. 
  • Increase efficiency. With more hands on deck creating more relevant ideas, you also have the power of additional implementers. Projects that may have seemed daunting with your internal team are suddenly manageable with the help of your collaborator’s skilled team. 
  • Diversify ideas. A fresh set of eyes onto your latest project creates a powerful environment for brainstorming and growth. You may discover in conversation that you find new solutions to issues you have been having, or the perfect idea for your next event or fundraising drive. 
  • Enliven leadership. Non-profit collaboration can ignite excitement within the leadership of an organization, resulting in increased passion and a drive to get projects ready for launch. 
  • Grow advocacy. With the announcement of your new collaboration, you have the ability to grow your audience. Working together, promoting your collaboration, and making a difference in your community will help grow your brand recognition. Once you are more broadly recognized, you are able to leverage that for campaigns throughout the year. 
  • Expand services. Oftentimes, collaborations allow you to provide services to your target population that you otherwise wouldn’t have the capacity to provide. This is key to growing your non-profit, especially when you first launch.

Interested in collaborating with SAVI, reach out!

Why You Need a FREE LinkedIn Profile Review

Why You Need a FREE LinkedIn Profile Review

Why You Need a FREE LinkedIn Profile Review

While you’re in the military, your LinkedIn profile isn’t at the forefront of you mind. However, as you begin looking at the transition to civilian life, LinkedIn is an essential platform to understand and utilize- whether a future student, employee, or entrepreneur. SAVI knows how powerful LinkedIn is, and that’s why we are offering FREE LinkedIn Profile Reviews for Veterans!

Are you still skeptical? Here are the top three reasons LinkedIn is more essential than ever in the civilian professional realm:

1. To increase your visibility and establish a digital presence.

If you have applied to a job, or met someone at a networking event, chances are they want to learn more about you. In this digital age, that means a quick Google search, where LinkedIn profiles are frequently included in the results. Since you have control over your profile, its content, and what you share, it allows you to control the impression people will have of you.

If you have an incomplete profile, or one that is minimally complete, it can cause people to take a step back. You have to be willing to place information into the public domain regarding your professional background, skills and future goals in order to engage with potential mentors, employers, etc.

2. To develop your professional network

Within the military, your professional network is limited to those your serve alongside at your various duty stations, and those you attend military education schools with. However, within the civilian sector you can utilize LinkedIn to engage in conversation with those who currently work in the space you want to be in. Connecting and maintaining relationships with those you have met in the military, as well as those you have met at various networking events, opens you up to hundreds of possibilities. Did you know that most jobs are filled via networking and not blind applications to job postings?

3. To learn about potential intern and employment opportunities.

Based on the completeness of your profile, LinkedIn can highlight jobs that you might be of interest in, based on your skills, qualifications location, etc. Further, if you a member of certain LinkedIn Groups, where the members share common interests, jobs and various opportunities are also advertised there. Recruiters also utilize LinkedIn to search for candidates with specific skills sets!

Want to learn more about this amazing opportunity? Send an email to info@savivets.org to request more information on the process. Or, visit us online and complete this form.

Military Tuition Assistance: SAVI VETS

Military Tuition Assistance: SAVI VETS

Take Advantage of Education Assistance Before Entering the Civilian Workforce

Making the leap from active duty to civilian life is one of the most abrupt and difficult changes military personnel face. It’s never too early to prepare for your next career by taking advantage of education assistance while still on active duty.

Military Tuition Assistance (TA) is a benefit paid to eligible members of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard. Congress has given each service the ability to pay up to 100% for the tuition expenses of its members. Each service has its own criteria for eligibility, obligated service, application process’ and restrictions. This money is usually paid directly to the institution by the individual services. While the decision to pursue a degree may be a difficult, TA can lessen your financial concerns considerably, since it pays up to 100 percent of tuition expenses for semester hours costing $250 or less. TA is not a loan! It should be viewed as money you have earned just like your base pay.

TA only covers accredited institutions recognized by the Department of Education. Service members need to first check with an education counselor for the specifics involving TA by visiting their local installation education office or by going online to a virtual education center. Tuition assistance may be used for the following programs:

  • Vocational/technical programs
  • Undergraduate programs
  • Graduate programs
  • Independent study
  • Distance-learning programs

TA is open to officers, warrant officers and enlisted active duty service personnel. In addition, members of the National Guard and Reserve Components may be eligible for TA based on their service eligibility. To be eligible for TA, an enlisted service member must have enough time remaining in service to complete the course for which he or she has applied. After the completion of a course, an officer using TA must fulfill a service obligation that runs parallel with – not in addition to – any existing service obligation.

