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Laying the Foundation for Your Financial Future Post-Military

With every transition comes a new opportunity to set goals, develop plans, and assess where you are at. If you’ve recently been discharged from the military and are evaluating what comes next, it is a perfect time to look at your finances and plan for the future. A solid financial plan will set you up for years of success and prepare you and your loved ones for emergencies.

Building Savings

Whatever your income source, a good rule of thumb is to save 10 to 20 percent of each paycheck you receive. However, if that feels overwhelming or unattainable, then find a percentage that feels right and start consistently saving that amount. Regardless, it’s important to form the habit of saving money for a rainy day.

Building savings may mean you need to cut expenses, so take an aggressive look at where you are spending money by keeping a written record and receipts. To start planning for short-term and long-term emergencies — particularly interruptions in a steady income — you might have to cut back on food expenses, entertainment, monthly subscriptions, or vacations.

Obtaining Insurance Coverage

One certainty we have in life is that we never know what will happen next or when our time will come. So, to help save your loved ones the financial hardship that comes with a sudden loss, get the following two types of insurance:

  1. Life Insurance — With little to no planning, an unexpected death could leave those who are dependent on you in a tough spot. Term life insurance will save your family from worry by providing them with 10 or more years of your income in the event of your death.
  1. Burial Insurance — The average cost of a funeral is $9,000. If you die from an incident unrelated to the military, the VA will pay anywhere between $300 and $780 for funeral costs. To prevent your loved ones from having to worry during their time of mourning, plan ahead by making your wishes known and securing burial insurance to help cover the costs.

Finding a New Career

When it comes to being successful as an everyday citizen, a career that helps support your family is at the top of the list. Of course, it would also be nice to find something you enjoy. Based on your background and education, you may find a natural transition in the civilian world. Many veterans choose fields like engineering, healthcare, IT support, and law enforcement, for example.

Of course, some veterans would rather venture out on their own as entrepreneurs than work for someone else. If it’s maximum flexibility and limitless income potential you’re looking for, this may be the ideal career path. The good news is that there are lots of loans, grants, and funding options to help veteran-owned businesses succeed. Just make sure you follow all the formal steps to create your business, starting with setting up a Connecticut LLC that protects your assets, gives you flexible tax options, and remains flexible as you grow.

Investing in Your Future

We never know what the future may hold, but with longer life spans and more potential for a higher quality of life, you should plan to live your best and longest life. If you didn’t invest in a thrift savings plan while you were in active duty, you can start saving now. If your employer offers a 401k and matches, you should contribute up to the amount they will match. Otherwise, consider either a traditional IRA or Roth IRA to benefit from tax savings and save for retirement.

Schooling

Military personnel are some of the most highly trained and skilled employees in the world. If you find yourself in need of more education, whether for new employment or personal desires, there are many grants available to veterans that can help pay for schooling and subsidize living costs. Many also qualify for the GI Bill and other educational benefits to help cover tuition. 

Home Buying

Real estate is always a good investment. If you can buy a house with cash and no mortgage, then that is the way to go. However, if like most Americans you need a little help, then you should consider a VA home loan either directly through the VA or through a private lender, which will afford you better terms than the average private mortgage.

The sooner you can establish a financial plan for yourself, the better of you will be. Use tried and true methods like saving, obtaining life and burial insurance, and investing. Simultaneously, use veterans perks like the GI Bill and VA loans. Having plans in place for you and your family will afford you peace of mind and reassure you that you have a secure path to follow.

Remember, you don’t have to navigate your post-military life on your own. For assistance, contact The American Legion Department of Connecticut at 860.436.9986 or ctadj@ctlegion.org.

How to get better sleep as a Veteran

How to Get Better Sleep as a Veteran

 

One of the most common issues that veterans face in day-to-day life is sleep deprivation. While the CDC recommends that adults get seven or more hours of sleep each night, studies indicate many former military members are getting six hours or less. This can lead to several issues, such as poor productivity, reduced mental and physical performance, susceptibility to disease, and even earlier death.

If you are a veteran who is looking to improve your sleep and receive all the benefits that come with it, consider these practical tips:

Invest in a good mattress.  

