Terrible C-130 Tragedy in Afghanistan

Tribute fo Fallen C-130 Aircrew
Tribute to Fallen C-130 Aircrew

Friends, the other day a C-130 cargo plane crashed in Afghanistan and we lost several brave Americans, along with contracters and others on the ground. It is a sad day for all their families, the C-130 community, and the good people at my former base and airlift group (Dyess Air Force Base, 317th Airlift Group, 39th Airlift Squadron). Please keep their families in your prayers.  There is a tribute video, containing clips from the memorial ceremony held just the other day at a deployed location, available on YouTube at this link.

I write a lot about veterans and those who served, but sometimes it is easy to forget that there are thousands of people CURRENTLY serving across the globe.  Please keep them in your prayers as well, for they fight for our freedom every day.

It is an Air Force tradition to honor fallen airmen with the 3rd verse of the Air Force song, sung slowly, honorably, and in hushed voices.  At the Air Force Academy we would hold hands and sing this tribute at the end of every football game.  To those who lost their lives and to those who lost loved ones the other day, “Here`s a toast…”

Here`s a toast to the host of those who love the vastness of the sky

To a friend we send a message of his brother men who fly.

We drink to those who gave their all of old

Then down we roar to score the rainbow’s pot of gold.

A toast to the host of men we boast, the U.S. Air Force!

Learning the VA Home Loan Program

The best thing about being a mortgage loan officer, or “loan originator” as was our official title, was that I learned a LOT about mortgages in a very short period of time.  Stuff that nobody is interested in and would make for a very boring post on this website, but also things that are critical for people to know when they are applying for a home loan.

What makes a VA home loan different?

Uncle Sam and BenefitsWhat almost every mortgage loan officer will, or should, tell you is that the VA home loan is the best mortgage product available to anybody–AND IT IS ONLY AVAILABLE TO VETERANS.  This is one thing the government got right when it came to providing benefits to veterans.  Yes, there are some veterans who don`t need a VA loan and a good mortgage loan officer would never recommend a VA loan or any other type of loan before getting the facts about the prospective borrower first.  But here are some facts about VA home loans:

  • It DOES allow for 100% financing of a home, up to and including the total appraised value of the home (verified by an independent, certified appraiser assigned by your mortgage company).


  • It is NOT applied for directly through the VA.  The VA only INSURES the loan, they do not lend the money.  A bank does that.


  • Contrary to popular belief, you can actually own more than one home with a VA loan.  It is a complicated rule that should be discussed with a VA mortgage professional, but it IS possible to purchase one home, live in it for a while, then purchase another home with a VA home loan even if you still own the first.

What are some other benefits of a VA home loan?

Lower credit score requirements.  When I was a loan officer, you could have a 620 credit score and still qualify.  However, there are other variables, such as collection items on your credit report or late payments on revolving credit accounts, that could disqualify you even if your score is good.

Zero cash to closing.  This, too, is tricky and I would say that you should always be ready to at least bring a couple of hundred dollars to closing, but if keeping your closing costs low is a priority, it is something you should discuss with your loan officer AND your realtor.  It needs to be addressed in the contract stage of the home purchase process by asking the seller to pay closing costs, even if that means a higher sales price.  A few thousand more in sales price can be divided up over 30 years of payments and mean very little to your monthly payment, while not having to bring thousands of dollars to closing is something that may make a bigger difference to you.

If I am looking to buy a home using a VA loan, what is your advice?

I have two very important pieces of advice:

  • Find a mortgage loan officer who understands and has experience doing VA loans.  Most loan officers don`t know VA loans very well and assume they are just like FHA loans.  They are not.  I would be happy to refer anyone to a VA mortgage expert–I know several.  Contact me at dan@adviceforveterans.com if you would like me to refer you to a VA mortgage loan officer who can help.


  • Read “Mortgages For Dummies”.  When I first walked in the door at PrimeLending, my new manager, Todd, told me to pick up this book and read it.  He said if you read this book, you will know more than 90% of the population about mortgages.  He was right.  It is a great resource and very easy to read.

