Whether you are leaving the Forces soon, or are just planning for the future, it’s best to be prepared. Thinking ahead can help you know what your financial situation will be and plan for the costs of transitioning to civilian life.
If you are still serving in the forces it is worth considering starting to save for your future now. Saving whilst you are working in the Armed Forces provides a safety net for when you leave. There may be costs associated with moving and finding a new home or times when you are looking for work. Having a savings pot ready can help make the transition much less stressful.
Forces Finance is a part of Joining Forces CU, working in collaboration with the Armed Forces to provide fair financial services for personnel.
Forces Finance provides the option to save directly from your salary each month, making it easier to regularly save.
“It’s a structured way to save. You don’t see it therefore you don’t miss it”– Michael Cook, Ex-RAF and London Mutual Board Member
If you receive an Armed Forces pension you can also use our services to save each month.
“I saw that if I get a savings account my money will come straight out of my pension before going to my bank account which I like the idea of. I never see the money and it’s all done for me. Prior to that I wasn’t saving at all.”– Oliver Ardizzone, Ex-Army and Forces Finance Member
Some everyday expenses in your life during service may have been subsidised or taken directly from your salary. So, once you leave the services there may be new things you may need to budget for.
Probably the most important thing you may need to think about when leaving the Forces is where you are going to live. The Joint Service Housing Advice Office (JSHAO) provides information on the transition to civilian housing. You can watch their video below:
The main cost of housing will likely be mortgage or rent payments, as well as bills including council tax.
“It can be a shock to the bank account leaving the protective bubble of the Armed Forces.”– Michael Cook, Ex-RAF and London Mutual Board Member
Other expenses might include commuting to a new job, whether you choose public transport or buying a car. It is worth also adding up other essential living expenses such as food as well as how much you are likely to spend on leisure activities and subscriptions such as the gym. It’s a good idea to consider all your monthly income and outgoings.
There may have been times in life that you have needed to borrow. This might have been from a loan, credit card, overdraft, or a ‘buy now pay later service’.
Your credit history and credit score can affect your ability to borrow in the future so it’s worth regularly checking your score. Read more about how and why to check your credit score.
If you have outstanding debts you may be able to save money on interest by consolidating your debts with one loan. Consolidating your debt and starting to pay it off before leaving the forces can help you be in a stronger position in the future.
“I had a loan through my bank and I was just paying too much interest. Through LMCU it just worked out cheaper.”– Oliver Ardizzone, Ex-Army and Forces Finance Member
With Forces Finance you can also pay off your debts by having repayments deducted from your salary or pension.
“One of the great things a credit union can offer a Ex- service person is to mimic the way services operate and take savings money at source”– Michael Cook, Ex-RAF and London Mutual Board Member
Health & Wellbeing
Forces Finance and London Mutual Credit Union are dedicated to the financial well-being of Armed Forces personnel.
“The great thing about the credit union is that the staff are very hands-on. The staff know their customers.”Michael Cook, Ex-RAF and London Mutual Board Member
Here is a checklist of other things to think about when leaving the Forces that aren’t just about money!
- Registering for a Doctor and Dentist near where you are moving to.
- Research any potential immigration issues for non-British personnel – find out more in this government booklet.
- Finding a school place for children – you can get further advice on this from the Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS).
For more information and detail on leaving the Forces you can read the info sheets on the Army website. Thank you to Michael Cook and Oliver Ardizzone for contributing their experiences.
I have served over 36 years in the RAF Regiment. I enjoyed a full career that offered me and my family a fantastic lifestyle that was second to none. I still have close ties to friends still serving and non-serving throughout the world.
I was in the army for seven years and served in both Iraq and Afghanistan before retiring due to injury. I am now an adult volunteer for army cadets and a Forces Finance member.