TA will fund up to 100 percent of your college tuition and certain fees with the following limits:

  • Not to exceed $250 per semester credit hour or $166 per quarter credit hour
  • Not to exceed $4,500 per fiscal year, October 1 through September 30

TA will not cover the following expenses:

  • Books and course materials
  • Flight training fees
  • Taking the same course twice
  • Continuing education units, or CEUs

Additionally, active duty members may elect to use the Tuition Assistance Top Up benefit in addition to your TA to cover high tuition costs or fees not covered by TA. This benefit program may be an option if you plan to use TA to complete a degree program while on active duty, and do not plan to continue your education after service. Top-up can also be helpful for just taking a few courses with TA while on active duty; then you can save most of your GI Bill benefits for after service to complete your education program.

To be eligible for the Top-Up benefit, you must be:

  • Approved for TA by your military branch
  • Be eligible for GI Bill benefits.
  • Must be a GI Bill participant
  • Still on active duty
  • Must have served at least two full years of active duty

The amount of the benefit is limited to the amount that the person would receive for the same course if regular GI Bill benefits were being paid. In no case can the amount paid by the military combined with the amount paid by VA be more than the total cost of the course. Most importantly, If you receive the Top-Up benefit, your regular GI Bill benefits will be reduced. You must apply for GI Bill using the VA’s VETS.GOV website before using the Top-up benefit.

Understanding Your GI Bill: Montgomery vs. Post 9/11

Understanding Your GI Bill: Montgomery vs. Post 9/11

4 Life Hacks for GI Bill Benefits

The GI Bill is one of the best benefits of being a military member and a primary reason many join the military! These programs were designed to help service members, Veterans, and families reach their education goals. As your transition out of the military approaches, determining your full education benefits and how you want to use them should be a top priority. We’ve provided key insights from transitioned Veterans and spouses on helpful hacks to make this process easier.

Know Your Career Path

The Post-9/11 and Montgomery GI Bills offer 36 months of education benefits, but that time goes by quickly! We suggest mitigating the headache of changing majors several times during your education by having a solid understanding of your career path. The last thing you’ll want to do is get mid-way through your benefits to realize you aren’t satisfied with the career program you originally selected! VA’s Education and Career Counseling program is a great opportunity for Service Members, Veterans and dependents to get personalized counseling and support to help guide their career paths.

HACK ALERT: The VA also offers an aptitude test at no cost to all eligible benefit recipients. CareerScope can be used by Veterans to determine the best career path for transition to civilian life. You will be provided with an assessment of your interests and aptitudes, and given recommendations about which careers you may enjoy and be successful doing, along with suggested courses and trainings associated with those careers. By using these helpful tools, you can ensure the most effective use of your VA benefits and achieve your goals.

Find Out Which VA Benefits You are Eligible

Some might find they’re eligible for several types of VA education and training benefits, but there are many things to consider before applying for a GI Bill program. The most popular option is the Post-9/11 GI Bill, offered to those who have served on active duty for 90 or more days after Sept. 10, 2001. To qualify for the full benefit a Veteran must have served at least three years of active duty after September 10, 2001. The payment rate depends on how much active duty time a member has in service. The second most popular education benefit option is the  Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty (MGIB-AD) This is offered to active duty members who enroll and pay $100 per month for 12 months and are then entitled to receive a monthly education benefit once they have completed a minimum service obligation. It is important to note that if you’re eligible for more than one education benefit, such as the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the Montgomery GI Bill, you must choose which benefit to receive, a decision that’s final and cannot be changed.

HACK ALERT: The VA offers a GI Bill Comparison Tool to make it easier to research colleges and employers approved for the GI Bill. By answering a few questions about yourself and the intended educational institution you’re considering, you’ll receive an estimate of your GI Bill benefits; providing you with information about the facility’s value and affordability.