Good luck to everyone and contact me if you have questions!  There is a lot more I can share on this topic and I will in future posts.


My Military Civilian Transition Story – Part II

Landing the First Job

So where did I leave off yesterday–oh yes, I was on the verge of finding my first job post-military, which I did with the help of Lucas Group.  However, there is a little more to it than that, so here we go with…

Part Two of my Military Civilian Transition Story

I vividly remember driving down the highway south of Dallas, Texas, imagewhen I received a phone call from a representative at Edward Jones, telling me I was being offered a position as a financial advisor with their company.  From the beginning, this company was my first choice and I went directly to them to begin the job application process when I left the military.  I was excited!

But something happened to me in Dallas that gave me pause.  Through Lucas Group I had met a man named Todd who ran the branch of a mortgage company called PrimeLending.  Todd was a Marine and I would come to know him as one of the sharpest and most eloquent salespeople I have ever known.  He impressed me greatly and he too would offer me a position.

When I walked into Todd`s branch at PrimeLending, I felt like I was walking into a scene from the movie “Boiler Room” with Vin Diesel or “Glengarry Glen Ross” with Alec Baldwin.  “Coffee is for closers only!”  I could almost hear the words coming out of Todd`s loan officers mouths, as they walked around the office shouting encouragement to one another.Boiler Room

It seduced me, but in a good way.  Although I wanted to be a financial advisor and Edward Jones is a great company, I would have generally been on my own at that job.  But with Todd, I`d be part of a team.  And a largely ex-military team at that, for Todd loved to hire fellow veterans.  It was a great environment to learn sales and although mortgages are different than investment securities, I would still be learning an aspect of banking.  I was sold.Glengarry Glen Ross

So I went to work for Todd at PrimeLending and my transition from military life to the civilian world had begun.

Not to mention I`d be working with other veterans.  What a great place to be!


My Military Civilian Transition Story – Part I

A Leap Of Faith

So a friend of mine recently reviewed my website and had this advice for me: make it more personal.  I want this website to be useful to YOU, so I am providing useful information based upon my experiences.  But perhaps it would be better if I told my story first, in a way that can benefit you, the veteran who is making a transition to civilian life yourself.  So here it is…

My Military Civilian Transition Story, Part One

Dan Ready to RollThe same month I made the decision to voluntarily separate from the U.S. Air Force, the stock market collapsed and we had all those “bailouts”.  Far be it for me to get into a discussion about that fiasco, but my concern was that I had a 2 year old daughter at home and I was staring another possible deployment to Afghanistan in the face, so it was time for me to leave military life for my family.

I did not actually separate until the following summer, so although the economy was still bad, things had calmed down to some extent by that time.  I knew what field I wanted to be in (financial planning), so that was what I applied for, but I used some of the military to civilian job hunting companies that are out there too, specifically Lucas Group and Orion International.

Job Recruiters

Allow me to digress and enter into a discussion about companies like Lucas Group and Orion that recruit from the military for corporate America.

Even before I left the military, I was talking to a guy named Dan at Lucas Group.  He was a great guy and a true professional.  We later became good friends and I still talk to him today.  I have nothing but good things to say about Dan and Lucas Group, and I would be happy to speak with anyone who is thinking about working with Lucas Group or another company–just e-mail me at dan@adviceforveterans.com and we can have a private conversation if you would like.

The one thing I will say about working with Lucas Group or similar military recruiting companies is that you have to be flexible.  The more  open you are to moving to different areas of the country, interviewing for different jobs in different fields, the better off you will be.  Lucas Group does not charge you for their services, but companies only pay Lucas Group when they sponsor you and then you get hired.  It`s a business and you have to be willing to consider anything Lucas Group throws your way, even if it is not necessarily your dream job.

I found that the best way to use Lucas Group is to accept any interview they are able to find for you and then worry about the particulars of the job itself IF you get the job offer.  It does not hurt to do as many job interviews as possible, if only for practice and improvement purposes.

If you want to read more about Lucas Group, clink on this link to go to their website.

(Full disclosure:  I am not affiliated with Lucas Group in any way, I only provide the link for convenience purposes.)

