Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

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FatMoneyClip
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Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by FatMoneyClip » Tue Oct 13, 2015 12:30 am

I will soon reach the first milestone of any military careerist. Early next year (2016), I will have twenty years of active service. So the question is should I retire at my earliest opportunity or stretch my military career on indefinitely? On a positive note, I have options. Many of my peers are being forced to leave military service by qualitative retention boards. I have made career choices along the way that will ensure I can stay in another twenty years if I chose to.

Retire Now - Positives
- Reduce the possibility of deployments, insane work hours, and random work travel (aware that some civilian careers are just as hectic)
- Immediate access to pension starting at $2.5k/month (with annual COLA)
- Still young enough (41 y.o.) to start/complete another career
- Opportunities to make more money in the civilian sector; current gross is about $8k/month (including allowances)

Retire Now - Negatives
- Military skills directly transferable to very few civilian jobs; Adds significant uncertainty to employment and income (though high income possible)
- Loss of military education and training opportunities (there are certain skills that one can only gain while in the service)
- $1k/month pay raise projected for early 2017
- Loss of access to active military benefits/discounts (it is nice not being concerned medical insurance premiums or AMEX Platinum annual fees)

I feel like I am in high school again and trying to figure out what I will do when "I grow up." Many of you may have been similar situations and I am interested to hear any "if I had only know..." stories/advice.

Current Situation
Married w/ three children in elementary school
Gross income: $8k/month
Savings $115k
TSP (401k): $230k
Roth IRA: $85k
Spouse Roth: $45k
Both BA and MS paid for by military so no student loan debt.
Mortgage $180k on rental property (income covers mortgage; prop value $210k)

Thank you for any assistance. :beer

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BL
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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by BL » Tue Oct 13, 2015 12:44 am

Good job analyzing options.
I don't sense a plan here as to what you plan for your future. That would indicate you are not quite ready to retire. At least you have an option to quit almost anytime (except for commitments you might have) so you can choose when to do it and retired pay keeps increasing.

I don't know how to figure out what you really want to do. Perhaps when you are ready you will know that. Keep getting job information and make connections as best you can. This might be a position where social networking sites might help in networking. Do you belong to any military organizations geared to your area of expertise?

Are you familiar with Tricare and SBP?

2comma
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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by 2comma » Tue Oct 13, 2015 1:53 am

It's a tough decision either way. I've never been in but I have a lot of family that did, friends that did, co-workers and classmates in college that did, and I went to high school and lived near Newport News/Yorktown so I've known both enlisted and officers that went both ways in all branches of the service as I grew up with their kids.

In the long run I think it worked out well for those that stayed at least 25 years, in the short run I've known many that should have stayed and many that should have left. Overall, I think it is a good decision to say if you and your family are reasonably happy because the benefits of staying are hard to ignore. On the other hand I've known those that weren't happy leave after 20 and wished they'd held on for 5 more and those that left after 20 and were very happy while in but did well in civilian life.

I guess that is about as noncommittal an answer as you could get?
If I am stupid I will pay.

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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by ENE703 » Tue Oct 13, 2015 4:55 am

It reads like this is not so much a financial, but an emotional readiness choice. When I was contemplation retirement from the USAF, I asked my mentor a retired Colonel, how he made his decision. He explained it to me this way... "It's time to retire when you wake-up every morning for a month and are not happy putting on the uniform. You have about 2 years before you start ruining the great memories you've built during your career and become bitter".

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corn18
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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by corn18 » Tue Oct 13, 2015 5:38 am

There are many aspects to making this decision: life goals, financial and risk.

What are your life goals? Does the service still meet those goals? I got out at 20 because I had accomplished everything I set out to do in the Navy. I flew fighters for 20 years and had exhausted all opportunities to continue flying. That biased me towards getting out.

Financial / Risk: I was scared to death to get out and take on the risk of the private sector. If your service career is secure, it's hard to replace the security of a gov't job and the benefits. You will have to make a lot more to match the salary + benefits of your current job. I used http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/tax ... lator.aspx to determine how much I would have to make in the civilian world to match my pay in the military. It was a lot higher because I had FL as my state of residence and paid very little tax compared to an equivalent civilian pay. If you think you can find a job that is rewarding, fits your life goals and pays what you want, then the finance part takes care of itself. That's a big if, right? I found it easy to get a job after retirement, but it was from my network I had maintained with retired friends/acquaintances. So far, I am very happy with the pay but miss the military camaraderie.

Medical hasn't been a big issue as Tricare serves us just fine. I can get benefits through work, but just use Tricare. Saves me $12,000 a year.

I also had a mentor help me make the decision and he told me I would know when it's time to retire. Wasn't sure what that meant until I made the decision. No regrets.

Tom
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maxq
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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by maxq » Tue Oct 13, 2015 10:57 am

First of all, thank you and your family for your service. I struggled with the same decision when I hit 20 years of service in the Air Force, but the system decided for me by stop lossing me for a couple of years. Then, I decided I was still enjoying it, so stayed for two more years before retiring at 24 years. You sound like you have a good handle on the pros and cons. There are probably some other things to factor in, such as whether one paycheck now and in the future (three young children probably makes it hard for both to work outside the home), current and future (if retire) housing, and so on. Only you and your spouse know where you want to end up and what you want to do about housing long term.

Some random thoughts for your consideration, most of which you probably already know:

1) TRICARE for retirees is a great benefit, but its not free and is slowly but steadily eroding and increasing in cost (still a much better deal than most of your civilian counterparts though). Know and understand the limits of coverage of TRICARE Standard and Prime for retirees; look into supplements and USFHP (a version of Prime) if living in an area they cover. If you retire, no more free dental coverage, but Delta dental has a reasonable retiree plan.
2) Look into VA benefits. Even if you think you're in good health, a military career can take a toll on the body and mind. Take some time and peruse the forums at vets.yuku.com. VA disabilities aren't necessarily what a person would think of--chronic back pain, carpal tunnel, arthritis, sinus problems, hearing loss, tinnitus, etc. There's a fast-track process to file disability paperwork during the retirement process, but keep in mind that with the VA, fast-track is relative. Take advantage of one of the reps at the VFW or American Legion to learn or help with the process.
3) Make and keep multiple copies of your medical and personnel records. Your branch of service and the VA may lose them.
4) Look into the New GI Bill. I don't know what it covers these days, but perhaps it will help with your kids' tuition down the road.
5) Been there, done that trying to translate military experience into civilian skills. There are lots of websites that will help change AFSCs and MOSs into civilian occupations. Depending on your actual skill set though, it can be difficult.
6) I do miss the active duty discounts, but some retailers still recognize prior service--Lowes and Autozone give 10% off to retirees, and I'm sure many others do too.
7) As mentioned by another poster, a mentor is invaluable. Also, networking is key to the job search and preparing for a long and satisfying second career.

