Tips for transition to AD residency?

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Jul 17, 2015
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AF HPSP just matched to spot at SAMMC for residency. I have a wife and will have 5 mo old by the time residency starts, and only military exp has been COT. Any good resources to set myself up for success as far as the logistics of transitioning into military life? Like guides for renting/buying/living on base, childcare, maximizing TSP?

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Live off base. In-processing is painful and redundant whether this will be your first or 50th duty station. You'd be better served by reading a book on meditation and finding inner peace than looking for any specifics on getting things to run more smoothly.

So long as you can pass a PT test and know how to wear a uniform, there's not much else to being a doc in military.

Other people will need to give advice on child care and the best neighborhoods to live in.
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As soon as you are eligible (i think it’s when you actually have orders but don’t quote me on that) put your son on the waiting list for the CDC if that is what you are planning to use for childcare. The number of spots for infants can be limited. I don’t know what the availability is like at SAMMC but I know that some of the other hospitals can be limited to the point that even if you are dual mil you might be waiting months to get in. (And if your spouse doesn’t work you are the lowest priority for the list and may have to look elsewhere for a few years). I would talk to someone with kids in the residency that you are going in to and see what the lay of the land is that way. (Again I’m sure availability is widely variable)

Same thing for housing, definitely ask someone already there. Rent vs buy will depend on your assessment of the market there and how long your residency is. (Personally I would hesitate to buy for anything less than four years but other people will have different opinions)

TSP: just make sure you do in your mypay and set it up. Plenty of guides online about the TSP. I think Dr. Schofer’s blog has some posts about it. ( It used to be that it defaulted to the G fund so my old basic advice was to make sure you went in and switched it to a better fund but now it defaults to the L funds so they actually fixed that which is nice. Basically the advice is to contribute as much as you feel comfortable to your TSP and your personal IRA as early as you can. If your wife works you should probably be able to max both out every year. It’s one of the only benefits that you have over civilian residents (contributing to retirement accounts early) so make sure you don’t fail to take advantage of it.
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Thanks for the advice y’all.