It can already be challenging enough to transition back to civilian life from active duty, but the prospect gets even more daunting for veterans moving abroad with family after retiring from service. Here we look at the benefits and the things you need to consider.
You need to consider a lot of factors during your move: your prospective home, the kids’ education, you and your wife’s careers. Disabled veterans in the U.S. might also worry about how they are going to receive their benefits while overseas.
Why Should You Move Abroad?
So why should you even consider moving? Chances are, you have already decided that you want to migrate. You’re simply reading this for further preparations, especially for those who have other plans upon arriving (such as starting a business.)
However, for the benefit of those who have not decided yet, here are a few reasons why you should consider migrating to another country:
- It extends your call for adventure. There are a lot of us who entered active duty in order to fulfill that call for adventure. This is the reason why you might be dreading your retirement in the first place. Moving to another country can fulfill that need.
- It brings you back to places you actually enjoyed. You and your family might have enjoyed your stay at a particular duty station and want to come back for good.
- It adds value to your benefits. Migrating might require quite an investment upfront, but living in a country with a lower cost of living and high value for USD (like a lot of Asian countries) can help save on expenses in the long run.
- It gives you a fresh restart. Finally, this is an excellent way to restart your and your family’s life, especially if your current environment triggers a lot of negative memories that you’d rather not remember constantly.
You Need to Talk to Your Family
After you have decided that you potentially want to migrate, the next thing that you need to do is sell this idea to your family. The last thing that you want to happen is your family resenting you for uprooting them.
Consider Your Extended Family in the Decision as Well
Since we are already on the subject of family, you also need to consider how you would feel about leaving your extended family behind. Who is going to take care of the more elder members of the family? Are there other siblings or relatives willing to take on the responsibilities that you or your spouse were originally in charge of?
There are different types of POAs that you can look into if you want to pass on your authority to anyone. Just make sure to talk to your family lawyer in order to properly weigh your options. You might not want to give too much authority to another person on your personal affairs but you also don’t want to leave him with less than he needs in order to perform his duties.
There Are Workshops for Veterans Planning to Migrate
There are specific moving away workshops being offered for veterans and their spouses. While you can always perform all your research online, attending a workshop specifically on this subject allows you to ask more specific questions from experts or those who have previously experienced migrating themselves.
There are also organizations that are willing to offer information and assistance both online and offline.
You Will Need to Update All Your Identification and Legal Documents
The next thing that you need to do is to update all your identification and related documents. Birth certificates, social security cards, and other personal documentation must be collected for all members of the family.
Don’t forget to renew your driver’s licenses as well. Getting them updated abroad is a hassle that you don’t want to experience immediately after the move.
You might want to consider getting a power of attorney done for you and your spouse as well so that both of you can get things done even if the other person is not present.
Prepare Yourself for a LOT of Planning
Once all the possible documents and requirements are out of the way, you can already start your plans. The more important points to plan in advance are your home arrangements, educational and career opportunities, change of addresses, insurances, budget and spending, and assets inventory just to name a few.
Moving Doesn’t Affect Your Eligibility to Access Benefits
One of the biggest factors that veterans might be worried about when moving abroad is its possible impact on their eligibility to enjoy retirement benefits. The answer is it won’t. According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, “most VA benefits are payable regardless of your place of residence or nationality”. You can access their website for more details.
There are certain benefits that are paid in half for each authorized dollar value depending on your location. For instance, those who are eligible to receive Dependents Educational Assistance and Clothing allowance benefits may find their benefit rate matched to their value in Philippine pesos if you decide to move there, also according to the VA website.
It Will Take a Mental and Emotional Toll on You
It’s easy to get excited right after the big decision, but you can expect to experience a rollercoaster of emotions as your move gets nearer. You might even find yourself doubting your decision and pull the plug altogether. We just want you to know that it’s natural to feel that way.
As mentioned, transitioning to civilian life is already a mentally exhausting change on its own. Moving to another state can already feel draining. But moving to another country especially to a place where English is not really their native language can really take you and your family out of your comfort zones. Younger children may adjust better to their new environment, but older kids, especially teenagers, won’t easily be able to.
However, if you sincerely believe that this is the best for you and your family, then go for it. Many have done it before you and many will do it after you. While there’s no 100% guarantee that you will thrive there, we can say for sure that you can increase your chances of success with proper and sufficient planning.
Jim Hughes is a content marketer who has experience covering technology, finance, economics, and business topics for about 3 years. He works as a content manager at OpenCashAdvance.com.