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Old 05-16-2011, 12:03 PM
Location: Sierra Vista, AZ
16,116 posts, read 20,145,602 times
Reputation: 8204


Originally Posted by WestCobb View Post
I am seriously weighing my options about staying in the Army, and I would love to hear from military retirees. I have been in the Army for 11 years now, but I never planned to go beyond one enlistment. I don't hate the Army, but I don't love it either. As you all know, the military is an all encompassing way of life, one which I'm not sold on.

The Army has been good to me as far was promotions, enlistment bonuses and even assignments (I guess that's what 10 years of war will do), but moving around is not for me, my wife or my daughter. I'm seriously considering getting out when I come down on PCS orders, which will probably be about two to three years from now. At that point, I will be six to seven years from retirement. I would go into the Reserves, so I can get some pension after 60, but as you know, that is far less of a benefit than active duty retierment.

The reason why I am considering doing this is because my wife has a good job where we're at -- which consequently, also leads to a pension... she's a public school teacher. My daughter loves the school she's at, which feeds into a middle and high school that are just one mile from our house. And speaking of houses, I'd probably have to sell mine at a loss (if I can even sell it all) when it comes time to move.

For those of you who have made it to retirment, is that monthly check really worth the sacrifice?
You are banking on a teachers job, not with the GOP assault on public employees I wouldn't. I had to move my mother into mu house for three years with my daughter while she finished high School until she was off to college. You don't know what the market will be three years down the road.. At least keep a reserve gig so you can get back in if you want. It ain't easy out here, Every day I ride to the base for the gym and look at the AITs compared to the kids outside. I think the ones in the Army are the smart ones
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Old 05-17-2011, 09:54 AM
2,379 posts, read 4,282,348 times
Reputation: 3402
Totally worth it.

Retired at 40 from first career. Military career paved that way into a very good paying civil service job.

Drawing a retirement that is more than some families live on. That deposit hits every month, it's a set amount - no worrying about the "market" whih allows us to be a bit more risky with our other investments.

I look at our friends/family without military retirement and tricare and I can't see how they can stand the stress.

No worries about health care. My pregnancy/birth of our child last year - total bill $378,000. Our share - about $700 bucks.

I have family members/friends who are teachers - they seem to be perpetually in danger of losing their jobs. So I wouldnt' bank on your wife's job.

Also - your daughter is in a elementary school she loves? Sorry but I wouldn't base something this important on something like that.

Does the military still have the HAP (housing assit. program)? That might be a way out of your underwater house if you have to change duty stations.
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Old 05-17-2011, 06:24 PM
11,987 posts, read 10,678,285 times
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I really appreciate the feedback from those who took the time to reply. I'm still not totally decided on what to do. Perhaps many of you retirees remember what it's like on this side, when you, your family or both are tired of moving. Almost everyone I know hits this wall at some point. Moving is no longer an adventure. It's just a grind.

For a dual careered family, it's even worse. We never know from PCS to PCS what the job situation is going to be like for my wife. (So far she's been fortunate enough to find a job everywhere we've gone, but as some of you have pointed out, jobs in education are drying up right now.) She has had some huge successes in her current position, and it is doubtful she would ever lose her current job.

Also, I own a house here, which I would either a) sell at a loss or b) rent for less than the mortgage payment. Worst case scenario for me -- get stuck paying on a house I don't live in, and my wife is unable to find a job.

All this for a monthly retirement check? Hmmm... I appreciate the trade-off though... uncertainity now for more certainity later, but I wish I was little further toward the finish line ... nine years...over the hump, but just barely.
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Old 05-17-2011, 08:43 PM
3,071 posts, read 7,566,856 times
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Not sure how the Army works, but if it's like the Marines, if you are pro-active you can basically go wherever you want, or in your case, stay where you want. Have you looked at trying to stay at teh base you're at but with a different unit when PCS time comes up? Or have you considered going to a relative close base but leave your family where there at, and then PCS back to that base at a later date?

