You’re recently separated or discharged from the military, or your separation date is soon. Thank you for your service! But what’s next?
The transition period after military service can be complex and confusing to navigate. While the government may assist with your transition in some ways, finding a new home could be up to you. This guide will help you decide where to live, whether to buy, rent, and more.
Deciding Where to Move
There are several factors to consider for your first military move after separation. They all hinge on what you want to prioritize next: school, reserves, straight into the workforce, etc. Or maybe you’re still figuring that out!
Whether you plan on joining the National Guard, reserves, or have an unfulfilled military service obligation (MSO), your time serving in the military may not be complete. Your moving choices may be restricted in this scenario.
Another factor to consider post-military separation is how frequently you want to utilize veterans’ benefits and other military resources. The best cities for military retirees may be close to large bases for this reason.
School after the military
If you’re already enrolled in an in-person educational program, you will likely want to live close to that institution. If you’re enrolled in an online learning program or plan to in the future, you may have the flexibility to live wherever you like.
If you have yet to enroll or be accepted into a particular school, consider staying put until you have a more concrete plan. On the other hand, if you know you want to live in a specific city or state and don’t plan to enter a very specialized program, you may be able to choose your new home first and college next!
Career next steps
If you have a defined skill set and field of expertise that you plan to pursue, finding the right city may already be decided for you! For example, picking from the top U.S. cities for tech jobs could be helpful if you’re going into that field. If you don’t have a job lined up or want to pursue a new path, researching cities with thriving industries you’re interested in can be a great starting point.
Even if your work or school opportunities allow you to live wherever you’d like, you want to consider your family and friends. The time after military service ends is a huge transitional period and can be challenging to navigate alone. Living near family or friends can ease the stress of this life change with familiarity and emotional support.
If you have a spouse or children, they may determine your next step. For example, you might need to wait until summer break to ease the transition for your family and then focus on finding a family-friendly city.
If you’re unsure of your next steps
Maybe you aren’t sure what the future holds–that’s okay! If you don’t already have military, work, or school obligations or have the opportunity to be remote, you may be free to explore different states. It might sound daunting, but the ability to try out new places allows you the ultimate freedom to find your best fit.
If your time in the military sparked the travel bug, consider testing out different cities temporarily. Short-term leases can grant the flexibility to live in a new place for a few months while deciding where to put down roots, unlike buying a house after military service!
What to Do Before You Settle Down
After your service, you may feel it’s necessary to go out and immediately buy a house. While that may work for some situations, especially if you already have a job or school lined up, consider these factors before shelling out that down payment.
Figure out your finances.
27% of the service members surveyed by American Consumer Credit Counseling have $10,000 or more in credit card debt, while only 16% of civilians do. If you’re one of the many military families with debt, saving money or paying off those debts could be beneficial before buying a house.
You may also wonder: does the military pay for housing after you leave? While there are some circumstances where this might happen, it is not common. Having to pay and budget for a mortgage yourself can be a big adjustment in your post-military life, and you want to plan accordingly.
Plan for the future.
Uncertainty during a time like this is normal. Your next steps may be a stepping stone while getting reacquainted with civilian life. Most branches offer career counseling and transition assistance; take advantage of those services if you feel lost.
Rent while you plan.
If you aren’t ready to permanently call a place home, that’s okay. You may feel pressured to have everything figured out, but this is a personal journey. Depending on your situation, you may not even have a house full of furniture. Consider renting furniture through a service such as CORT during this temporary phase. You won’t be tied down to a place for long, and you can make your transitional home feel like home.
Furniture Rental for Transitional Times
If you are still determining where to settle permanently after your military service, lugging around a house full of furniture can be a pain. With CORT Furniture Rental, you can furnish your entire home with beautiful furniture, from dressers and mattresses all the way down to linens. No need to cram everything into a storage unit!
All you have to do is create a furniture subscription package and pick a delivery date. Our crew will deliver and install your furniture and housewares. Then, you can move in your personal belongings and enjoy your newly furnished space, no assembly required! When you no longer need the furniture, you can schedule a pickup, and we’ll take care of moving our furniture out of your space. And if you’re still in the military and just planning ahead, CORT offers rental services specifically tailored for military families. Start browsing furniture online or in a local CORT Showroom today!