When I left the military, it was to be my own boss. It didn’t work out so well at first, but after a few false starts, including getting kicked in the teeth a few times, I finally found something that I enjoyed doing—writing and publishing—and I turned it into a business.
I’ll start from the beginning, but before I do that, let me explain something. The reason I’m writing this new “Military Millionaire” series is to empower transitioning military veterans with the knowledge to become financially independently. The transition classes I received when I got out were good, they just didn’t provide enough information for me. Also, I’m tired of the military “hero-or-victim” narrative spun by most of the American media, because it’s bullshit, all it does is box veterans into a corner. Military veterans are some of the most capable people I know: They show up on time, take responsibility for their actions, and can manage others effectively. I know because I am one, and employ more than a dozen veterans through Force12 Media and SOFREP.
I want to share the story of my transition from military life to my 10 years of experience in business, the executive world, and entrepreneurship. My primary goal is to help military veterans avoid simple mistakes that cost me dearly, and give them an opportunity to learn from the experiences that made a positive difference in my transition. This will also include interviews from successful veterans of industry. So now that we got all that out of the way, it’s time to get down and dirty.
A short personal history of my transition: I was a 29-year-old Navy SEAL chief petty officer with a young family. I made over a quarter million dollars buying small houses and apartments while on active duty, and I was hooked on real estate (always a great investment if you buy right). That led me to start reading books on investing and business (a good place to start for anyone). If you want to be successful, start reading about other successful people and their experiences. Then I did some simple retirement math, and realized that if I stuck around another 7-12 years (this would put me at 20 or 25 years in), I wouldn’t just be physically broke, I’d be financially broke as well. I had great income as a Navy SEAL because of all the special pays that added to my base pay, but only my base pay would factor into my retirement pay, so in essence, I would get the same retirement as a Navy cook (no offense, cooks!). Hopefully this changes in the future, but it was that way in 2006 when I took the jump and left active duty.