About the Book – The Military Guide To Financial Independence & Retirement

Read The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement — and share your stories/advice for the second edition.  Impact Publications is distributing it to military exchanges worldwide, as well as through their website and other outlets.  Subscribe to the blog, follow the stories & advice of other readers, and learn about the publishing process with me!

Written by the military for the military, all royalties are donated to military charities.

The book shows military veterans how to achieve financial independence and retire on their terms– whether that’s after 20 years of active duty to never work again, or after a career in the Reserves/National Guard, or after just a single tour with a civilian “bridge career” to get to early retirement.

Author Royalties Donated to Military Charities

We’ve already donated over $1700 $3800 $9000 $11,000 $17,000 to Wounded Warrior Project and Fisher House!  If you contribute your advice or story to the book, then you get a vote on the military charities receiving the royalties.

Here are some sample sales data and the impact we have had:

Date Paperback
Pocket Guide
Jun 11 – Oct 2011 599 6 2929 $1136.15
Nov 11 – Apr 2012 232 35 232 $524.59
May 11 – Oct 2012 97 96 228 $264.55
Nov 12 – Apr 2013 26 50 150 $145.48
May 13 – Oct 2013 332 64 200 $231.50
Nov 13 – Apr 2014 118 55 20 $197.27
May 14 – Oct 2014 344 79 1002 $501.87
Nov 14 – Apr 2015 129 65 188 $285.68
May 15 – Oct 2015 118 75 450 $325.58
Nov 15 – Apr 2016 28 56 125 $186.54
May 16 – Oct 2016 160 47 500 $358.38
Nov 16 – Apr 2017 78 107 0?!? $243.72
May 17 – Nov 2017 101 70 0 $173.63
Nov 17 – Apr 2018 100 88 1 $182.27
May 18 – Oct 2018 133 118 3 $256.01
Nov 18 – Apr 2019 117 94 1 $259.22
Totals 2712 1105 6029 $5272.44

Adding all the royalties together, along with the blog income and the funds from the sale of the site, we’ve donated over $17,000 to Wounded Warrior Project and Fisher House (through mid-2019). We have continued to donate royalties from the book sales to military charities.

Thanks again!

Where to Buy the Book

You can find the book at dozens of libraries around the world (including many military bases). You can also read the first chapter free with this PDF link.  The Kindle version is sold at Amazon.

If you want to share The Military Guide with your command or family readiness group, it’s now available through the GSA Schedule and can be purchased with government funds.
Search GSAadvantage.gov for author name “Nordman” or follow these links for the book at great discounts using command funds.

The best value is the pocket guide version of the book: 64 pages and only 4″x6″. Bulk discounts are also available through the publisher, and it’s a very cost-effective way for command financial specialists to share the book with families and other members of your command.

Many Reserve and National Guard leaders have bought the pocket guide for their own commands with their own funds. You can get your own bulk discount from Impact Publications, so it’s a very cheap way to give an inspiring seminar and help people take charge of their finances. (Contact me or the publisher for your personal bulk discount.)  We even have training handouts and presentations at the military section of the Bogleheads Wiki.

Download a Copy of the First Chapter

Here’s a sample of the first chapter (PDF):

The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement Chapter 1

You can read or download the first chapter and decide if you would like to purchase a copy of the print or digital versions. Follow this link to find it on Amazon.

Portions of the book are also condensed into a 4″x5″ 64-page pocket guide– perfect for handy reference and transition seminars.

If you’re planning to order five or more copies, please contact me for Ron Krannich’s personal e-mail address at Impact Publications!

Table of Contents – The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement

Here’s the book’s table of contents, along with Rock&Roll quotes from a draft (sorry, no audio track). Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, the editor decided to cut the Rock&Roll quotes from the actual printed Table of Contents. But I’ve left them for your viewing (and listening!) pleasure.

Note: Just about every subject in the table of contents has also been discussed in a blog post on this site.  (The “Recommended Reading” list is updated here.)  The book, however, covers them in more detail with all the stories from over 50 servicemembers & veterans who have been there & done that. The book’s checklists came from their experience (and mistakes!).

For example, a highly successful Reservist wrote the outline and a number of paragraphs for Chapter 5, including ways to leverage your civilian and Reserve/National Guard careers off each other.  Ken & Arif contributed their career stories (military and civilian!) for Chapter 6.  The rest of the chapters are filled with examples and advice from over the other contributors.


