Ronald L. Krannich, Ph.D.
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Doug Nordman

 

"Helping military members and their families achieve financial independence and a successful retirement"

 

Retired at age 41 after 20 years with the U.S. Navy's submarine force, today Doug Nordman is an enthusiastic surfer, an omnivorous reader, a martial arts student, and a veteran of many chaotic home-improvement projects.

He and his retired Navy Reserve spouse are raising a teenager in Hawaii. Life is really good and busier than ever as he and his family continue to discover the joys of early retirement.

Read more about early retirement on Doug's website, www.the-Military-Guide.com, or join thousands of other early retirees at www.Early-Retirement.org. Author's royalties are donated to military charities, and your stories can help write the next edition of his book!

Doug is the author of:
In Doug's words:

I've been tinkering with retirement planners since the 1980s. (Back then you filled out a workbook, or maybe you ordered a floppy disk from a magazine ad.) Like the rest of the military, I'd assumed that I'd need to find a "real" job after I retired from active duty. But by the 1990s, the Web offered robust and detailed retirement planners.

After a few years of research I realized that our growing portfolio income (plus my pension) would nearly replace my active-duty pay. We wouldn't be rich but we'd be financially independent.

As my retirement date approached I started working through the "career skill assessments" and "interest surveys," but they weren't encouraging: middle management and nuclear engineering. Good to know, but I'd already endured nearly 20 years of that.

When I griped about it with my father, he said "Do you need to work? You have a pension and you've saved some money, right?" It was a blinding epiphany: suddenly my career search was over and my REAL retirement planning began.

My spouse and I had always tracked our spending and tried to follow a budget. We'd always saved most of our pay raises (and invested them) and we'd tried to live a low-key frugal life. We were raising a family and didn't really have time to get swept up in consumerism. We made the usual financial mistakes but we managed to keep saving.

In 2000 we had already rebalanced our investments and we weren't losing too badly. By 2001, the year before my retirement, we knew we could make it. When the stock markets plunged even more after 9/11, we re-ran those numbers through the retirement planners and decided we still had enough. If things got worse then I could always look for one of those middle-management jobs.

By 2004 we weren't worrying very much about the markets anymore. I knew that I didn't need to work again, but life just seemed too easy and there had to be a catch. Eventually I found my way to the Early-Retirement.org discussion board, where I introduced myself and asked "What am I missing?" The answer: "Not a thing. Enjoy yourself!"

As the months went by, I realized that very few military retirees retired early. Most of us immediately found a bridge career and worked into our 60s or even longer. The perpetual challenges for early retirees are decades of inflation and affordable health insurance.

Yet military retirees have a pension with a COLA and cheap healthcare, so why were they still working? The answers aren't complicated, but it's a highly individual decision with a number of factors.

Many of us are still working because we didn't realize that we could retire! I learned that the military offers plenty of opportunities for financial independence, but most people didn't realize this until it was almost too late. A few years of planning, budgeting, saving, and investing could make all the difference between retiring from the military for a civilian career...or retiring to enjoy life. Either decision can be a good one, but it's even better to have a choice!

Eventually the other veterans at Early-Retirement.org said "Nords, you should write a book." My decades of retirement planning have been distilled into the two guides mentioned above, which are the product of the contributions of over 50 veterans and over five years of writing.

Between them you'll be able to use our centuries of financial and retirement experience to find your own path. It's not as mysterious or painful as it seems, and we'll show you how!

 


 

 
 
 

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