Good luck!
:sharebeer

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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by abuss368 » Tue Oct 13, 2015 11:03 am

Hi FatMoneyClip,

Tough questions indeed. Most importantly, I would like to thank you for your service to our great nation!

Best.
John C. Bogle - Two Fund Portfolio: Total Stock & Total Bond. "Simplicity is the master key to financial success."

Maverick3320
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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by Maverick3320 » Tue Oct 13, 2015 12:04 pm

FatMoneyClip wrote:I will soon reach the first milestone of any military careerist. Early next year (2016), I will have twenty years of active service. So the question is should I retire at my earliest opportunity or stretch my military career on indefinitely? On a positive note, I have options. Many of my peers are being forced to leave military service by qualitative retention boards. I have made career choices along the way that will ensure I can stay in another twenty years if I chose to.

Retire Now - Positives
- Reduce the possibility of deployments, insane work hours, and random work travel (aware that some civilian careers are just as hectic)
- Immediate access to pension starting at $2.5k/month (with annual COLA)
- Still young enough (41 y.o.) to start/complete another career
- Opportunities to make more money in the civilian sector; current gross is about $8k/month (including allowances)

Retire Now - Negatives
- Military skills directly transferable to very few civilian jobs; Adds significant uncertainty to employment and income (though high income possible)
- Loss of military education and training opportunities (there are certain skills that one can only gain while in the service)
- $1k/month pay raise projected for early 2017
- Loss of access to active military benefits/discounts (it is nice not being concerned medical insurance premiums or AMEX Platinum annual fees)

I feel like I am in high school again and trying to figure out what I will do when "I grow up." Many of you may have been similar situations and I am interested to hear any "if I had only know..." stories/advice.

Current Situation
Married w/ three children in elementary school
Gross income: $8k/month
Savings $115k
TSP (401k): $230k
Roth IRA: $85k
Spouse Roth: $45k
Both BA and MS paid for by military so no student loan debt.
Mortgage $180k on rental property (income covers mortgage; prop value $210k)

Thank you for any assistance. :beer
Could you explain this a little better? You are coming up on twenty years service (congrats!), but you're saying you could stay in 20 more years if you wanted? From what I've seen lately, Soldiers/officers are generally pushed out the door at 22-24 years years, maybe 30 years if you are an O6+. Even E9s aren't getting anywhere close to 40 active years. If you are an O5/O6, your pension calculation sounds awful low. Also, you say opportunities for salary are higher in the civilian sector, but then say your military skills don't necessarily translate. Do you have something likely in mind, or a position lined up?

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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by expat » Tue Oct 13, 2015 12:19 pm

A family member retired after 20 years in the military. He was completely lost, without purpose, and his pension did not cover his living expenses. He ended up in law enforcement. If you like, or can at least tolerate the military, I would stay at least until the kids are grown.

small_index
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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by small_index » Tue Oct 13, 2015 12:24 pm

Sounds like this indecision's buggin' you... given your age I'm assuming the thread title reference to The Clash was deliberate. :)

The very first thing you identified is crazy work hours and travel. I suspect civilian work would be an improvement (maybe after an initial ramp-up period). Do you expect the hours and time away from home to improve in upcoming years, remain the same, or increase? If this is your #1 factor, and it's getting better, that's something to consider.

You've listed transition to civilian work in both the pro and con section. Maybe you could look deeper at that and research if you have more of a pro or con. My naive opinion is that military training and discipline shoe you in to managerial positions - don't overlook the indirectly transferable skills.

warner25
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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by warner25 » Tue Oct 13, 2015 1:33 pm

In general, I think that staying past 20 years is a bad deal. If I were past that point, it would just eat away at me: working the insane hours, moving every couple of years to places you wouldn't want to visit let alone live, TDY/deployments/field exercises away from family, getting shot at - all while knowing that I could instead be drawing a substantial pension to do none of that.

With that said, this largely comes down to spending habits. My family could live well on a $30k/year pension, $500k in savings, retiree healthcare, and another less stressful job (plus SS in the future). What about you?

If your spending needs are a lot greater, and you don't have a clear idea for a second career, then it might be best to stay put.

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cheese_breath
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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by cheese_breath » Tue Oct 13, 2015 1:52 pm

Not all decisions are strictly financial. If your list of pros and cons exactly counterbalanced each other, what would you want to do?
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

soccerdad12
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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by soccerdad12 » Tue Oct 13, 2015 1:54 pm

Another consideration.... you are 41 right now. Say you stay in for another 10 years and are 51. Is it a lot harder to gain employment at 51 yo rather than 41? I am not sure as I have never been in that situation and am not of that age, but others here might have direct experience. If you plan on retiring and never working again, then I would say stay in as long as you can. If you plan on working in any significant capacity after retirement then I would seriously consider getting out. Pretty sure you won't be able to stay in even close to 40 years and probably not even 30 years if the military budget tightens anymore.

Lots to think about.

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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by gwrvmd » Tue Oct 13, 2015 2:14 pm

Retired military here
If are not sure and doing pretty well re retention boards, I would consider staying for 24. That will mean several colas, possible promotion and retire at 60% of pay. That can make you pretty financially independent and the finances of next job is not that critical. At 24 years the decision tends to be made for you. If you stay in you are doing it for 40% of your pay.......Good luck........Gordon
It can also mean that your kids are in college so where you retire to will not be so much determined by quality of the local high school
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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by friar1610 » Tue Oct 13, 2015 3:52 pm

Here's my story (and I'm sticking to it):

Retired on 28 years active. I had always planned to get out at 20 or thereabouts but was in a good location for family at the time I hit 20 didn't retire. Shortly thereafter came into the zone for O-6 and was selected. The deal was I would have to move to a new location to take a command job (3 year tour) which meant moving a HS kid. I agonized over that decision but took the promotion and the move (to a very nice stateside location although my HS kid didn't really like it.) She, of course was in college the following year.


Went to the command tour planning to retire at the end of it (on what would have been about 24 years) in the same general part of the country (New England). But there was a pretty severe recession in NE in the early 90s. I considered what it would be like to be looking for a job in that economic environment without any private sector experience when I'd be competing with thousands of men and women with experience who had been laid off and were on the job market. Decided to take another tour - this brought me back to the Maryland (Baltimore-DC) area from which I had come. Again, had a pretty good job and enjoyed it until the last 9 months or so. I had been seriously planning for military retirement, running the numbers, etc. and so I had a pretty good idea of where I stood. One day I went to the meeting that was the straw that broke the camel's back, left the meeting and walked over to the personnel office and put in my retirement letter for a few months later.