The quality of your mattress has a lot to do with the quality of your sleep. If you’re waking up with back or neck pain, you toss and turn trying to get comfortable throughout the night, or your mattress is noisy, lumpy, or is beyond 8 years old, consider getting a new one. Since there are so many types of mattresses on the market, it’s important to narrow your search by considering a few factors. For example, should you move a size up? If a queen feels too crowded for you and your partner, a king-sized bed could do wonders for your sleep. Also, what positions do you normally sleep in, and do you prefer a firmer or softer mattress? Sort through the information out there, make comparisons, and find something that will keep you comfortable throughout the night.

 Optimize your sleep environment.

 Turning your bedroom into a sleep haven is also important. Keep the temperature between 60 and 68 degrees at night and keep it dark from bedtime until you wake up. Blackout shades can go a long way in keeping your bedroom dark, and these days they come in a wide variety of fabrics and styles. You can please your sense of style while upgrading your sleep environment. Also, make sure your bedroom and the surrounding areas of the home are quiet. If it’s difficult for you to sleep in complete silence, consider getting a sound machine. There are options that produce everything from soothing hums, soft music, to nature sounds. Some will even help you gently awaken in the morning. You should also take care to make your home as relaxing and tension-free as possible. Start by cleaning and decluttering your home. Tossing out old items will put you in a more positive frame of mind, which can reduce stress which can help you sleep better.

 Establish a steady sleep and wake schedule.

 As a former service member, you know all about routine and discipline. Applying those practices to your sleep schedule can help you get into a healthy rhythm. Try to wake up and go to bed at the same time every day, even on the weekends. On Health explains that establishing consistency for your biological body clock will help you to fall asleep and stay asleep on a nightly basis.

 Reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake.

 Caffeine can stay in your system for hours and impede your ability to fall asleep. Avoid drinking coffee and other caffeinated drinks after lunchtime. It can also help to moderate alcoholic beverages in the evenings. While alcohol might help you fall asleep, it is known to disrupt sleep throughout the night.

 Try forest therapy.

 Spending time outdoors comes with a plethora of benefits for your health and well-being. Forest therapy provides the opportunity to experience those benefits while enjoying the beauty of nature. Even a single forest therapy outing can reduce your stress levels and quiet your mind for better sleep but making it part of your self-care regimen can be particularly effective and healing. It’s very common for veterans to struggle with getting enough sleep, so know that you’re not alone if that’s your situation. Make sure you have a good mattress and take steps to turn your bedroom into a sleep haven. Establish a healthy routine and moderate your caffeine and alcohol intake. You might find that implementing these tips is all it takes to get the good night’s rest that you need and deserve.

How To Apply For A Discharge Upgrade

How to Apply for a Discharge Upgrade

Answer a series of questions to get customized step-by-step instructions on how to apply for a discharge upgrade or correction. If your application goes through and your discharge is upgraded, you’ll be eligible for the VA benefits you earned during your period of service.

JAM Travel Planners (14 Day Private Italy Tour for Legion Members, Family and Friends)

Jim and Ann Marie Dooley of JAM Travel Planners LLC

Are hosting a 14 Day Private Party Tour for

American Legion Members, Family and Friends

To Italy May7 -May 20, 2022

 

 

#1 – Fly to Italy
Fly out to Genoa Italy either from Boston or New York

Day #2 – Arrive in Italy
After changing planes at our European port of entry, we continue to Genoa Cristoforo Colombo Airport (GOA) where you will catch our coach for a 40-minute drive to our hotel in Santa Margherita Ligure.
Tonight, attend an orientation meeting at approximately 6 pm (exact time will be advised on your tour arrival day) with your Tour Manager to discuss the upcoming journey that awaits you in Italy, followed by a Welcome Dinner with your fellow travelers.
Portofino is 2.54 miles from the hotel It is a 50 min walk or a 14 minute bus ride which you can catch right In front of the hotel.
Overnight: Genoa, Italy
Meals: Hotel Dinner

Day #3 – Milan & Stresa
After breakfast at the hotel, we head north to cosmopolitan Milan. Upon arrival in Milan, we take a walking tour starting at Sforza Castle. We then proceed to Duomo Square and Duomo Di Milano where we will take a 60 minute Private Tour of the Terraces before continuing on to a walk through the Victor Emmanuel Galleria, a pedestrian mall built in the 1800’s featuring a large arched glass ceiling. After time for lunch on your own we continue to Stresa on the beautiful Lago Maggiore where we will stay for 2 nights.
Overnight: Stresa, Italy
Meals: Breakfast