Transfer to Dependents

Spouses and family members may also be eligible for education and training assistance. In fact, 25 percent of those benefiting from VAs education programs are non-Veterans. Under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, servicemembers are able to transfer all or some unused benefits to their spouse or dependent children. While in the armed forces, servicemembers can transfer their benefits using the Transfer of Education Benefits (TEB) website to designate, modify, and revoke a Transfer of Entitlement (TOE) request.

HACK ALERT: The request to transfer unused GI Bill benefits to eligible dependents must be completed while serving as an active member of the Armed Forces. All transfer requests are submitted and approved while the member is in the armed forces.  Please do not wait until you are on Veteran status to make this change! You will not be able to transfer benefits after transitioning to your civilian career.

Yellow Ribbon Schools

For those of you who decide to use the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit, it’s important to note that your actual tuition & fees may exceed the amount paid for by the GI Bill; especially if you are attending a private school or are attending a public school as a nonresident student. The Post-9/11 GI Bill pays only the lower of the actual tuition & fees or the national maximum per academic. To mitigate these extra fees, several Degree Granting Institutions (colleges and university) participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program to make additional funds available for your education program without an additional charge to your GI Bill entitlement. These institutions voluntarily enter into a Yellow Ribbon Agreement with the VA and choose the amount of tuition and fees that will be contributed. The VA matches that amount and issues payments directly to the institution. To receive benefits under the Yellow Ribbon Program you must be eligible for the maximum benefit rate under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

HACK ALERT: Many Yellow Ribbon schools have a VA Benefits coordinator within their registrar office. These coordinators are employed by the university to support and encourage all students using VA education benefits. They can also assist you with military call-ups, leave of absences, and transferring credit for military service; plus promote Veteran-focused events on campus.  

How to Stand Out in the Veteran Service Community

How to Stand Out in the Veteran Service Community

OFFER INDIVIDUALIZED SERVICES

Veterans service organizations (VSOs) seeking to stand out in a crowded field should always attempt to offer individualized services to their Veteran constituents, ranging from local community programs all the way up to the national level.

After leaving military service, many Veterans interact with a wide variety of organizations, agencies, and points of contact. They can often feel like just a number. By working one on one with the Veterans you serve, will have a more meaningful impact. Some areas where Veterans might benefit from post-transition support include:

 

  • Disability claims
  • Education benefits
  • Healthcare support
  • Financial assistance
  • Employment services
  • Housing services
  • Entrepreneurial support
  • Mentorship

CREATE A NETWORK FOR THE VETERANS YOU WORK WITH

While they’re in the military, Veterans form strong bonds with their “battle buddies” — coming to rely on them not only during combat, but also in their day-to-day lives as friends. Your VSO can make a greater impact in your community by creating a relevant, engaging forum for Veterans to re-create those bonds — whether it be at local events, through a Facebook Group, or as a LinkedIn networking group. These opportunities for Veterans to interact with each other let them build deep connections as they transition into their post-civilian lives.

PROVIDE MEANINGFUL RESOURCES

The most successful VSOs provide a variety of benefits to not only their Veteran members, but also to their communities at large, the broader military and Veteran population, and military supporters. By ensuring that your VSO publishes only meaningful, relevant content online for your Veterans, for example, you can become a “go-to” resource within your service category. For VSOs with in-person programs and services, make sure you are using proper vetting and testing before creating them — and capturing feedback from beneficiaries afterward — to deliver a bigger impact.

PARTNER WITH OTHER ORGANIZATIONS

With the saturation of VSOs in the U.S. today, collaboration with others working in a similar space is critical. Rather than fuel competition, collaborating with these organizations lets you pool your resources and make a greater impact for Veterans.

Together, your VSOs can co-host events, co-sponsor webinars, or provide co-branded brochures and informational packets for Veterans. Partnerships embody the ethos of “service over self” that Veterans value highly, demonstrating to your target audience that you are working with other VSOs toward a common good.

EDUCATION TRACK

Transitioning into higher education after years of military service can seem overwhelming. But SAVI’s Education Track is designed specifically to support Veterans like you from start to finish — academic advising, walkthroughs of your VA education benefits … and everything in between. 

All transitioning Veterans in SAVI’s programs gain access to our carefully developed tools for post-military students, including the SAVI Student Transition Incubator℠, Student Track Transition Program℠, and Student Benefit Assessment Service℠, as well as our personalized career path determination assistance. Each of these services is vital to a whole life approach to the military-to-civilian transition. 