I remained in that area for about 6 more years working in a couple of jobs with Beltway Bandits. Very good pay, very little job satisfaction. Socked away a good amount of money and finally retired at age 58. Spouse retired a couple of years later and we boogied back to New England where we are now.

My Takeaways (not necessarily applicable to everyone)"

- It's pretty hard to move high school kids. Moving them at a younger age is not as big a deal.
- The financial difference between an O-5/20-22 retirement vs. O-6/28 is pretty significant. (I suspect that if I had retired from the military as an O-5 I would have worked past age 58 before retiring.)
- You can make excellent money on the outside, particularly if your military speciality matches up with something the BBs have contracts for. Some find that work satisfying; I didn't.
- Keeping your post-military spending at the same level as when you were in the military (even if you are making lots more between pension and salary) is an excellent way to save and to retire early. (I realize not everyone wants to retire early but I sure did.)
- If I had been subject to numerous TDYs and deployments in the O-6 years it probably wouldn't have been worth it.
- I don't have many friends from my civilian "career" days; I have lots from my military days. I sometimes dream about my military days; I never dream about my civilian "career" days.
- If I had to do it over again, I would have worked harder trying to find a non-BB post-military career. (I would have happily worked for less money in a more satisfying career but, in spite of some interviews, never really got a good offer.)

For me, it was a very difficult decision to remain in for those extra years. In retrospect, it turned out very well. I wish you the best in arriving at your decision.
Friar1610

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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by RetiredMarine » Tue Oct 13, 2015 4:07 pm

Retired a couple of years ago after nearly 34 years. Wife will retire next year after nearly 25 years. IMHO, much of the decision of when to retire comes down to how much you (and you family) enjoy being in the military and doing your job. And your goals, family and financial situation/requirements, and age can also drive a decision to retire sooner if you to want to start another career. Obviously, my wife and I both enjoyed it very much - and with 3 kids - 1 in college, 1 in high school, and 1 in elementary school - we still have awhile to go before our empty nest days. But we'll likely just be volunteering until then as work isn't a requirement. Even if the wife wasn't in the military, work would still not be required due to our relatively frugal lifestyle in the military and consistent/relatively wise saving and investing. Many, if not most, of my military peers, have to work when retiring from the military to support their family/lifestyles - but again those were due to their choices along the way.

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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by gkaplan » Tue Oct 13, 2015 7:56 pm

If I had to do it over, I would have stayed in.
Gordon

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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by navyasw02 » Tue Oct 13, 2015 10:07 pm

gkaplan wrote:If I had to do it over, I would have stayed in.
Why? Just curious if you could expand on that.

Topic Author
FatMoneyClip
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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by FatMoneyClip » Tue Oct 13, 2015 11:33 pm

Wow... thank you for all the responses. A lot of your comments hit home. I would to reflect on some of the posts and provide some information I failed to provide up front.

BL -I am familiar with SBP and adjusted my retirement pay to reflect it. I am expecting DoD to find cost savings by "adjusting" Tricare for Life in the future. Let's just say that I do not expect benefits to increase and co-pays to decrease.

ENE703 - You are right. This is really a "emotional readiness" concern. Currently, I am missing a lot of quality time with my family. That being said, I am concerned that I will be busy in the corporate world with fewer benefits.

tomhole - You are right to bring up life goals. What I have always enjoyed most about my career was making a difference... even for just one person. Recently, I seem to spend more doing other peoples' work. It seems like classic overachiever syndrome. Leadership identify your capabilities and suddenly your picked up the workload of the others that couldn't (or wouldn't) keep up. I guess I am still making a difference but this camel is feeling loaded down.

maxq - You hit on some important medical concerns. Recently, visits to my PCM have been highlighted with the doctor asking, "How much longer do you have?" I have long had medical issues but usually made up for it with physical fitness. No one questions your limp if you can out run them. That being said, it seems all the PT in the world can replace lost cartilage and remove scar tissue from an eye. It is a factor I failed to mention up front. I could be one bad medical appointment from medical board (but I could have said the same thing a decade ago). Beyond my military mentors, I also have a corporate mentor through ACP (http://www.acp-usa.org/Mentoring_Program). Having a corporate mentor has been very enlightening and I highly recommend the program to others considering transitioning.

Maverick3320 - I have had interesting career. I served over 16 years of enlisted service before switching to warrant officer. It kind of reset my clock. While my peers were being QRB'd and was being treated like a brand new officer. My monthly gross pay is high because of BAH (which will not be reflected in my retirement pay).

expat - You do an excellent job of describing my fear. Once one makes the jump to retirement, there is no going back. That being said, my corporate mentor seems to think that I will have no problems finding a job.

small_index - BINGO. Honestly, I have told many that my next assignment will probably drive my retirement choice. That being said, I recently discovered my command has describe me as "critical" and have requested my assignment officer leave me in place despite having completed my three years on station. While I appreciate the thought, I am not sure I keep up the same pace for another three years.

warner25 - Our savings were most driven by thrifty habits and some lucky gains on home sales. Of course, thrifty habits are easier when the children are young. I have a number of career interests: Information Security, AML/BSA, etc. I enjoy almost anything that provides a mental challenge and that may be my problem. I enjoy so many different things, it is difficult to select just one civilian career to focus on.

friar1610 - Thank you for sharing our story. I am already hearing the discontent of my little ones. They finally grew accustom to our current location and the possibility of another move (and the uncertainty of where we will go) is weighing on them. Of course, I thought having the retirement option, like a reserve parachute, would be comforting. Well, I am not feeling it. :|

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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by Cunobelinus » Wed Oct 14, 2015 12:33 am

Removed. I was tired when initially writing it, and I do not think it was appropriate to post those tired sentiments.
Last edited by Cunobelinus on Thu Oct 15, 2015 12:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

Topic Author
FatMoneyClip
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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by FatMoneyClip » Wed Oct 14, 2015 1:18 am

Cunobelinus - Thanks for your reply. I can recall being 10 years in. I always joke that the military times promotions and assignments perfectly. Just when you think you are done, that shore duty assignment is finally here or that promotion to senior NCO is finally offered. Just three more years becomes a career really fast. Your suggestion to "spend rest of your days on things that are important to you" really resonates with me. Though, to be honest, it reminded me of what I loved about the military. I always felt like I was accomplishing something important (still do occasionally).