The Story Continues…Tomorrow

Dan in Business AttireSo, in the end, working with Dan at Lucas Group allowed me to achieve the job offer that I ended up accepting.  More on that tomorrow…stay tuned for Part Two of my story.

Why is it so Hard to Find a Veteran Job Opportunity?

I may cry by the time I finish this post.  It hurts a lot to talk about this topic, not only because of what I have been through, but because of what I know YOU are going through out there too.  It`s not right.  We come home from fighting wars not of our choosing.  Wars chosen by politicians who, more and more, have never worn the uniform.  It used to be that if you wanted to run for President, you HAD to have served your country at some point.  It was an unwritten rule.  No longer.  We get sent to war by people who never served themselves, and that scares me.  But that`s another topic for another day.  So back to today`s topic:  why is it so hard to find a veteran job opportunity?

Why Can`t I Get Hired?

Dan in Combat ZoneHere`s why: 3 Reasons Why Companies Don`t Hire Veterans – Fortune Magazine article

Did you read that article?

Did it make you sick?

It made me sick.

It made me angry.

Misunderstood skills.  Fear of future deployments.  PTSD.

Let`s think about that for a second.  Take a minute or two.  What`s the word that comes to your mind?  There`s only one that comes to my mind:


Plain and simple ignorance.  Ignorance and an unwillingness to use common sense.  And cowardice.

Listen, brothers and sisters, I have seen this first hand.  I knew a manager at a job who respected police officers but had nothing good to say about veterans.  He thought we were all damaged.  All had PTSD and that prevented us from being good employees.  I can`t tell you how angry this made me.  I wanted to report him to HR and do something about it, but I couldn`t prove it.  He was smart enough to hide his prejudice, but I knew it was there.  I know there are others out there too.

What should I do?  What can I do?

You have to do what the Fortune article says to do.  We have to play their game.  An experienced friend of mine told me recently that the interviewer has something you want and they know it.  They have the power, however little power that is in this world, and sometimes you have to sit there and take it, if you want the job.  Play the game.

What else can I do?

You can start your own business.  Use Wealthy Affiliate to create a website and profit from affiliate marketing.  Yes it is a long journey and something you have to commit to, but I have done so by creating this website and reaching out to veterans.  This is my passion in life–to connect with and help fellow veterans.  I love doing this and if you want some little bit of financial independence in your life, you should consider it too.  If your passion or expertise is fixing cars or building boats.  Hunting, fishing, golf, anything.  Write about the thing you know the most about and love to do.  People will read it.

Please read this blog post to learn more: Part Time Jobs for Military Veterans — Work from Home!

Good luck, fellow Veterans and patriotic Americans. God bless America.

dan@adviceforveterans.com image7

Part Time Jobs for Military Veterans — Work from Home!

Okay fellow veterans, I am finally now getting into some real flag1advice…especially for those who want to work from home, create some residual income on the side, or simply make money online.  I can tell you that I have searched far and wide for the solution to this problem of how to make money from home and I have finally found it–it`s called WEALTHY AFFILIATE!

Here are some reasons why Wealthy Affiliate is far and away the best website out there for online home businesses:

  • The training is second to none.  When I began with Wealthy Affiliate I had never done a blog or created a website.  Wealthy Affiliate`s training programs gave me step-by-step, easy to follow instructions and I was able to have a new website created just the way I wanted it in less than a week (you can actually create a website in 30 seconds on Wealthy Affiliate, but I wanted to take the time to learn the steps first and do it right).


  • This is not a get-rich-quick scheme.  It is not a scam and nobody is there to take advantage of you.  The founders, Kyle and Carson, want you to learn and they love to teach.  They will help you BUILD A BUSINESS that will generate income over weeks, months and even years.  This is a long term solution to making money problems and is the best idea I have come across in a long time.


  • The community is amazing.  So many people on Wealthy Affiliate are there to help.  Every time I get stuck, I ask a question or post a new blog entry and somebody responds with a thoughtful, well-educated response that helps me get over the hump.   I would rather spend my time on Wealthy Affiliate than any other website or social network.  The people are phenomenal.


