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You have captured your small business idea, now what do you do? If you are like me, once the idea is seeded in your mind, you begin to brainstorm the best way forward. But what is the best way forward. Depending on your own personal experiences, getting your mind caged to help your idea might be one of the most challenging things you do.
I think one of most amazing aspects of starting a business is the pure creation of the endeavor. I think the concept of turning your thought, a series of synapses that fired in your brain, into an existing and tactile entity is one of the best attributes to being human. I personally think this pure creation provides is what provides deep satisfaction and feeds the soul of man and woman. Despite the feelings that great ideas provoke, it is still hard to see the path forward if you don't know how to proceed. This is where the business plan fits in nicely.
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Which is More Risky, Entrepreneurship or Trying to find Defense-Related Employment After Separation?
Earlier this year I attended my Transition Assistance Program (TAP) class ahead of my planned 1 August 2014 retirement. After completing the week of training with 25 other military members (both officers and enlisted), I was left with some thoughts about the program and life after the military.
TAP class, whose name is now Transition GPS due the passage of the 2011 Vow to Hire Heroes Act, was heavily geared towards providing military members the tools to become Government Service (GS) employees or defense industry professionals. I certainly understand why. After all, everyone in the class served in the military their entire career, some spanning over 30 years. It makes sense that most would want to capitalize on the skills they acquired during their many years of service.
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Buying a house can often times seem like an impossible dream for the average American. But as military family members, many people believe it's “easy” because, when eligible, we can buy a house with “no money down.” Now when you hear this what do you think? What does “no money down” mean to you? Do you relate it to buying a car where you walk into the first dealership you find, you sign some papers and then drive off in your new car? Well, for most people, this is not the case. Buying a home is a wonderful thing, but if you are going to take on the single largest debt in your life, you may want to prepare yourself, take some time, and do it right.
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Hey guys, have you taken this survey yet? Stuff like this is important because it may help you find work in the future, as well as, future generations of military spouses!
The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), a non-profit organization that advocates for military personnel and their families, is teaming up with Syracuse University's Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) to launch the Military Spouse Employment Survey.
Military spouses face many challenges to both employment and career advancement as a result of the military lifestyle. This imperative study will look at the employment pattern of all military spouses, especially related to their long-term career trajectories. We encourage all active duty, National Guard, reserve, veteran, and surviving spouses who are 18 years and older to participate by sharing their stories, experiences and lessons learned.
According to the 2010 Department of Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC), there are approximately 725,877 spouses of Active Duty service members and approximately 413,295 spouses of Reserve and Guard members. In addition, it is estimated that there are more than 15 million veterans' spouses in the United States and over 5.8 million surviving spouses. By adding their voice, we can build a stronger foundation for military spouses' professional needs, identify any barriers to career development and share their stories with government officials, state, and federal policy makers in order to overcome obstacles and improve the quality of life for our service members and their families.
The Military Spouse Employment Survey will open on September 16, 2013 and remain open for 30 days. This survey is completely anonymous, for research purposes and therefore completely voluntary. The survey will take approximately 30 minutes to complete.
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At the basic level, I think it is safe to say that human beings fundamentally get tremendous satisfaction out of creating something that is uniquely their own. I personally think this spirit is at the core of all human beings. I see this everyday in my own children when they develop their arts and crafts and proudly show my wife and I the bounty of the effort they put in. As we grow older, graduate from high school, college (or both) and enter the work force, we become part of an organization. While jobs vary widely (as does job satisfaction!), an objective person walking into any organization can see that waning passion is not an uncommon theme. I often wonder if that lack of passion is the cumulative result of getting farther away from your own interests and passions over time.
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Guys, I personally attended this event last year in Phoenix and it was the best conference I've ever attended. Inc. goes out of their way to make you feel welcome and feel as part of their family. They offer a high-level of support even when the conference is over...hell, especially when the conference is over. If you have your own business, or are thinking of starting one, I highly recommend you apply for this program. If you don't get selected, I highly encourage you to go anyway.
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An active-duty entrepreneur is a military service member or spouse who deliberately plans and carries out the steps required to conceptualize, develop, and (perhaps) launch a small business while still on active duty. They understand that utilizing their unique military ecosystem (which provides job security, a dependable salary, health-care, and a predictable career timetable) provides them a built-in advantage over other aspiring entrepreneurs. In fact, the military ecosystem might be the ideal place to begin small business development. Think of the untapped well of entrepreneurial potential energy the Department of Defense has to offer! If only a small percent of the overall military population mobilized this new approach, it would be a game-changer by spurring small business development, innovation, and job creation resulting in an overall positive affect on the sluggish US economy.
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[These aren't real questions that avid readers have sent in, yearning for my sage advice. I'm just paraphrasing some discussions I've had about money with family, friends, and co-workers]
I just changed jobs. Should I leave my 401(k) with my old employer, or roll it over to my new employer's 401(k) plan?
You shouldn't do either. You should rollover your old 401(k) into an IRA with low-cost mutual funds, like Vanguard. There are 2 main problems with 401(k) accounts in general:
First, the investment choices they offer are usually going to be fairly limited. They might not even have index funds. Opening an IRA with someone like Vanguard, Charles Schwab, or Fidelity gives you access to just about all of the mutual funds each company offers. It's like comparing a state-run grocery store in the Soviet Union to a well-stocked Wal-Mart in the United States.
Rob Aeschbach is a male military spouse who spent 12 years as an active duty Marine before becoming a Navy spouse. Since then he has been a stay-at-home-dad for more than 10 years, served in the Marine Corps Reserve until his recent retirement, and started a personal finance blog.
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