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alec
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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by alec » Wed Oct 14, 2015 5:41 am

A lot of people that live around me are ex military that are now civilian DOD or other govt employees, so it's not like you have to go to work for capitalist pigs. :wink:
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" - Upton Sinclair

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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by Van-Guard23 » Wed Oct 14, 2015 6:47 am

FatMoneyClip,
Thanks for your service. My wife and I (now both retired military officers with enlisted time) agonized over this decision a couple of years ago. My wife and I both reached 20 years and were just returning from deployments to Afghanistan (always joked that the Army Couples Program works great...we even got "stationed" in Afghanistan together although we didn't see each other but once during our year there). I was slated to take command of a battalion the following summer, but after realizing my heart wasn't into it any more and I wasn't having fun any more, decided to decline command and submit my request to retire (had to get my GO's signature and endorsement to decline command...came as quite a shock to most of my peers and mentors). My wife decided to stay on for another assignment and just retired last month.

My takeaways:
- I believe you will know when it's time to retire (I sure did)...if you have doubts, then maybe it isn't quite time yet.
- My/our decision to retire from the military was relatively stress free (although there were some sleepless nights) since my wife was still on active duty and we were able to achieve financial independence. Did a thorough analysis prior to retirement and our combined pensions would cover our living expenses...even in Hawaii.
- If you do decide to retire, make sure to look at transferring your Post-911 GI Bill to your kids (since you already have your BA and MS)
- If you do decide to retire, make sure to have DoD take care of any major medical/dental procedures as soon as possible...you would not be a priority for medical/dental when you retire, not to mention those procedures would not be "free"
- If you do decide to retire, you would have to make choices regarding SBP, SGLI replacement (VGLI is not the best deal unless you have existing medical issues that might preclude you from getting a better deal elsewhere) among other things. My wife and I both took full SBP..and replaced SGLI with level term life insurance through AAFMAA (me) and USAA (her).
"I have only come here seeking knowledge. Things they wouldn't teach me of in college" | The Police "Wrapped Around Your Finger"

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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by gtwhitegold » Wed Oct 14, 2015 7:40 am

FatMoneyClip,

I'm personally at 12 years myself and never really enjoyed putting my name on that piece of paper, but I did it to support my family. I also understand what it's like to always be the one being called in. I was called in tonight over something that duty personnel should have handled.

If you are interested and even just marginally capable now in Information Security, you shouldn't have a problem finding a job, especially if you don't mind working overseas. My command here in Japan is less than 50% manned for civilians. Italy was the same way. If you have Security+ or better, or if your MS meets the requirements for the upcoming DoD instruction, you should be ahead of the curve. (Note that I have been working overseas for the last seven years, so I may not understand everything going on stateside.)

If you are on the fence, you can always float your resume and see if anything sticks.

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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by friar1610 » Wed Oct 14, 2015 10:35 am

gtwhitegold wrote:FatMoneyClip,

I'm personally at 12 years myself and never really enjoyed putting my name on that piece of paper, but I did it to support my family. I also understand what it's like to always be the one being called in. I was called in tonight over something that duty personnel should have handled.

If you are interested and even just marginally capable now in Information Security, you shouldn't have a problem finding a job, especially if you don't mind working overseas. My command here in Japan is less than 50% manned for civilians. Italy was the same way. If you have Security+ or better, or if your MS meets the requirements for the upcoming DoD instruction, you should be ahead of the curve. (Note that I have been working overseas for the last seven years, so I may not understand everything going on stateside.)

If you are on the fence, you can always float your resume and see if anything sticks.
I have been retired a long time and am not particularly current. But, I was in the field that has since morphed into Information Warfare/Information Security/Information Dominance. Some of my retired friends are more interested in keeping current with this stuff than I am and, as a result I get a lot of emails on the subject (and I even read some of them!) :happy It's pretty obvious to me that there is a lot of demand for appropriately skilled people to work for the companies that have contracts with the gummint in this area. I don't know what the demand is for jobs with the government.
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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by Maverick3320 » Wed Oct 14, 2015 12:02 pm

warner25 wrote:In general, I think that staying past 20 years is a bad deal. If I were past that point, it would just eat away at me: working the insane hours, moving every couple of years to places you wouldn't want to visit let alone live, TDY/deployments/field exercises away from family, getting shot at - all while knowing that I could instead be drawing a substantial pension to do none of that.

With that said, this largely comes down to spending habits. My family could live well on a $30k/year pension, $500k in savings, retiree healthcare, and another less stressful job (plus SS in the future). What about you?

If your spending needs are a lot greater, and you don't have a clear idea for a second career, then it might be best to stay put.
One other factor: every year he goes past 20 increases his pension factor by 2.5%.

20 years of service = 50% of final pay
25 years of service = 60% of final pay, etc.

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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by Maverick3320 » Wed Oct 14, 2015 12:09 pm

FatMoneyClip wrote:Wow... thank you for all the responses. A lot of your comments hit home. I would to reflect on some of the posts and provide some information I failed to provide up front.

BL -I am familiar with SBP and adjusted my retirement pay to reflect it. I am expecting DoD to find cost savings by "adjusting" Tricare for Life in the future. Let's just say that I do not expect benefits to increase and co-pays to decrease.

ENE703 - You are right. This is really a "emotional readiness" concern. Currently, I am missing a lot of quality time with my family. That being said, I am concerned that I will be busy in the corporate world with fewer benefits.

tomhole - You are right to bring up life goals. What I have always enjoyed most about my career was making a difference... even for just one person. Recently, I seem to spend more doing other peoples' work. It seems like classic overachiever syndrome. Leadership identify your capabilities and suddenly your picked up the workload of the others that couldn't (or wouldn't) keep up. I guess I am still making a difference but this camel is feeling loaded down.

maxq - You hit on some important medical concerns. Recently, visits to my PCM have been highlighted with the doctor asking, "How much longer do you have?" I have long had medical issues but usually made up for it with physical fitness. No one questions your limp if you can out run them. That being said, it seems all the PT in the world can replace lost cartilage and remove scar tissue from an eye. It is a factor I failed to mention up front. I could be one bad medical appointment from medical board (but I could have said the same thing a decade ago). Beyond my military mentors, I also have a corporate mentor through ACP (http://www.acp-usa.org/Mentoring_Program). Having a corporate mentor has been very enlightening and I highly recommend the program to others considering transitioning.