Day #4
After breakfast we take an excursion by boat out to Isola Bella to explore the palace and gardens there. The rest of the day is yours to explore Stresa and experience local dining. You might want to take the Stresa-Alpine-Mottarone cable car which is a 20-minute journey to 1491 meters above sea level.
It is possible to climb to the top of the Mottarone with the “Chairlift Mottarone Vetta”, admire the amazing panorama that allows you to view 360 degrees from the Padana Plain to the peaks of the Alps, from the summit of Monte Rosa to the view of the seven Lakes.
Overnight: Stresa, Italy
Meals: Breakfast

Day #5 – Travel to Venice
After breakfast we depart Lago Maggiore and make our way along the Po Valley to the Adriatic Sea and Venice. The discovery of Venice begins with a boat ride to the Island of Murano, known for its artistic and colorful glassware. While here, visit a local factory to witness the art of glass blowing. Afterward, continue to the main Venice Island and take a walking tour with your local guide through the maze of narrow alleyways and bridges before reaching St. Mark’s Square. Upon reaching the square, stop to view its most prominent monuments, the pink marble Doge’s Palace, Bridge of Sighs, and golden Basilica of San Marco. The Doge’s Palace was the official residence of the Venetian ruler. The Bridge of Sighs offers one of the most notable scenes of this Romantic city. Marvel at the golden Basilica of San Marco, that is one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks. It was built over several centuries in a fusion of Byzantine, Roman and Venetian architecture. The rest of the day is yours to explore. You might want to enjoy a gondola ride (not included).
Overnight: Venice, Italy
Meals: Breakfast

Day #6 – Travel to Florence
Depart Venice for Tuscany, stopping in Bologna, a city that has been described as the center of all Italian cuisine! We will have time to explore the city and partake in some of their magnificent dishes (be sure to try the tortellini!). In the afternoon we continue to Florence to check into your hotel.
Overnight: Florence, Italy
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day #7 – Florence
Today’s walking tour of Florence begins after breakfast with a visit to the Accademia of Fine Arts, where Michelangelo’s David is housed; stand in awe of this glorious work of art. Walk by the Duomo, celebrated for its magnificent dome designed by Brunelleschi, and view the Baptistery’s renowned Gates of Paradise by Ghiberti. Continue a walk through the open-air art museum of Signoria Square, with its Palazzo Vecchio, first residence of the Medici family, today seat of the city government. Then on to the splendid Ponte Vecchio, also known as the “Old Bridge”. Florence is indeed the center of the world’s finest art and architecture. The afternoon is free to explore this spectacular Renaissance city before spending a romantic evening in the Tucson region with a winery visit and outdoor candlelight dinner in the vineyard. (Tour the wine estate sampling the wines along the way and enjoy Tuscan specialties made using local ingredients.)
Overnight: Florence, Italy
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day #8 – Travel to Rome via Orvieto
This morning we depart Florence after breakfast and travel to the town of Orvieto where we will explore the Orvieto Underground Caves. Time for lunch on your own before we continue to Rome for 2 nights, the astonishing city built on seven hills.
Overnight: Rome, Italy
Meals: Breakfast

Day #9 – Rome
It’s a Rome Day! After breakfast we start our morning with a visit to the Vatican Museums and Michelangelo’s masterpiece, the Sistine Chapel. Stroll through one of the most important art collections of the world. Admire the Gallery of Tapestries and the Geographical Maps before arriving to the Sistine Chapel, with its great frescoes by Michelangelo. Continue to St. Peter’s Square, passing Bernini’s famous colonnade to view St. Peter’s Basilica, built on the burial site of Saint Peter, with the most famous Michelangelo’s Pieta. After lunch we enjoy an historic tour of ancient Rome beginning with a walk along the uneven and irregular paths of the Roman Forum, the original central plaza of the city from which ancient Rome developed. Next, view the triumphal Arch of Constantine, erected by the Roman Senate to commemorate Constantine’s tenth year of leadership over the Eternal City. On to the mighty Colosseum, the largest amphitheater built in the Roman Empire that seated over 50,000, where gladiatorial contests and public events were attended by the rich, the poor and by the Emperor himself.
Overnight: Rome, Italy
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day #10 – Travel to Amalfi
After breakfast we depart Rome for the Amalfi Coast, stopping along the way at the Benedictine monastery atop Monte Casino, a favorite papal retreat and site of some of the roughest fighting during World War II. In the afternoon we continue to the ancient city of Pompeii where we will have ample time to explore before going to our hotel in Sorrento for 3 nights.
Overnight: Sorrento, Italy
Meals: Breakfast

