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Planning for Your Retirement Home

Planning for Your Retirement Home

Source: By Perry Lockhart for LIFELines

For 25 years you've circled the globe, calling 15 diverse locations home. Your career has taken you to the East Coast, West Coast, Gulf Coast, Italy, Japan, and places in between. On average, you and your family have pulled up anchor and made a move every two-and a-half years.

Many times you lived on base. When base housing wasn't available, you met your family's housing needs in small apartments or town homes. Later in your career, you splurged on single-family homes a couple of times, but because of your nomadic lifestyle, you always rented.

That didn't stop you from dreaming about owning your own home, dreaming about owning your own little piece of the world where you could finally grow some roots. And you've made it a goal to be a homeowner, so you've saved for the down payment, and you've kept a clean credit record. You've done your research, and you know the time is approaching when you'll be ready to join the ranks of homeownership.

Now, retirement is just down the street and approaching fast. It's time to make the leap, into retirement, into a new career, and into your own home.

Factors to Consider When Deciding on Your Home

There are a number of considerations to make when you are contemplating buying a retirement home. Where you want to live, your current financial health, future potential earnings, and the amount of your retirement income all factor into how much you are able and willing to spend for your 40 acres.

Other considerations include whether you have to pay for your children's college education, whether you want to travel or spend money on other big-ticket items, or how much you want to save for your true retirement. For some, another factor will be whether an ex-spouse will receive part of your retirement pay under the Uniformed Services Former Spouse's Protection Act.

Retirement Pay

Your monthly retirement pay is calculated based on the number of years and months of active service you performed. The Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) website provides an online calculator to help you determine your projected monthly retirement pay.

Many retirees base their mortgage payment on the amount of retirement pay they will receive because this monthly payment will continue for life, and it will increase with annual cost-of-living adjustment increases determined by Congress. Tying a mortgage payment into retirement pay is a quick and convenient way to budget for the mortgage payment.

Your New Career

Once you've determined how much retirement pay you will receive, you have to determine whether you are going to find a new civilian career to bring in additional income. The majority of retirees continue to work for many years after military retirement because most retirees are in their 40s or early 50s when they transition out of the service.

Where Do You Want to Live?

A big decision you have to make while looking for civilian employment is deciding where to live. Since the military will move you to your retirement home of selection anywhere in the United States, you can make your job search fit your home-owning dreams, without having to worry about paying moving costs.

Choosing your retirement location requires taking into account many factors, including cost of living, home prices, job availability, climate, etc. These are all personal decisions you and your family need to make.


When you decide to buy your retirement home, it is a good idea to make a budget and stick to it. With proper planning and insight, it is possible to own a home and maintain the standard of living that you want to have in retirement.

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