Maverick3320 - I have had interesting career. I served over 16 years of enlisted service before switching to warrant officer. It kind of reset my clock. While my peers were being QRB'd and was being treated like a brand new officer. My monthly gross pay is high because of BAH (which will not be reflected in my retirement pay).

expat - You do an excellent job of describing my fear. Once one makes the jump to retirement, there is no going back. That being said, my corporate mentor seems to think that I will have no problems finding a job.

small_index - BINGO. Honestly, I have told many that my next assignment will probably drive my retirement choice. That being said, I recently discovered my command has describe me as "critical" and have requested my assignment officer leave me in place despite having completed my three years on station. While I appreciate the thought, I am not sure I keep up the same pace for another three years.

warner25 - Our savings were most driven by thrifty habits and some lucky gains on home sales. Of course, thrifty habits are easier when the children are young. I have a number of career interests: Information Security, AML/BSA, etc. I enjoy almost anything that provides a mental challenge and that may be my problem. I enjoy so many different things, it is difficult to select just one civilian career to focus on.

friar1610 - Thank you for sharing our story. I am already hearing the discontent of my little ones. They finally grew accustom to our current location and the possibility of another move (and the uncertainty of where we will go) is weighing on them. Of course, I thought having the retirement option, like a reserve parachute, would be comforting. Well, I am not feeling it. :|
Nice...I hadn't even looked at it from the warrant perspective. You guys can stay as long as you want! Are you at CW3 yet? If it were me, I would try to hit that milestone before considering hanging em' up. I think the bump in pension is pretty signficant.

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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by warner25 » Wed Oct 14, 2015 2:50 pm

Maverick3320 wrote:One other factor: every year he goes past 20 increases his pension factor by 2.5%.
Yes, but it comes down to the marginal utility of money. Like I said, my family would not need anything more. To entice me to stay past 20, the Army would need to offer a very attractive assignment in addition to the 2.5% bump per year.
Maverick3320 wrote:Nice...I hadn't even looked at it from the warrant perspective. You guys can stay as long as you want!
Is this true in other services? Army warrant officers are subject to up-or-out rules, and selective continuation is not happening now. I know some folks in danger of being involuntarily separated as a CW4 with less than 20 years just because promotion to CW5 is so tough.

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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by Maverick3320 » Wed Oct 14, 2015 2:54 pm

warner25 wrote:
Maverick3320 wrote:One other factor: every year he goes past 20 increases his pension factor by 2.5%.
Yes, but it comes down to the marginal utility of money. Like I said, my family would not need anything more. To entice me to stay past 20, the Army would need to offer a very attractive assignment in addition to the 2.5% bump per year.

[Quote="Maverick3320]Nice...I hadn't even looked at it from the warrant perspective. You guys can stay as long as you want!
Is this true in other services? Army warrant officers are subject to up-or-out rules, and selective continuation is not happening now. I know some folks in danger of being involuntarily separated as a CW4 with less than 20 years just because promotion to CW5 is so tough.[/quote][/quote]

I didn't literally mean chiefs can stay as long as they want...it just seems that way. I often envy them: no one really messes with them, they pretty much do what they want, have less "command" responsibility...sounds so nice.

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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by gtwhitegold » Wed Oct 14, 2015 3:58 pm

Maverick3320 wrote:
warner25 wrote:
Maverick3320 wrote:One other factor: every year he goes past 20 increases his pension factor by 2.5%.
Yes, but it comes down to the marginal utility of money. Like I said, my family would not need anything more. To entice me to stay past 20, the Army would need to offer a very attractive assignment in addition to the 2.5% bump per year.

[Quote="Maverick3320]Nice...I hadn't even looked at it from the warrant perspective. You guys can stay as long as you want!
Is this true in other services? Army warrant officers are subject to up-or-out rules, and selective continuation is not happening now. I know some folks in danger of being involuntarily separated as a CW4 with less than 20 years just because promotion to CW5 is so tough.
[/quote]

I didn't literally mean chiefs can stay as long as they want...it just seems that way. I often envy them: no one really messes with them, they pretty much do what they want, have less "command" responsibility...sounds so nice.[/quote][/quote][/quote]

In the Navy, it's extremely different for CWOs. Mostly because they commission so much later. They are required to be E-7 or above with over 12 years and up to 22 to apply. Also, most aren't selected first time up. CWO3 is almost automatic and they can serve up to HYT at 30 years as a CWO3.

I never heard about continuation boards or early separation for CWOs in the Navy.

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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by NOVACPA » Wed Oct 14, 2015 4:57 pm

FatMoneyClip wrote: Retire Now - Negatives
- Military skills directly transferable to very few civilian jobs; Adds significant uncertainty to employment and income (though high income possible)

Thank you for any assistance. :beer
There are only two things a future employer knows for sure:

How tall you are and how you dress. They hire you because they trust your judgment in situations (doctors, accountants, lawyers, and engineers excluded).

The above quote is taken from a man who had 40 years at "The Firm" in Langley. He knows a thing or two about people...

A 20 year military career, and a voluntary departure, would tell me that folks have trusted your judgement and I probably should too.

Get a civilian career with or without skills that transfer. I can teach a monkey finance or accounting, but I can't teach them good judgment. You'll be fine...

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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by Toons » Wed Oct 14, 2015 5:13 pm

I would re-enlist again :happy
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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by Taylor Larimore » Wed Oct 14, 2015 5:45 pm

Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"
FatMoneyClip:

One of the major factors in your decision should be whether or not you like your job?

Best wishes.
Taylor
"Simplicity is the master key to financial success." -- Jack Bogle

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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by Maverick3320 » Thu Oct 15, 2015 9:11 am

gtwhitegold wrote:
Maverick3320 wrote:
warner25 wrote:
Maverick3320 wrote:One other factor: every year he goes past 20 increases his pension factor by 2.5%.
Yes, but it comes down to the marginal utility of money. Like I said, my family would not need anything more. To entice me to stay past 20, the Army would need to offer a very attractive assignment in addition to the 2.5% bump per year.

[Quote="Maverick3320]Nice...I hadn't even looked at it from the warrant perspective. You guys can stay as long as you want!
Is this true in other services? Army warrant officers are subject to up-or-out rules, and selective continuation is not happening now. I know some folks in danger of being involuntarily separated as a CW4 with less than 20 years just because promotion to CW5 is so tough.
I didn't literally mean chiefs can stay as long as they want...it just seems that way. I often envy them: no one really messes with them, they pretty much do what they want, have less "command" responsibility...sounds so nice.[/quote][/quote][/quote]

In the Navy, it's extremely different for CWOs. Mostly because they commission so much later. They are required to be E-7 or above with over 12 years and up to 22 to apply. Also, most aren't selected first time up. CWO3 is almost automatic and they can serve up to HYT at 30 years as a CWO3.

I never heard about continuation boards or early separation for CWOs in the Navy.[/quote][/quote][/quote][/quote]

Didn't know that, thanks. Army folks rarely get to cross paths with their Navy counterparts. I did serve in a joint command once, and actually had a Navy boss. Good guy.

