I’m Doug Nordman, and I post as “Nords” on the forums at early-retirement.org and forum.earlyretirementextreme.com. When I retired from the military at the age of 41, my spouse and I had enough assets and income to raise our daughter and enjoy our frugal surf-bum lifestyle. Nine years later, life just keeps getting better. However, we noticed that very few military retirees even considered the idea of retiring on their pensions, let alone did the analysis or the preparation. It just seems foreign to our martial culture of service. I asked the veterans on Early-Retirement.org about the military issues of early retirement, and we started building an outline of a book which has just been published. Thanks to Jacob’s kind invitation, I’d like to spread the word here.

With the help of over 50 other service members and veterans, we’ve written The
Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement
. It’s available now from Impact Publications and the usual online booksellers, and it’ll be in military exchanges worldwide by August 2011. Impact is also selling a 4×5 64-page pocket guide version for transition seminars and veteran’s programs.

All royalties will be donated to military charities chosen by the contributors. (The contributors love to share and teach, but I figured they’d draw the line at enriching me. Besides I’m financially independent, and I need to maintain the credibility.) The first two are the Wounded Warrior Project and Fisher House, and there’ll be more to come.

The book shows military veterans and their families how to achieve financial independence and enjoy a successful retirement on their terms. There are no tricks—ERE readers already know how it works. Most service members have learned to handle a somewhat different standard of living than the typical consumerism lifestyle, and they’ve also had the significant life experiences to help them sort out their priorities. Veterans and their families have the skills, the self-discipline, and the clarity of values to make ER happen. A military pension (with cheap health care) means you can ER as early as your 30s, of course, but even one tour gives service members the tools to ER from a bridge career after the military.

This is not a benefits catalog or a career manual. We teach veterans and their families how to leverage their unique military benefits for retirement, not just for another job. The chapters are packed with real-life examples of how others have already solved these financial and transition challenges. The book started over five years ago on Early-Retirement.org where the contributors told their stories, reviewed the chapters, and even helped choose the book covers. Bob Clyatt (Work Less, Live More) helped me with the table of contents and the format. The Kaderlis chipped in with frugal lifestyle and perpetual-traveler tips plus a lot of writing and publishing advice. I closely followed Jacob’s self-publishing posts. In the end I determined that a traditional distributor is, for now, still the best way to get this book into overseas military exchanges.

As the book works its way onto those shelves, I’d appreciate volunteers willing to step up with donations to libraries on military bases and local communities. I’m taking care of the Hawaii State Public Library system plus the Pearl Harbor and Schofield base libraries.

I’d love to hear more stories from military veterans and family members. Contributors to the second edition will help send more royalties to military charities.

I could also use your social-networking help. Most readers will enjoy the book and pocket guide and some will hate them, but right now most of America doesn’t know anything about them. Publicity is the only way to reach out to that last group, and you readers know many more people than I do who haven’t heard about the book. I’d appreciate it if you could:

  • pass this on to whoever you think might be interested; or
  • post about it and like it on your LinkedIn/Facebook/Google+ pages; or
  • just subscribe to The-Military-Guide.com.

And feel free to add a comment there!

Originally posted 2011-07-03 14:50:03.