  • It is FREE to start and create your own account.  You can even create a website for free–that`s unheard of!  Obviously, if you like what you see and realize the tremendous value that Wealthy Affiliate has to offer, then you can convert to a paid account for a nominal monthly or annual fee, but I can tell you that it is worth the money spent several times over.  But don`t worry about that–sign-up for a free account first and see what I`m raving about.


  • Webhosting.  Wealthy Affiliate will host, protect, and monitor your website for you.  Along with the fantastic online training, you could not ask for a better value to go along with your Wealthy Affiliate account.

There is so much more I could say about Wealthy Affiliate, but I prefer not to make my posts too long.  If you have questions, PLEASE leave a comment and I will respond, or e-mail me at dan@adviceforveterans.com.  I will respond to e-mail quickly.

For now, I strongly encourage you to click on this link to WEALTHY AFFILIATE and open a FREE account.  Good luck and keep in touch!

Nail the Interview Game – A Few Tips

Let my lead off by saying that I know there are a lot of websites and image7books out there that offer advice on how to nail the interview game.  So you probably do not need my help with the usual stuff and there are experts out there who help people with their interviewing skills for a living.  So why do you need my help at all?  Well, I have been there…and recently.  I can help you cut through the BS and realize what might actually happen at a job interview.

Realize that a lot is out of your control

So let me tell you some things that have ACTUALLY happened to me:

  • Showing up to a job interview and realizing in the first few minutes that the interviewer has already made a decision, and it does not include me.
  • Noticing that the interviewer is paying little or no attention to my answers to his or her questions.
  • Being told up front that you are not getting this job.

I know.  This does not make sense, right?  Why bother bringing somebody in for an interview if there is no shot?  Why waste everyone`s time?

There are reasons for this and things going on behind the scenes that you do not know anything about.  Maybe the interviewer was forced to accept the interview by a recruiter or somebody else at the company.  Maybe they already know exactly who they are going to hire, but they want to make it look like there is an open competition (very common).

How do I know?  What do I do?

I can only tell you what I do and that is not to worry or think about it but keep plugging along and persevering despite the odds not being in my favor.  Maybe I can convince my interviewer that they are making a mistake by not taking me seriously.  I have to try.

The interviewer is the keeper of the job.  They have the power; you do not (if you want to get that job).  Humility is important during the job search and interviewing process.  Determination, confidence and even a sense of humor will serve you well.  Flexibility and a willingness to negotiate (but DO NOT bring up money until they do) are essential.

So use all the tools that are out there.  Read all the books if you want to.  Practice your interviews if you can.  But realize that you have no idea what is in the interviewer`s head and whether or not he or she is going to give you a fair shot at this job.  Do your best and try not to worry about something you have no control over.

One Final Word about Interviewing

Of all the books, articles, videos and classes I have read, viewed or taken part in, the best piece of advice I ever obtained concerning job interviews was this:  TRY and put yourself in the interviewer`s position and answer the questions in a way that makes his or her job easier.  What is meant by this is that the interviewer wants what is best   for the company.  He or she does not care what is best for you.  Answer the questions with this in mind.  Let me give you a couple of examples:



Maybe not the exact wording you would use, but you get the point, right?  Do not make the interviewer have to IMAGINE you in the position and DECIDE whether or not you would help them.   TELL THEM exactly how hiring you WOULD BENEFIT THEM!

Good luck and feel free to comment on this article to let me know if it helped, or if you have additional advice.

Self Sacrifice

Allow me to take a few minutes to stray from my usual topics, ones that are specific to post-military service job searches and income image2
sources, to touch on something that has been on my mind lately.  A discussion of a topic that comes from the heart:  self-sacrifice.

What I have come to realize since leaving the service is that I do not think like other people.  I am asked from time to time what it is I want to do with my life?  What is my dream occupation?   That is a very difficult question for me to answer.

In my heart and in my mind, I have already done what I set out to do.  I served my country.  I think in terms of self-sacrifice.  I do not think in terms of “what`s in it for me”.