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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by OAG » Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:39 pm

Left as soon as I could. As it was I had to stay for 21 years due to a Promotion Lock-In. I "retired" at 38 years old. Joined when I was 17 and left as a CW4 (CW5 had not come to light yet). Glad I did and I had 4 kids at the time. To each his own but I and the family was tired of the moves (17 times in 21 years and many were short unaccompanied adventures). Due to my leaving when I did the kids all graduated from same HS, when to the college or academy of their choice and became productive citizens.
OAG=Old Army Guy. Retired CW4 USA (US Army) in 1979 21 years of service @ 38.

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A similar story

Post by Taylor Larimore » Thu Oct 15, 2015 8:01 pm

FatMoneyClip:

Many years ago, in the 60s, I recommended one of my young sailing students for the U.S. Naval Academy where he became captain of their sailing team.

20 years later my young friend had the same decision you have. He decided to stay in the Navy. After an exciting career as a Seal, he is now stationed in Washington and is expected to become an Admiral. He and his family are glad that he remained in the service.

Best wishes.
Taylor
"Simplicity is the master key to financial success." -- Jack Bogle

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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by Barefootgirl » Thu Oct 15, 2015 8:34 pm

AMEX Platinum annual fees) a very minor point, but since you brought it up :) .....these can be partially offset (I think to the tune of $200), by purchasing airline giftcards which are reimbursed as airline incendental charges.
How many retired people does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Only one, but he takes all day.

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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by abuss368 » Fri Oct 16, 2015 1:56 pm

gkaplan wrote:If I had to do it over, I would have stayed in.
Hi Gordon,

Thank you fro your service to our great nation. What branch did you serve?

Best.
John C. Bogle - Two Fund Portfolio: Total Stock & Total Bond. "Simplicity is the master key to financial success."

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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by sesq » Fri Oct 16, 2015 2:21 pm

Barefootgirl wrote:AMEX Platinum annual fees) a very minor point, but since you brought it up :) .....these can be partially offset (I think to the tune of $200), by purchasing airline giftcards which are reimbursed as airline incendental charges.
Amex does not charge military folks fees for any of their cards. So for the military folks who hold the Plat card, they can take the $200 incidentals reimbursement and put it straight into their own pocket. Even with 100,000 point sign up bonuses (from time to time) I still haven't gotten my brother-in-law (Army Major) to sign up.

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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by Barefootgirl » Fri Oct 16, 2015 2:27 pm

Amex does not charge military folks fees for any of their cards. So for the military folks who hold the Plat card, they can take the $200 incidentals reimbursement and put it straight into their own pocket. Even with 100,000 point sign up bonuses (from time to time) I still haven't gotten my brother-in-law (Army Major) to sign up.
Yes - the point of my post was just to let him know he doesn't need to consider that he's giving up that much - since there are reimbursement alternatives.
How many retired people does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Only one, but he takes all day.

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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by retirementbound » Mon Jan 09, 2017 5:01 pm

Fatmoneyclip

I have been searching through military posts and came across this one. Since this is about 17 months since you first posted I am interested to see what you chose to do.

I am currently at 19 years and will most likely retire in September '18 but there are a couple of variables that may change that (wife is currently in as well).

The positive side to things is that we will have the flexibility to do what we want when we get out but like you mentioned that you felt like you were back in high school rings very true to me. I didn't know what I wanted to do in college so joined the military. Now I am not sure what I want to do when I get out, contracting, GS, teaching, corporate or just retire and be a stay at home dad.

Thanks for any update to your situation.

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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by djmbob » Tue Jan 10, 2017 12:40 pm

Congrats on your milestone and thank you for your service. I retired from the Air Force after 34 years (both active and reserve) with an active duty retirement. Had to retire by law in 2010 - 59 now and really do miss it.

One thing to consider that any here bring up as they consider delaying starting Social Security until age 70, is that for every year after 20 you stay, your retired pay will increase by 2.5% up to a max total of 75% of your final base pay. That is a huge benefit. Further, if staying active, you receive active duty pay raises rather than retired CPI raises -- for 2017 the AD pay raise was 2.1% while mine as a retiree was .3%. That also compounds since your retired pay will be based on your final base pay on the day you retire... inflation adjusted, it will "never" decrease. No need to worry so much about inflation or having to have a $2million nest egg to provide for your 4% withdrawal rate.

As others said, if you like your job, and consider the benefits (including passing on your GI bill to your spouse or children -- which you can only do while on AD -- the medical, VA, etc., staying makes a difference. And being able to add significantly to your TSP is also huge.

Cheers to all. :sharebeer
Ray

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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by Nords » Sat Jan 14, 2017 4:41 pm

I'll have The Clash banging away in my head for the rest of the day. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
retirementbound wrote:The positive side to things is that we will have the flexibility to do what we want when we get out but like you mentioned that you felt like you were back in high school rings very true to me. I didn't know what I wanted to do in college so joined the military. Now I am not sure what I want to do when I get out, contracting, GS, teaching, corporate or just retire and be a stay at home dad.
I get this question a lot from my readers. The answer is to stay on active duty as long as you're feeling challenged & fulfilled.

But when the fun stops, it's time to leave active duty-- either to retire (as you can) or (for the other 80% of servicemembers) to a drill billet in the Reserves/National Guard. You have tremendous human capital and the military gives you plenty of money-earning potential... along with the motivation & discipline to realize that potential.

Vanguard23 up there is precisely correct that you will know when it's time to go. But even if you're ambivalent then it's probably still time to retire.

Don't gut out the extra years for the 2.5%. The real value of a military retirement is the pension's reliability, its inflation adjustment, and the cheap healthcare. The extra cash is not worth the extra effort (and the extra move, and the extra deployment) unless you're still tap-dancing to work every day.

If you two end up as dual-military retirees then you'll be in the same situation as Vanguard23 and his spouse, along with me and my spouse, and another half-dozen dual-military retiree couples I know personally: way more money than you need for the rest of your life.

