Should Military Families Move Home After Etsing?
June 2014. After 9 years as an Active duty military family, my husband hit his ETS date. ETS stands for expiration – term of service. This is when the contract between the service member and the military has ended.
The service member can re-enlist which usually happens at least a few months before that date. Then their ETS date will change. For a lot of people, ETSing means moving back home or moving to a new job. For us, though, ETSing meant staying right where we were. In our house here near Ft. Campbell.
We made this decision for a few reasons. Home is California and the cost of living there is insane. We would probably have to pay at least triple if not more than what we pay on our mortgage now to get a small home. We just could not make that work.
Another reason we decided to stay in the area was to make fewer changes than we needed to. Leaving active duty is a big change. Finding a job in the civilian world can be a challenge. Staying where we were after ETSing made life a little easier than it would have been.
Our children’s school was another factor. We like the school and the kids are used to going there. One of my boys has Autism and they know him there. Eventually, we will move and will be dealing with a new school, most military families do that anyway but for the time being it was nice to keep them where they were more comfortable.
Deciding what to do after an ETS can be difficult. You might have a lot of options, you might not know what to do right away. How can you decide on if you should stay where you are or explore another part of the country?
- Can you go home? This is a big part of where to go after you ETS. Is going home a choice? Do you have a home? Do you have a lot of family drama that you would prefer to stay out of? Like us, is it a lot more expensive where you are from? Ask yourself these questions and think about what you want for your family. Some military families can’t wait to get back to where everything started. Others have seen parts of the US or World and want to go back. And then sometimes you just want to start somewhere fresh.
- What about the job? Where you move to or if you move might have to do with finding a job. If you decide to stay where you are, it could be easier to find a job. On the other hand, you might be able to find a job at home since you know people in the area. You might have to go where the job is even if it isn’t your ideal location.
- Can you make a long term plan? We know we want to move out of the Ft. Campbell area eventually. We have a few ideas that we are working on right now. Things are still up in the air. Even though we wanted to stay after ETSing, we knew that eventually, we would leave. Sometimes military families stay so that a child could finish high school or until their spouse can get through school. There are many reasons to do so.
- How is your housing situation? Had we been living in a military housing when my husband was ETSing we would have had to move somewhere. You can’t stay on post after you ETS. If this is you, you are more likely to go home or move to another place unless you really like the area you are living in.
- Do you like where you are currently living? If you hate where you live, you will probably want to get out of there as soon as the military lets you. Sometimes I wonder why we are still here when we no longer have to be. You can’t leave in the middle of a tour but after an ETS, the choice is yours. It is never that simple and there are a lot of factors that go into whether you can leave or where you can go.
Moving after ETSing can mean a fresh start. A new job. A new state. A new future. Staying where you are can mean less stress and more stability for your family. Think about what your options are and what will be best for your family.
What about you? Have you gone through an ETS? What did you decide to do?