EMPLOYMENT TRACK

Continuing on your professional journey after military service can be an amazing opportunity to find a new career that fulfills you and lets you thrive. Yet civilian workplace etiquette and the hiring process can be much different than what you’re used to as a service-member. The job search and performance evaluation processes are much more employee-driven, for example, and the workplace can be more isolating without the shared objective of high-stakes national defense.

SAVI’s Employment Track delivers start-to-finish support to help Veterans navigate a new career. From skills assessments to professional networking strategies, SAVI offers custom-built tools — including the SAVI Employment Transition Incubator℠, Job Networking & Search Service℠, and Employment Benefit Assessment Service℠ — as well as job retention and mentoring services to help you every step of the way. Each of these services is vital to a whole life approach to military-to-civilian transition.

ENTREPRENEURSHIP TRACK

Chasing your dream of self-employment can seem daunting after years of a highly structured military life. But SAVI provides the resources to help you turn this dream into a fulfilling reality — and so that you don’t have to go it alone.

All transitioning Veterans on this track receive our comprehensive tools for personal business success: the SAVI Entrepreneur Transition Incubator℠ and Entrepreneur Benefit Assessment Service℠, as well as our opportunity consulting and our funding exploration  support. Each of these services is vital to a whole life approach to the military-to-civilian transition.

RETIREMENT TRACK

After serving your time in the military, it’s time to look forward toward your retirement. SAVI is here every step of the way to help you transition from service-member to thriving retiree. We’re here to ensure you don’t have to muddle through the financial, personal, and emotional aspects of retirement on your own.

All transitioning Veterans on this track receive comprehensive tools for a successful retirement: the SAVI Retirement Transition Incubator℠ and Retirement Benefit Assessment Service℠, as well as our one-on-one ongoing assistance and assessment services. Each of these services is vital to a whole life approach to the military-to-civilian transition.


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Getting Connected with Your Local Veterans Organizations

If you’re a military Veteran, then you’re a part of a very niche group. Active military personnel make up less than 1 percent of the total U.S. population today, so it’s not surprising that so many Veterans feel isolated as they start their transitions into civilian life.

Yet this issue isn’t a new one. Since 1899, organizations like the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and The American Legion were created to offer Veterans a place for camaraderie, to feel empowered, and to help boost troop morale for those still in the service.

Fast-forward to today and Veterans groups have emerged in nearly every community in the country and boast a wide variety of scope and missions — such as the career program by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and the suicide prevention work by The Military Veteran Project. The benefits to getting involved with one of these local groups include much more than just gaining buddies to swap war-stories with. Veterans can also get assistance with job placements, career counseling, emotional support, and finding resources for disabled Vets.

Not sure where to begin to find your local Veteran connections? Here’s a list of a few national Veteran groups with various local chapters across the nation.

The American Legion ​
AMVETS
Disabled American Veterans
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
Korean War Veterans Association
The Military Veteran Project
Paralyzed Veterans of America
Veterans of Foreign Wars
• Student Veterans of America
• Vietnam Veterans of America

For a more comprehensive list of military charities, organizations, and government contacts, click here.

Get Squared Away: A Comprehensive Checklist for Transitioning Service-Members

18 Months Before Your Discharge
• Review GI Bill and tuition assistance benefits
• Review GI Bill transferability requirements (Transferring your benefits may require re-enlisting or incurring an additional service obligation.)
• Use the DoD Online Academic Skills course to prepare for the SAT, ACT, GRE, or GMAT Exams
• Take a skills/interest assessment through your local ESO or career counselor
• Consider taking CLEP exams to complete your general education requirements
• Reach out to your SAVI mentor for tips from someone who has lived through the transition experience -Start developing your personal and professional networks
• Review your post-separation budget, and start planning for your financial transition
• Register on LinkedIn to get ready for networking opportunities
• Research the job potential, affordability, and community where you plan to live

12 Months Before Your Discharge
• Start developing an Individual Transition Plan
• Review your Pre-Separation Checklist (DD 2648)
• Get your Verification of Military Experience and Training (VMET) document (DD 2586)
• Research the cost of living where you plan to live as a civilian-Learn about your VA home benefits -Make an appointment with your local Transition Counselor
• Attend a Transition GPS five-day workshop -Check job boards, and start exploring the right career options for you
• Start exploring the right degree and college for you -Request “house hunting orders”
• Enroll in a SAVI Transition Incubator℠
• Use a skills translator to begin developing a civilian resume