Regardless of your retirement decision, attend your service's transition seminar (TAP or ACAP or GPS or whatever it's called)-- and do it now. The seminar will help you clarify your thinking, especially if you and your spouse can attend together. 17 years ago I felt pretty much the same as you, and my spouse and I both heard different parts of TAP with different understandings. Our conversations about those differences were some of the most valuable time we've spent together.
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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by SurferLife » Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:51 am

Nords wrote:I get this question a lot from my readers. The answer is to stay on active duty as long as you're feeling challenged & fulfilled. But when the fun stops, it's time to leave active duty
I wish making the decision to retire were so simple; it's far from simple for our situation. I am ready to retire now and want to start in on phase 2 of life, whatever that may be (I have PLENTY of things I want to do.) Unfortunately, we had kids late in life, and I signed my GI bill over late in my career, so right now I'm committed until at least Jan 2019 to get that benefit, but I'm at 22yrs of service right now as an O-5. Also, we'd like to get one more move in to be able to get BAH for a few years in a high COL area, specifically Hawaii. We'd like to retire in CA or HI and buy a house, but with the home prices in those locations being 800k+ for what we'd like, the only way to make it happen is through the military (and there are no jobs for me in CA). We've decided that if I get tapped for a deployment then I'd drop my retirement papers, but we're going to try to ride it out to at least Jan 2019 for the GI Bill, even though I'm done, just done with the military.

Oh, I'm also meeting my O-6 board this year, and if I were to get promoted (which I don't expect), then we'd have to wrestle with that decision. For us, a few more years in the military means total freedom and pursuing our passions, while if I were to get out now, then we'd not have as many options for the next few decades. The opportunity cost are monumental no matter the choice we make, but we think it's much worse to get out now, even though that is the desire.

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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by Nords » Tue Apr 04, 2017 9:42 am

SurferLife wrote:
Nords wrote:I get this question a lot from my readers. The answer is to stay on active duty as long as you're feeling challenged & fulfilled. But when the fun stops, it's time to leave active duty
I wish making the decision to retire were so simple; it's far from simple for our situation. I am ready to retire now and want to start in on phase 2 of life, whatever that may be (I have PLENTY of things I want to do.) Unfortunately, we had kids late in life, and I signed my GI bill over late in my career, so right now I'm committed until at least Jan 2019 to get that benefit, but I'm at 22yrs of service right now as an O-5. Also, we'd like to get one more move in to be able to get BAH for a few years in a high COL area, specifically Hawaii. We'd like to retire in CA or HI and buy a house, but with the home prices in those locations being 800k+ for what we'd like, the only way to make it happen is through the military (and there are no jobs for me in CA). We've decided that if I get tapped for a deployment then I'd drop my retirement papers, but we're going to try to ride it out to at least Jan 2019 for the GI Bill, even though I'm done, just done with the military.

Oh, I'm also meeting my O-6 board this year, and if I were to get promoted (which I don't expect), then we'd have to wrestle with that decision. For us, a few more years in the military means total freedom and pursuing our passions, while if I were to get out now, then we'd not have as many options for the next few decades. The opportunity cost are monumental no matter the choice we make, but we think it's much worse to get out now, even though that is the desire.
Hundreds of readers over the last decade have told me it really is that simple.

When the fun stops in the military then it's very difficult to find it again, even if you get a different billet (let alone an ROTC job). You're at the pointy end of the promotion triangle, with fewer choices and more "breakout" challenges that you'd rather leave to someone else. In the meantime perhaps you're chronically fatigued, your blood pressure could be a little high, maybe your other physical exam numbers are moving the wrong way, and you'd rather do other things with your family.

It's also too easy to feel boxed into a number of financial decisions which may have other choices. If you're also burned out then it might be a little difficult to work through the questions.

You've said that you'll request retirement if you're tapped for a deployment. If that's the case then maybe it makes sense to talk through the options now, before that possibility comes up. One of my friends is just starting her year-long deployment to Afghanistan.

If you're already eligible for a pension then I'm not sure why you feel you have to suffer more years in the military in hopes of total freedom afterward. Every time I've worked through this question with someone, it's turned out that the financial gap could be covered with part-time work or a thorough scrub of their spending. In many cases that person would have done those things anyway, even if they already had enough assets.

In your situation, I'm not sure what happens if a servicemember separates or retires before finishing the obligated time for a GI Bill transfer. January 2019 is "only" 21 months away and anyhow your service would probably want 12 months' notice on your retirement request. Since transferring your GI Bill benefits will cover the college fund, then let's work through the rest of the thought experiment: what else would it take to retire in January 2019?

Buying a home in Hawaii during the next three years makes about as much sense as shopping for a Manhattan condo. Our home value and our rental property's market rent have gone from "Whoa" to "Nuts". Prices are way above the typical thumbrules (price:income, price:rent) and any crappy 40-year-old home (with the original kitchen) is selling above listing with multiple offers.

Yet the light rail project is fundamentally realigning many neighborhoods (and their property values) toward commuters. Developers are already building two huge new neighborhoods (Koa Ridge and Ho'opili) which will start selling shortly after you retire-- and should help moderate the prices.

After 28 years I think I can predict the end of this movie: prices will level off around 2020 and possibly even drop a little. Better still, workers will rush to live near light-rail stations and abandon some decent places that are further out, leading to pockets of value in nice neighborhoods.

Even if you're planning to live the rest of your life on Oahu, you can get a lot more for your dollar by renting here (either on active duty or as a retiree) for a few years. Research the neighborhoods & schools (like Mililani), go to open houses a couple Sundays a month, maybe work with a realtor, and wait for a desperate seller. Just from 12-24 months of patient research (and an extra move) you'll save tens of thousands on a home purchase. That works out to at least a year of BAH.

While you're renting in Hawaii, will you be working a bridge career? It's worth researching your chosen industry on Linkedin and discussing it with the group "Veteran Mentor Network". (https://www.linkedin.com/groups/4466143) I've watched dozens of vets network their careers there, and maybe that would help clarify the employment picture.

I think it's much harder to buy a house while you're going from an active-duty paycheck to a bridge career. However if you rent here and work your career while you're searching for a house, then a VA loan is pretty straightforward. You'll also have your VA disability rating by then and might be able to waive the VA loan's funding fee. You can't escape that fee on active duty.


