THE WOES OF THE MILITARY-TO-CIVILIAN TRANSITION
As I approach retirement I am thinking more about my transition from military to civilian employment, and honestly, I am not as concerned as many of my counterparts. Like many of you, I see the daily LinkedIn posts of veterans searching for jobs and I interact with many struggling through what vocation to pursue in the civilian world. I hear stories of veterans going months without employment, and many more who settle for less-than-desirable jobs just to pay the bills while continuing to search for that “perfect job”. Then there are those who sadly burn through their entire savings waiting for that once in a lifetime opportunity that may never come along. Sounds terrifying, right?!
Transitioning from the security of a paycheck on the 1stand 15thof every month, to the unknown of where your next paycheck will come from is a scary proposition! After 20 years of military service and leading people through the business of war, you are left with a decent pension and added insurance benefits. However, many of the skills perfected over a military career don’t easily translate to many businesses. There is a real struggle that many veterans encounter.
But there’s another way…
CREATE PASSIVE INCOME THAT REPLACES YOUR MILITARY SALARY
What if you could honorably serve your country for an entire career and then not have to worry about your transition to the civilian world? What if you could create enough passive income from real estate investing to cover all your living expenses? What if you could create multiple streams of income through side-hustles, while serving, to replace your military income? What if you could retire from the military and NOT have to go get a 9-5 job after retirement? What if you could choose when you want to play with your kids, work, go on vacation, serve your community, coach, attend plays and games, and pursue any of your other passions?
This is my plan. This is the path for me. This is why I’m not worried about my transition to the civilian world. I am creating my own transition plan.
CREATE YOUR OWN TRANSITION PLAN
Over the last 11 years of my military career I have been passively investing in real estate. I have bought and sold mortgage notes and rental properties. I have been a private money lender and flipped houses. I have passively invested in apartment complex syndications and created three separate business within the real estate industry. Not all of these have been home runs. Honestly, some of my ventures have been a downright failure, with others being base hits. Throughout the journey I have picked myself up after striking out, having learned a solid lesson, and I do it again with a better result. I have slowly built multiple income streams that will soon replace my military income. My transition to civilian life is going to be easy! My only regret is that I didn’t start earlier.
Most of the above ventures have been somewhat unintentional with respect to my military transition. Real estate investing was just a fun way to make more money while serving my country. I am passionate about and love the benefits accompanying real estate investing, and I honestly believe it is one of the best ways to build wealth. As I approach retirement, I am intentional and focused on creating my own transition. Last year I had an “ah-ha” moment and knew exactly what I wanted to do after I retired from the military. Not only have I put my own plan on overdrive, I have created a real estate business to help other people get on this same path.
A SIMPLE PLAN TO TRANSITION
Last year, my college roommate of 4 years, best man in my wedding, future Commanding Officer of a Navy Cyber Command, guy who my children call “Zio” (uncle in Italian), and I started a turnkey real estate company providing fully rehabbed, rented, cash flowing rental properties to our network of friends, family, and military/veteran investors. We have already created our transition plan; it’s now time to shift our focus outward by helping and educating other service members and veterans grow their wealth through building their rental property portfolios. David Gutierrez and I are on a mission to help more military service members create successful transition plans.
Here’s food for thought: what if a service member purchased one single-family home rental property, valued at $100,000, every two years for the next 20 years while honorably serving her country? Let’s just say that each property’s rent averages $1,200 per month ($250 per month of positive income after all expenses are paid). Now, what if she was able to pay off the mortgage on those 10 properties by the time she was ready to retire from the service? She would be left with a monthly paycheck of $12,000 per month and a net worth of over $1 Million (assuming the properties increase in value over those 20 years)! Subtract monthly expenses, and she will realistically be left with a minimum of $10,000 per month of income, just from those 10 rental properties. That is not only obtainable and realistic, but she now has a transition plan! She created the ability to choose what to do with her time after serving her country.
Now, add that $10,000 per month of passive income to your military retirement pension, insurance benefits, and a GI Bill to pay for your children’s education, and you no longer have to worry about finding a job after retirement.
That, my friends, is a simple plan for your military-to-civilian transition! It’s not hard. All you have to do is take action and start now. Create your own plan.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stuart Grazier is an active duty Navy pilot who has served 17 years in the military. Stuart has been investing in real estate since 2008 and owns a portfolio of rental properties, mortgage notes, and apartments. He and his business partner, David Gutierrez, started Storehouse 3:10 Ventures, LLC in 2018 and has acquired and sold 23 turnkey rental properties, averaging 2-3 properties per month. Stuart is also the President of the Military Investor Network, which aims to network, educate, and connect other military/veteran service members that are interested in real estate investing.