Day #11 – Amalfi
Free day to explore Sorrento on your own or enjoy an optional full day journey to the colorful Isle of Capri by boat visiting the lovely Anacapri and explore the charming shops and chic boutiques as you stroll the island’s narrow streets. Continue to see “La Piazzetta,” the social heart of the island, on your way to the open-air Gardens of Augustus, from where you will appreciate breathtaking views of the famous Faraglioni rocks. (NOTE – Blue Grotto is not included as access is too weather-sensitive to book in advance).
Overnight: Sorrento, Italy
Meals: Breakfast

Day #12 – Amalfi Drive
After breakfast we embark on one of the most spectacular drives in the world along the rugged Amalfi coast, with its dramatic landscapes and amazing panoramas. Nestled into mountains that rise thousands of feet above the sea, we will see enchanting villages, cliffs terraced with lemon groves, whitewashed villas and sparkling turquoise seas. Drive by Positano and stop in Amalfi, named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to spend time at leisure in town. Return to our hotel in the late afternoon.
Overnight: Sorrento, Italy
Meals: Breakfast

Day #13 – Return to Rome
After breakfast we depart Sorrento and continue to the town of Anzio on the Tyrrhenian Sea. We will see the beaches where the American forces landed during World War II and pay our respects at the Sicily–Rome American Cemetery and Memorial where almost 8,000 American soldiers who fell during the invasion now rest in peace. We continue to the region in or near the city of Ostia, the ancient port of Rome and check into our hotel and enjoy our Farewell Dinner.
Overnight: Rome, Italy
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day #14 – Depart Italy
Arrivederci Roma! Transfer to the airport for your departure flight
Meals: Breakfast

PACKAGE INCLUDES:

* 12 nights First Class (4 star) accommodations at the following hotels or similar

* 1-night Grand Hotel Miramare, Genoa, Italy

* 2 nights Grand Hotel Bristol, Stresa, Italy

* 1-night Hotel Carlton on the Grand Canal, Venice, Italy

* 2 nights Grand Hotel Adriatico, Florence, Italy

* 2 nights Grand Hotel Palatino, Rome, Italy

*3 nights Grand Hotel Vesuvio, Sorrento, Italy

 * 1-night Grand Hotel Palatino, Ostia or Rome

  • 17 meals: 12 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 3 Dinners
  • Sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned motor coach
  • Services of English-speaking tour escort/manager from arrival to return
  • Local guides as required
  • Group airport arrival and departure transfers
  • Entrance fees per itinerary
  • Porterage of one piece per person on arrival and departure at each hotel

NOT INCLUDED: Flights are not included and will be available for sale in July 2021. Meals unless specified, optional tours, gratuities, and anything not mentioned in the package includes section and Travel Protection Insurance

We are currently taking names of those interested in coming. Showing interest gives you priority and does not commit you to anything.  It helps us know how many are interested so we can price accordingly. We have a tentative pricing for 40 people at $3,599 per person for the land tour. Currently we have 22 people who are interested and when we reach the 40, we will start a standby list. Once COVID-19 is behind us and country travel restrictions are lifted we will confirm the pricing and will start taking deposits. Travel Insurance information and group air will be available at that time.

Interested! Email us your name, address, phone number and email address and we will get back to you.

Jim and Ann Marie Dooley.  JAM Travel Planners L.L.C.

Email us at: jim@jamtravelplanners.com

Hands Touching Hearts

Calling All Children, Grandchildren and Fans of the Greatest Generation…

The American Legion Department of Connecticut and Hands Touching Hearts
are teaming up to honor our heroes. Tell us how many World War II veterans you know and we’ll
surprise them with a world of thanks and a small token of appreciation!

We Need YOU!

Hands Touching Hearts is a global outreach effort originated by Ann M. Cosgrove, a graphic artist in Vernon,
Connecticut. The program gives Americans of all ages the opportunity to create handcrafted keepsakes for United
States military personnel. The thank-you gifts are distributed free of charge to active-duty service members,
reservists and veterans. Since the inception of Hands Touching Hearts in 2017, participants have numbered in the
thousands and ranged in age from 2 to 102!

