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Book Review: “The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement”

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The Military Guide to Financial Independence and RetirementReview by Javier Centonzio, Esq., Alexandria, Virginia

Book by: Doug Nordman

As I read The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement, I found myself regretting not having read it before joining the Marine Corps at the age of eighteen. This book is a must read for anyone who is considering joining the military. However, if you are already in the military-whether you have been enlisted for two months or nineteen years-this book will provide you with useful insight and strategies to prepare for life after the military.

Many people who join the military, including myself, decide not to make a career of it. Aware of this fact, author Doug Nordman tailored the book to provide retirement advice for those who serve one enlistment along with those who decide to serve for twenty plus years.

Mr. Nordman, a military retiree himself, takes a practical approach to planning for retirement that readers who have military experience will appreciate. Similar to most military training manuals this book is user-friendly. For example, the introduction to the book starts by telling the reader why they should read the book, why planning for retirement is important, how the book can help them plan for retirement, and even explains how to read the book. The “how-to” portion of the introduction saves the reader time by pointing them to the chapters of the book that are relevant to them, based on their time in the military and type of service (e.g. active duty, reserve, national guard).

As you work through the chapters, you are provided with real life examples and free resources aimed at planning for retirement. The author makes it a point to dispel of many financial planning myths, while also providing real world advice to overcome the perceived pitfalls that brought about the fears and misconceptions associated with those myths.

One of the most helpful sections of the book comes towards the back cover where the reader is given a recommended reading list and a plethora of retirement-related resources to include: military specific retirement books, general retirement books, books on frugality, saving, investing, military retirement research papers and articles, and various websites along with online calculators and other tools.

My favorite part of the book was Chapter 8 which discussed what to expect the first two years after retirement. This section appealed to me because it gave the reader insight into the effects that retirement can have on one’s mind and emotional health. While much of the book is dedicated to explaining retirement programs, formulas used to determine pension payments, and other technical aspects related to retirement planning, the author does a great job advocating for a holistic approach to retirement.

Although geared towards the military community, the text does a great job of explaining the obstacles that all retirees face when planning for their retirement. The very first obstacles discussed are health care costs and inflation, which the author quickly points out are areas where military retirees have a major advantage. This advantage is due to their eligibility for health care insurance through TRICARE at a very affordable monthly premium, and a defined-benefit pension program that includes cost of living adjustments that account for inflation rates. This is yet another reason why I wish I would have read this book before I decided to leave the military prior to becoming eligible for retirement.

Whether you are now in the military, married to a service-member, former military, or know someone who is currently serving or considering the military, this book is a must read. The fact that the author donates all royalties from the sale of his book to military charities also makes buying this book for yourself or a loved one a no-brainer. As a veteran, I would like to thank Mr. Nordman not only for his service to our country, but also for his service to his fellow veterans by providing them the information needed to successfully plan their retirements and gain financial independence.

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