I've known people who've done this. Some examples, women works at hospital in Frederickburg, VA, husband is officer and gets orders to Camp Lejeune NC. She stays in VA and he come homes on the weekend. My current CO's husband resides in another state b/c he is in law/graduate school. My sister-in-law stayed in NC while her husband was on recruiting duty in Ohio.
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Old 05-18-2011, 04:17 AM
Location: Richmond, VA
2,633 posts, read 4,391,959 times
Reputation: 4213
When I went over 20, it was just like a great big weight had lifted off me.

The Army, in my experience, likes to instill what some personnel guys call a 'healthy concern for career'-in other words, the threat of *not* making retirement motivates many behaviors and is part of why the last few years are a little more painful than they have to be.

Once you know that, short of a felony, you have it nailed, the world is your oyster. Suddenly those positions that weren't open are open, because branch wants to keep you and knows you can always retire in lieu of PCS.

I think Macjr82 had a solid plan: volunteer for a WIAS or Korea with a HAAP (or an understanding if your branch or MOS has a good history of assignment managers keeping promises). Your family can live without you that year or even two, go back on weekends often if you are out of state in CONUS. Whatever you do, make *sure* you talk to branch at least a year out and ask for something reasonable ('I'd like to be on the East Coast and prefer North or South Carolina' is much better than 'it has to be Greenville, SC or nothing'). Hiding out is a sure way to get whatever assignments are left over, and not what you want.

Your wife will thank you when you reach retirement.
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Old 05-18-2011, 07:05 AM
5,706 posts, read 12,815,737 times
Reputation: 9007
Served 22 years, retired @ 42, worked in corporate for another 20 years and retired @62. It's a personal decision, but I can't complain about two pensions, Tricare (which is BIG benefit), everything paid for including new RV, Harley Ultra, kids educations, houses. Those checks allow us to travel and basically do whatever we choose. Because of Tricare I did not have to take medical coverage through company when I retired, which would have cost me $700 month. Took a MOAA supplement, along with Tricare, which cost me $60 month for both of us.

Son loved military also, but left after 6 years due to wife unable to cope, mostly with the deployments. He continues to serve in NG.
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Old 05-18-2011, 08:00 AM
1,476 posts, read 4,034,292 times
Reputation: 957
I do not know anyone who regrets serving 20 and then being able to retire, but I do know many who regret not serving 20 and wish they could do it over again.
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Old 05-18-2011, 08:02 AM
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
204 posts, read 1,298,906 times
Reputation: 277
Doing the right thing for yourself and family sounds like the issue. I know folks who regret not retiring, then there are those who charted a different course and are fine with the outcome. I'm a retiree and the check isn't huge, but it certainly helps. Best of luck to you in whatever direction you choose.
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Old 05-18-2011, 08:30 AM
Location: Back in the gym...Yo Adrian!
9,371 posts, read 17,485,715 times
Reputation: 18346
Now might be a good time to consider getting out and finding work as a contractor or GS in your local area. Attend job fairs and seek out opportunities wherever you can. If you can score a GS-12 or 13 jb now, it may be worth it. One thing I can tell you, the military loves to mess with you once you've gone past that 17 year mark because they know they've got you. I've seen my share of SNCO's and field grade officers get deployments and assignments they weren't too tickled about in their 18 or 19 year mark. Obviously they weren't going to seperate being that close to retirement, and the folks who control the assignments know this. Just something to consider.
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Old 05-18-2011, 10:49 AM
5,470 posts, read 8,160,530 times
Reputation: 7284
I'm just a medical retiree, after 8 years in

at 11, it could break ether way. But you said in a few years... 14 years in.

Jmho, you'd be a FOOL not to stick it out those last 6 years.

I'm back in school and right now I'm working the national earthquake exercise (posting from my phone during downtime) and I echo what others have said about the tricare and the money EVERY MONTH... Just for breathing!
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