Most non-veterans don`t get that.  I have a difficult time relating to people who do not understand that mentality.  That self-sacrifice instinct.  It is rare and, I fear, an endangered species in this “me first” world we live in.  I hope and pray that enough young men and women continue to be born with that instinct because the history of the world is a history of warfare.  There will be more wars to fight.

What I am getting at is that if you read this post and you can relate to what I am describing, then you are also one of the few, rare individuals who believes in a cause greater than oneself.  We have that in common and you are not alone.

Jesus Christ set the example for us to follow 2,000 years ago.  Self-sacrifice is a difficult mentality to have in today`s selfish world.  Many people do not relate.  Trust me when I say how important you are to this country and to this world.  We who have self-sacrifice in our DNA must stick together and help each other.   That is why I will continue to write to veterans everywhere.

Transitioning from Veteran to Police Officer

For those of you out there who are interested in transitioning from image7military veteran to police officer in the United States, I can imagine that you may be having some difficulty with the decision in the current environment.  Going into law enforcement is a calling, much like going into the military.  I have great respect for our brothers and sisters in law enforcement and I have friends who do this for a living.  I completely understand their increased level of anxiety in recent weeks and months, due to the political climate we are in and the events that have unfolded recently.

I will not claim to be an expert in this area, but if you are thinking about becoming a police officer, I think it is more important now than ever before to network before you take the leap.  Know what you are getting into and have some idea of the process of applying for a position as a police officer as well as the lifestyle of a police officer in the department you wish to enter.

Application Process

Applying to police departments takes courage, tenacity and patience.  Many police departments only hire at certain times during the year and your timing has to be good.  If you ever hope to transition directly from the military to a police department, you would have to begin the process long before your military separation date.  There are tests to take, physical exams, interviews and perhaps even fitness tests.  The process is long and competitive.  You will likely have to be willing to consider different places to live and work so that you can apply to more than one police department and your timing will match the application process and hiring dates for the departments you are interested in.

Taking the Initiative

Take it upon yourself to speak with officers in the police departments you wish to join.  Find out everything you can about the process and start early.  Discuss it with your family so that everyone is on the same page and you have their support.  Like joining the military, joining a police force is an important family decision.  It is a decision to protect and serve others.  It is a decision to be willing to accept criticism from some because you are taking up a noble cause and you know you are doing what is right and just.  I applaud those who protect us all in law enforcement.  I wish all of you the best of luck and pray for your safety at all times.

Best Jobs After the Military

The best jobs after the military are the ones that truly fit your skillset, imagepersonality and personal preference.  Money is important, of course, but here are some other things I have learned to consider, based upon my experience with different post-military service jobs and careers.


  • TRUE veteran friendly companies:  whenever I put the term “veteran friendly companies” into a Google search engine, I get lists.  “Top 100”, “Top 10”, etc.   I do not want lists.  I want information.  That is one of the primary reasons why I created this website.  I would like to find REAL information about veteran friendly companies from people who work at those companies.  I already have some information from my own experiences and from friends I have had who work for other companies.  I will compile this information and more in the days, weeks, months to come.


  • How does the company you wish to work for pay their employees?  Is it salary, hourly wage, commission, bonuses or some combination of these methods?  I learned the hard way that some of these are better suited for me than others, and I have received compensation using all of the above.


  • Travel, office environment, possibility for promotion.  These are all things to consider.  Remember, a job offer is a partnership between a company and YOU.  Lost in the immediate excitement and victory associated with receiving a job offer are the details–is it truly a good fit for you and for the company?


  • Financial stability of the company and industry.  I have worked for a company that appeared healthy from the outside, only to see it fall apart in less than a year.  I have also worked in the oil & gas industry and seen multi-million dollar monthly revenue dry up seemingly overnight.  This is the ultimate boom-and-bust industry and employees beware when you are part of one of these.   Layoffs can be just around the corner no matter how good of an employee you are.


  • If you love your job, the other criteria all seem to come in second and third.  I have worked jobs where the money was good, but the hours and stress were just not worth it.  A good fit for you is of utmost importance.