When I was near the end of my 20, I used to feel the same way as you. I've heard the same sentiments from hundreds of readers. Yet those who have finished the transition have relaxed, recovered from chronic fatigue, and quickly found their way. They've discovered their bridge careers, they've overhauled their spending, and they're much happier. In retrospect they wish they'd retired the minute they were eligible instead of gutting it out for a few more dollars of pension and another $100K in savings.
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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by Sandtrap » Tue Apr 04, 2017 9:47 am

Asked my FIL. Retired Air Force. Started as a private, retired rank of Major. He said "stay". Best deal on the planet. Benefits, medical, etc. Keep the momentum going. "Stay the Course". He went in very early, put in 30 years, then worked for fed at the VA admin, so maxed dual retirement. Sweet.
Asked my best friend. Retired US Coast Guard, active and reserves, Master Chief. Lives in Hawaii. Super HCOL. Wish he'd have stayed active all the way. Left active duty then went to fire department and stayed in reserves so dual retirement. Said active all the way would have added up better. But ended up okay. HCOL in Hawaii/Oahu is chewing up his retirement big time. DW is retired USPS Postal 30 years.
In Hawaii, 100k/year mortgage and debt free is marginal. Thank goodness for px, commissary, etc. (grew up there, local, hawaiian)
Also have some friends that left at your stage and then went back in a few years later. Also some who went laterally/somewhat to another branch for a better deal. Another was in the Marine corps, put in 20, left, then went to Fed/Fire as a paramedic at KMCAS. So then retired dual monster pension. Worked out great. The GI Bill is insanely good right now for those that strategize well with it. Used to only cover tuition, now room and board depending on circumstance. Knew 2 fellows who got out on 20 and then went to med school, all on USA dime. Did well.
Lot's of options.
(my o2. DW is a "career military "offspring/brt" so I've had decades of exposure to both side, civilian and military, many go to fed after military because of the extra points).
Good luck. :happy
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Boots B.
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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by Boots B. » Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:53 am

Keep in mind there are major changes coming to TRICARE...The National Defense Authorization Act -(signed into law in Dec 2016) combines TRICARE Standard and Extra into the new TRICARE Select which requires enrollment fee of $300 for all retired beginning January 1, 2018. Still a way better deal than any civilian health plan, but a change none the less.. There are new cost shares too. Recommend reading NDAA Section 701 et seq....

SurferLife
Posts: 276
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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by SurferLife » Tue Apr 04, 2017 12:15 pm

Sandtrap wrote:Asked my FIL. Retired Air Force. Started as a private, retired rank of Major. He said "stay". Best deal on the planet. Benefits, medical, etc. Keep the momentum going. "Stay the Course". He went in very early, put in 30 years, then worked for fed at the VA admin, so maxed dual retirement. Sweet.
Asked my best friend. Retired US Coast Guard, active and reserves, Master Chief. Lives in Hawaii. Super HCOL. Wish he'd have stayed active all the way. Left active duty then went to fire department and stayed in reserves so dual retirement. Said active all the way would have added up better. But ended up okay. HCOL in Hawaii/Oahu is chewing up his retirement big time. DW is retired USPS Postal 30 years.
In Hawaii, 100k/year mortgage and debt free is marginal. Thank goodness for px, commissary, etc. (grew up there, local, hawaiian)
Also have some friends that left at your stage and then went back in a few years later. Also some who went laterally/somewhat to another branch for a better deal. Another was in the Marine corps, put in 20, left, then went to Fed/Fire as a paramedic at KMCAS. So then retired dual monster pension. Worked out great. The GI Bill is insanely good right now for those that strategize well with it. Used to only cover tuition, now room and board depending on circumstance. Knew 2 fellows who got out on 20 and then went to med school, all on USA dime. Did well.
Lot's of options.
(my o2. DW is a "career military "offspring/brt" so I've had decades of exposure to both side, civilian and military, many go to fed after military because of the extra points).
Good luck. :happy
Thanks for the comment Sandtrap. One of the things that older retirees have a difficult time understanding is the pace of our current operations. We have been at war now for....what seems like forever, 15+ years? We have had build ups in manpower and drawdowns during that time, but what has remained constant is non-stop operations. Some services have it far worse than others, but we've all been hit by some of it. Many older retirees never experienced this sustained pace of operations during the time they served, and have a hard time understanding why we'd want to leave this gig with such great benefits. It's a whole new experience these days, and it's not going to slow down anytime soon. I served back in the 90s, and there was Desert Storm, which didn't last very long, but during the 90s, it sure was nice.

SurferLife
Posts: 276
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2014 1:57 am

Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by SurferLife » Tue Apr 04, 2017 12:17 pm

Boots B. wrote:Keep in mind there are major changes coming to TRICARE...The National Defense Authorization Act -(signed into law in Dec 2016) combines TRICARE Standard and Extra into the new TRICARE Select which requires enrollment fee of $300 for all retired beginning January 1, 2018. Still a way better deal than any civilian health plan, but a change none the less.. There are new cost shares too. Recommend reading NDAA Section 701 et seq....
I'll check it out. Is that $300/yr or $300/mo? I know the benefits will decrease over time, it's inevitable if you look at the history. Thanks for the reference.

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Sandtrap
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Re: Military Retirement; "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Post by Sandtrap » Tue Apr 04, 2017 12:23 pm

SurferLife wrote:
Sandtrap wrote:Asked my FIL. Retired Air Force. Started as a private, retired rank of Major. He said "stay". Best deal on the planet. Benefits, medical, etc. Keep the momentum going. "Stay the Course". He went in very early, put in 30 years, then worked for fed at the VA admin, so maxed dual retirement. Sweet.
Asked my best friend. Retired US Coast Guard, active and reserves, Master Chief. Lives in Hawaii. Super HCOL. Wish he'd have stayed active all the way. Left active duty then went to fire department and stayed in reserves so dual retirement. Said active all the way would have added up better. But ended up okay. HCOL in Hawaii/Oahu is chewing up his retirement big time. DW is retired USPS Postal 30 years.
In Hawaii, 100k/year mortgage and debt free is marginal. Thank goodness for px, commissary, etc. (grew up there, local, hawaiian)
Also have some friends that left at your stage and then went back in a few years later. Also some who went laterally/somewhat to another branch for a better deal. Another was in the Marine corps, put in 20, left, then went to Fed/Fire as a paramedic at KMCAS. So then retired dual monster pension. Worked out great. The GI Bill is insanely good right now for those that strategize well with it. Used to only cover tuition, now room and board depending on circumstance. Knew 2 fellows who got out on 20 and then went to med school, all on USA dime. Did well.
Lot's of options.
(my o2. DW is a "career military "offspring/brt" so I've had decades of exposure to both side, civilian and military, many go to fed after military because of the extra points).
Good luck. :happy
Thanks for the comment Sandtrap. One of the things that older retirees have a difficult time understanding is the pace of our current operations. We have been at war now for....what seems like forever, 15+ years? We have had build ups in manpower and drawdowns during that time, but what has remained constant is non-stop operations. Some services have it far worse than others, but we've all been hit by some of it. Many older retirees never experienced this sustained pace of operations during the time they served, and have a hard time understanding why we'd want to leave this gig with such great benefits. It's a whole new experience these days, and it's not going to slow down anytime soon. I served back in the 90s, and there was Desert Storm, which didn't last very long, but during the 90s, it sure was nice.
Well said. Very true.
For my FIL, age 95, WWII had a little tough pace of operations, then Korea. Later, 60's. My number. Vietnam was also a little difficult.
Thanks for serving.
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