Positive experiences of transition

Family A

The family knew it was time to leave after over 30 years of service. They had really enjoyed their time in the RAF but now wanted to move on to other things. The Service Leaver (SL) didn’t enjoy the job so much and the spouse felt there wasn’t as much to enjoy about life as before. Their children were now grown up and independent.

They did their homework and decided to move to a different country. They had money saved from the purchase and sale of a property some years before. Buying abroad would get them so much more for their money as well as mean they could move somewhere very beautiful.

The SL had already formed networks and contacts in his chosen field, (through personal contacts, networking and Linked-In). He would continue working on a self-employed consultancy basis. He still made the most of his resettlement entitlement taking courses to gain new skills for work also some for interest and self-development.

The spouse was not working due to ongoing health issues and was awaiting an appointment with a specialist. They investigated the possibility of extending their occupation of SFA beyond the SL’s final date of service in case this appointment fell outside the Final Date of Service (FDoS) and knew this would be a possibility.

They commenced the purchase of a property in their chosen destination ahead of the FDoS . They found that the local authorities and solicitors in their chosen country were very helpful.

Purchase of the property fell through and rather than extend in SFA, they moved in with family after FDoS. They found and started the purchase of a second property which completed successfully. The move was scheduled for a few months later than originally planned.

This family’s top tip:

“Start Early. Plan Early. Before resettlement starts for the SL if you can. Take about 4 years to get used to the idea, think hard about where you want to might want to live if you can. Re-establish links with civilian friends and family that you might be going to live near. Investigate civilian sources of help and advice. Feelers on Linked-In to get a sense of opportunities for work for SL. It all helps to get into the right mindset.”

“its challenging but worth it.”


Family B

Family B left the RAF after 22 years of RAF life. The approaching end of contract, lessening job satisfaction for the Serving Partner and an increasing desire for the family to settle down led to the joint decision to leave.

The SL was able to secure a posting to the area in which the family wished to settle and were living in SFA.  They had chosen an area near the coast and family which was a trade off against easy availability of employment and earning potential. The family already owned a property which was rented out.  The spouse has been in work throughout the SL’s time in the RAF.

The spouse had, during their time in RAF, participated in Lifeworks offered by RBLI to help spouses find employment.  She found it really useful for CV advice and interview preparation particularly as the help continued beyond the course when she contacted them on the phone.

The family took the decision to sell their existing property and purchase a home well ahead of the final date of service and they were very grateful to be able to do this.  They found it lessened considerably the stress as their actual final date approached.  There were all the usual stresses and hitches associate with buying and selling property but without the added hard deadline.  They had to pay for their own move and did it themselves with help from friends and family.

The family had planned well financially and were confident that they could cover any gap in earnings for the SL.  SL took full advantage of resettlement and took a very flexible approach to job hunting as location was the most important factor for them.  The SL and partner looked carefully at courses available (they rated this as their biggest challenge) to try and choose the best ones for SL to attend They were quite surprised at the cost of some of them.  In hindsight they weren’t sure they had made quite the right choices and wished the focus wasn’t quite so narrow.  The SL did a lot of his own networking.

The family had used an independent financial advisor and joined the Forces Pension Society to help with the planning.

Overall the family reported being very happy with life settled in one place – family life being so much easier to plan.  In hindsight, although they anticipated little impact in wellbeing of the family on leaving, they reported that it did have an impact – the children missed patch life more than anticipated, despite staying in the same school and the spouse also reported that, although she did not consider herself ‘institutionalised’ she did find life off the patch very different – much harder to meet neighbours.  Although they had no difficulties registering with a civilian doctor, they had found it much harder to get an appointment.

This family’s top tip:

“Plan ahead. It goes much quicker than you think it will – time flies by.”