Resettlement is close to our heart …
So says Neil Marshall, Chief Executive of the Forces Pension Society, who offers some personal reflections on his own journey through the resettlement financial planning process
Resettlement is something many of our frontline staff have been through, myself included. It’s why we at the Forces Pension Society place so much emphasis on supporting those going through the process, believing as we do that the Society exists to help you make the best pension choices by keeping you up to date and well advised about your pension options.
In my own case, I left the Army after a fulfilling 33-year career, but before completing my full career commission. The timing of my decision to leave was of course a very personal one, but it worked for me. After a couple of years in consultancy, I succeeded in my application for the CEO role at the Forces Pension Society, which has allowed me to be part of an exceptional team, supporting those serving, veterans and the wider military community. Importantly, I was already a Member of the Society, which had helped me through the resettlement financial planning process.
Since leaving the Army I’ve met scores of highly motivated, successful former military folks from diverse backgrounds in all kinds of inspiring roles. This has led me to consider the keys to success. While I can only give you some personal reflections, or top tips, to consider, you might be interested in viewing this short video of me explaining my own decision process to Jim Hughes (aka ‘The Untamed Entrepreneur’).
Looking back, here’s what worked for me …
- Take control and use the network. Resettlement is not something that’s done to you but rather something you undertake. So seize it and exploit every opportunity to educate, train and develop. There’s a great network of people and organisations only too willing to help. Speak to them, develop your own network and let them advise and influence you.
- Understand yourself. Self-awareness is critically important. Have an honest conversation with yourself and understand where you may be a good or bad fit. Look back on your military career and identify where you were happiest and best. That may indicate where you should concentrate your efforts.
- Have a plan but be prepared to deviate from it. We all know a plan never survives contact with the enemy, so don’t be surprised if your plan doesn’t deliver exactly as you thought it would. Take an occasional punt on a resettlement course that catches your eye. Even if it doesn’t take you to your ultimate destination, it can be an enriching and worthwhile experience.
- ‘Do the math’ (as my American buddies would say). Your financial situation is unique, like your Armed Forces pension. It’s highly likely that your pension will be the foundation on which your financial future is based. Once you’ve worked out what you need to meet your financial commitments then you know the salary level at which you can afford to enter the market. Your embedded military qualities will then see you progress, even if your initial income is below expectations.
Which brings me to today’s environment and its uncertainties. While it’s too early to predict the mid- and long-term consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, it will certainly have a profound impact on the job market. But with significant change will come a host of opportunities for those prepared to adapt to changing circumstances, seize the initiative, work collaboratively and make things happen – the very qualities inherent in the military’s USP.
For our part at the Forces Pension Society, we are adapting to the changing environment to continue to support you with guidance when you need it most and give you a voice where it counts, on the representative bodies for Armed Forces and public services pensions. In the coming years, we believe this representation will be particularly vital. And remember, it pays to understand your pension. With that in mind, I look forward to welcoming you as a member of the Society and supporting you through your resettlement and beyond.
With my best wishes for your future …
Get in touch with the Forces Pension Society
If you are already a member of the Forces Pension Society and have any pensions-related questions, contact us by sending an email. If you are not a member but would like to know more about us, visit our website for full details.
The Forces Pension Society is the trusted source for independent Armed Forces Pension advice. We exist to advise members on the technical aspects of their Armed Forces Pension, campaign against any injustices in the policy provision or maladministration of Armed Forces Pensions, and educate the Armed Forces community on all pension matters.