  • (“What’s money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.”  — Bob Dylan)
  • “Why are you still working?”: the question that started this project
  • “Why plan for the future? I could be killed tomorrow!”
  • How this book can help
  • How to read this book

Chapter 1: Plan Your Post-Military Life

  • (“Life’s been good to me so far.” — Joe Walsh, philosopher and Eagles guitarist)
  • The biggest obstacles confronting all retirees: healthcare and inflation
  • The biggest benefits of a military retirement: TRICARE & an inflation-fighting pension
  • Where are all the retirees? How do we ask for their advice?
  • What they don’t tell you at the military’s “Transition Assistance Programs”
  • Which do you want? An occupation, a bridge career, or an avocation?
  • Bridge careers, career surveys & assessment tests
  • Myths of military retirement and early retirement

Chapter 2: You’ve Decided to Retire! So Calculate Your Income

  • (“You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave!”  — The Eagles, “Hotel California”)
  • Humor: Things you shouldn’t learn to do before you retire
  • The Department of Defense military retirement pay system
  • What the Transition Assistance Program can do for you– and what it can’t
  • Advance planning
  • Financial myths of retirement
  • Retirement budgeting & finances
  • How much will I need?
  • How much can I spend?
  • Sample calculations for a warrant officer deciding when to retire under Final Pay

Chapter 3: Start the Year Before

  • (“We gotta get out of this place…”  –– The Animals
  • (“There must be some kind of way out of here…” — Bob Dylan, interpreted by Jimi Hendrix)
  • Filing your retirement request
  • What to tell your kids, parents, shipmates, & friends
  • What to do with your unused leave
  • Choosing where to live
  • How far away from the commissary, medical, dental?
  • Military-friendly states
  • Are you a perpetual traveler? What does your family think?
  • The expatriate lifestyle– intriguing but not for everyone

Chapter 4: Countdown to Your Final Six Months.

  • (“We’ll be takin’ care of business…” — Bachman Turner Overdrive)
  • Attending the Transition Assistance Programs (TAP) training
  • Self-assessment software & worksheets
  • Discharge paperwork
  • Medical & dental exams
  • Exit interviews and last-minute questions
  • Cleaning up the details
  • The retirement ceremony
  • The command’s farewell
  • Saying “See you later” to everyone else

Chapter 5: Retirement for Reserves and National Guard

  • (“So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains, and we never even know we have the key…” — The Eagles)
  • Another way to get to 20 years for the military pension & TRICARE
  • Extended mobilizations
  • Avoid these other civilian-military pitfalls
  • Health insurance while retired awaiting pay
  • The pension starts at age 60, but you can retire right now on savings

Chapter 6: Bridge Career Options

  • (“Aw, that ain’t workin’– that’s the way you do it!” — Dire Straits)
  • Retiring without a military pension or even the Reserves/National Guard
  • The Safe Withdrawal Rate (SWR)
  • “How to” examples from Ken and Arif

Chapter 7: Move in the Right Direction

  • (“You can’t always get what you want…” — The Rolling Stones)
  • Military compensation and the lifestyle
  • Start saving now
  • Frugal living is not deprivation
  • Payroll deductions
  • The Thrift Savings Plan, IRAs, and taxable investment accounts
  • Real estate: renting versus buying
  • Tailor your portfolio to your military pay and to your pension
  • The “fog of work” (with apologies to von Clausewitz)

Chapter 8: The First Two Years After Retiring

  • (“This is a thing I’ve never known before, it’s called easy living.  This is a place I’ve never seen before, and I’ve been forgiven.” — Uriah Heep)
  • (“I . Wanna rock & roll. All night. And party ev-er-y day.” — KISS)
  • Relax & reconnect
  • Taking a long-term perspective– Terhorst’s “two-year test”
  • Re-engage with family
  • Lifestyles in retirement (the perpetual question: “What do you do all day?”)
  • Don’t recreate your old environment
  • Forget about who you were: discover who you are
  • Dealing with “retiree guilt”
  • Volunteering for charity or neighbors
  • The inevitable job offers
  • Small financial steps
  • Healthy lifestyle
  • Rebel a little
  • Where do you want to go next?

Chapter 9: The Future

  • (“Ya know ya got to… keep on rolling…” — REO Speedwagon)
  • (“That’s why I’m goin’ to Kathmandu!” — Bob Seger)
  • You will change. Your plans may change too.
  • Long-term goals
  • Find your avocation?
  • Paying it forward
  • “Who are you with?”: Blowing the job interview of the decade
  • Conclusion: Enjoy the journey


  • Effect of Inflation on a Dollar
  • Saving Base Pay and Promotion Raises
  • Retiring on Multiple Streams of Income
  • Effect of Inflation on a REDUX Military Pension
  • “Present Value” Estimate of a Military Pension
  • Asset Allocation Considerations for the Lump-Sum Value of a Military Pension

Chapter & Appendix Notes
Bibliography & Index
Recommended Reading

Want to read a condensed overview of The Military Guide to Financial Independence and RetirementThe pocket guide squeezes the book into 64 4″x5″ pages. That was a pretty painful limit but it gives you a brainstorming boost for a transition-assistance seminar. Impact Publications has seen a great response to earlier drafts of the pocket guide (thanks!), so we’re offering bulk discounts to the military’s transition-assistance programs as well as state Veteran’s Affairs offices.

Questions?  Problem?  Suggestion?  Send me a note!