9 Months Before Your Discharge
• Continue building your networks through LinkedIn and elsewhere
• Consider an employment assistance program
• Start writing your resume
• Search for jobs in your field and area to see what’s out there
• Arrange for HHG transportation counseling -Research your healthcare options, including Employer-Provided Civilian Care, CHCBP, Transitional Health Care Benefits, and CHAMP
• Make a budget, and prepare to pay for health insurance coverage

6 Months Before Your Discharge
• Start applying for jobs -Start building a wardrobe for the civilian workplace
• Continue to expand your career networks
• Attend career fairs
• Review and update your will and financial documents
• Consider whether to take terminal leave or sell back your balance
• Schedule appointments for household goods (HHG) shipment and storage
• Schedule final medical checkups for all family members
• Visit the Legal Assistance Office for help updating your documents
• Determine if you’re eligible for separation pay or early retirement
•Begin your PCS and housing checkout procedures -Begin looking for VSOs to join

3 Months Before Your Discharge
• Consider job placement services
• Use the VA Pre-discharge program to determine your eligibility for VA Disability Compensation
• Review your finances to ensure your budget will work in civilian life
• Compare SGLI to VGLI and other life insurance options
• Get to know more about where you plan to live
• Contact your Military Treatment Facility, and get copies of all of your health records
• Complete a physical with your MTF or a VA Medical Center
• Take advantage of the two-day TAP GPS program for education and entrepreneurship support

1 Month Before Your Discharge
• Finalize your relocation appointments, and review your benefits
• Arrange for inspection of any government housing
• Choose your transitional healthcare plan

Enrolling in VA Healthcare

1. Make it easier on yourself: Start with support from VA’s Concierge of Care. Enrolling in VA care isn’t as tough a process as it used to be. In October 2017, VA launched its Concierge for Care (C4C) program to enhance its support for transitioning Veterans in getting VA healthcare. The C4C initiative educates and empowers Veterans while simplifying the healthcare application and enrollment process. This means that, shortly after you separate, you’ll get a phone call from a representative who can answer questions, process your VA healthcare enrollment application, and schedule your first VA medical appointment.

2. Get notified of your application status. After your application is submitted, you’ll receive another phone call from VA to let you know whether your enrollment is approved. VA will also send you a Veterans Health Benefits Handbook with information on your healthcare benefits, Enrollment Priority Group, copay status, and other information you’ll need as a new enrollee. Handbooks also include information for appealing a decision if your initial application is rejected.

3. Get your Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC). Only Veterans enrolled in the VA healthcare system can receive a VHIC. Once your application is verified, contact the enrollment coordinator at your local VA medical center to arrange to get your picture taken for the your card either in advance or at your next VA healthcare appointment.

4. Keep your information current after you enroll. Enrolled Veterans can update your personal information (such as income, address, and insurance information) by completing VA Form 10-10EZR online, by visiting a local VA facility, or by calling 1-877-222-VETS between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.

Project You: Top Self-Development Courses to Take

Create a Perfect Morning Routine
You will learn how to create a morning routine filled with purpose, presence, and peace. You’ll be more energized, productive, and content — all before the start of your workday. Start your morning by doing things that feed your soul and make you happy.

Finding Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
If you’ve been searching for your true purpose in life, Eckhart Tolle has some straightforward advice: Stop struggling. This is because the primary purpose of every human being is simply to be: Be fully engaged in this moment, and be aligned with the natural flow of reality itself.

Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential
This course is designed to show you how to look at what you’re learning, and your place in what’s unfolding in the society around you, so that you can be what you want to be. You’ll see that by using certain mental tools and insights, you can learn and do more than you might have ever dreamed.

Achieving Personal and Professional Success
You'll learn how to find your passion and core values, how to apply these values to your own life, how to work well with others, how to communicate effectively, how to set goals, how to use influence to achieve these goals, and even how to say you are sorry. Through exercises, self-diagnostic surveys, quizzes, and many case studies, you'll discover how to define not only what you want, but also the best way to get it. These courses provide key insights into successful personal practices, whether you are in the office or in your home. We all bring ourselves to work every day, and these courses will help you be your best self wherever you are.


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