To learn more, visit www.Anns.work and click on “Salute Our Troops.” Hands Touching Hearts

For more information please contact Department Headquarter at 860-436-9986 or Email ctadj@ctlegion.org

 

How to Make Money From Home as a Veteran (Or Non-Veteran)

 

 

Image via Pexels

 

How to Make Money From Home as a Veteran (Or Non-Veteran)

 

There’s no getting around the fact that this is a hard time economically for many people. Fortunately, however, it comes at a time when opportunities abound on the internet. Whether you’re interested in starting a small business or working as an employee from your home, the web has made both of these options more accessible to veterans and the general public alike. Below are some tips to keep in mind as you look for your next money-making opportunity:

 

Take Advantage of Your Experience

In many ways, being a veteran gives you an advantage when it comes to starting a business or finding a good job.

 

  • Starting a new endeavor requires funds; happily, there are plenty of places to secure them.
  • There are many opportunities to secure financing as a veteran, especially if you’re starting a business. So, be sure to research and apply for various assistance programs.
  • Regardless of whether you’re looking to launch a business or get hired, factor in the skills you’ve acquired to help guide you through the process.
  • Also, be sure to look at veteran-friendly employers if you are wanting to work as an employee somewhere.

 

Research Different Ideas

Every new thing starts with an idea, and this applies to your career as well.

 

  • If your goal is to start a business, consider opening an ecommerce store; you can either sell products out of your home or dropship them (which means that you don’t have to keep physical inventory).
  • If you have a passion and expertise in a particular trade or industry, consider making online tutorials and posting them to YouTube. Along with building your reputation as an expert, you can make money from ad revenue and potentially from paid sponsorships.
  • You could also consider becoming a freelancer; as your own boss, you can choose what clients and businesses to provide services to, and you can set your own work hours.

 

Learn to Market Yourself

Whatever you decide to do, marketing yourself is critical.

 

  • Update your resume and cover letter with highlights from your experience.
  • If you’re ex-mil, be sure to include that you are a veteran of the armed services at some level in your marketing. Many clients and customers love to support veterans, and employers everywhere are always on the lookout for candidates with grit, servant leadership, and communication skills, all of which are learned in the military.
  • To increase your chance of success in business ownership and/or significantly help your future job prospects, consider pursuing an online business degree.
  • If you’re starting a business, come up with a marketing plan including how you will brand yourself, who your target audience will be, how you will reach your audience, and so on.
  • Social media is paramount for marketing these days, so invest a good bit of your time and energy into promoting your business on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms.
  • Of course, you’ll also want to create an engaging and easy-to-use website for your business; it should include product/service information, helpful content, and contact information, among other things.
  • It’s also wise to join a post of the American Legion in Connecticut for networking opportunities, professional development, and local updates.

 

Thanks to the internet, starting your own business or finding a good job that you can do from home is a realistic goal for veterans and non-veterans. If you are a veteran, remember to take advantage of your resources. Also, look into the wide range of business and job ideas out there, and be sure to learn how to effectively market yourself. In no time, you could be getting a new, fulfilling career off the ground.            

Opt into allowing Department to process online membership

September 1, 2020 Connecticut American Legion Posts will be able to Opt-In to allow Department Headquarters to process online requests to join the American Legion.

The process for accepting them is listed below.
1.Department Headquarters will Review submitted applications for accuracy and reviewsubmitted documents to ensure prospective new members are in fact eligible.
2.Once membership application and documents have been validated the new memberwill be put into your individual Post.
3.The post will receive an email from Department Headquarters letting them know that anew member has been placed into their Post. The email will also have the originalapplication submitted minus the proof of eligibility, once eligibility has been confirmedthose documents will be shredded. The email from Department Headquartersconfirming eligibility along with the application will serve as your proof of eligibility forPost records.
4.Department will send the new member a welcome package which will include Postcontact information, meeting information and general Legion brochures.
5.Posts which dues are more than the $29.50 minimum will receive a Post credit for thedifference that can be used for membership renewals or receive a check at the end ofthe membership year.

Opt-In Form

 

Legion Act

ATTENTION COLD WAR VETERANS!!!

THE LEGION ACT HAS BEEN SIGNED!!!

YOU ARE NOW

ELIGIBLE FOR MEMBERSHIP IN THE

AMERICAN LEGION

Please contact us to discuss your eligibility and what becoming a member of the

American Legion means to you. You can also ask about the achievements of your local Post.

If you are interested in membership in this great organization, be sure to bring a copy of your DD214 or other proof of eligibility and your membership can be processed immediately.

You can go to our website www.ctlegion.org and join online.

 

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTACT US AT 860-436-9986 or ctadj@ctlegion.org