A Charity offering personal help and advice for all serving and former members of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, their Reserves and Families

Leaving the Service? Carry out a Life Audit

Published 26/04/2017 11:30:00, by Marina Maher

People decide to leave the Armed Forces for a variety of reasons and some have the decision made for them, with MBOS and redundancy being examples of the reasons this happens.  Whether it is a decision you have come to yourself or one that you have had forced on you, if it is happening you need to plan for what comes next.

Most people, quite naturally, start to think about what they want to do when they leave and have a general idea about how much money they wish to earn in their new civilian role.  There is a tendency for many to look for employment that is going to provide a salary that is roughly the same as they currently earn.  Everyone has a certain standard of living and this is usually tailored to levels of income.  It would seem logical that it would follow that a similar level of income would be required from a civilian job in order to maintain that standard of living.

The fact that is often overlooked when planning is that life outside the military will be completely different than it has been whilst serving and the amount of money required is highly likely to be different too.  One of the best ways to prepare for success in the civilian world is to conduct a ‘Life Audit’.  Instead of selecting a job you’d like to do and then trying to fit everything around it, it is a good idea to determine what you will need from your future employment in terms of salary and benefits and then looking for a job that can provide them.

The Life Audit should look at factors such as where you wish to live and what the cost of living in that area is.  For example, how much you will need in order to pay a mortgage or rent in the area, what food and entertainment costs there, will you need a vehicle or can you use public transport?  How much money will you need to allow you to be able to do the things you like to do in your free time, such as hobbies, socialising and membership of clubs or associations?  Once you have worked all this out, you can then look for jobs that pay what is required and craft your resettlement accordingly.

This planning all needs to take place at the very beginning of the resettlement process.  It is soul destroying for people when they decide on a new career, use all their MOD (and private) funding and training time to become qualified for it, only to find that after all that effort the job does not pay enough for the necessities and luxuries required.  It makes sense to understand the requirements at the beginning so that you can plan how to achieve the life you want, rather than getting a job that means you have to compromise your standard of living.

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