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Old 01-12-2012, 08:39 AM
1 posts, read 11,085 times
Reputation: 25


To the original question. Although some of these answers may be relevant you have to take into account the op tempo now vs. when some of these retirees served. We have been faced with non-stop deployments for the past 10 years and it is much harder on families than it was back in the day when deployments happened less often. Military retirement is a great thing but almost everyone returns to work afterward unless you do some strict planning. So yes, you may get the pension but if you take what you know as a midlevel employee you should be able to slide your way into a management position as long as you know how to market yourself. People who get out unprepared are the ones saying they wish they stayed in. I know many of people who have left the military mid-career and have never looked back. These people planned, these people say it was the best decision they have ever made. They may work till their 60's but they are doing so happily. Life is short, if you let yourself be miserable for the next 9 years, thats 9 years you will never get back. Myself, I will be out at 12, I have planned extensively to include becoming debt free and earning two degrees working on my 3rd. Im not afraid to leave, its the chance for me to be all that i can be without the army. Its been a great run but my family comes first always!
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Old 01-12-2012, 02:20 PM
Location: Matthews, NC
14,693 posts, read 22,464,412 times
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For me, it probably would have been (assuming I stayed in and didn't get killed). I'm coming up on what would have been twenty year. I would have my 50% and could find another job.
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Old 01-12-2012, 05:40 PM
Location: Earth
4,227 posts, read 20,285,035 times
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I think the retirement is a nice thing worth having. You may not get a big check in the mail every month, but I think it says something when you can join the military at 18 after high school, and then you can go to your 20th h.s. graduation and brag about your retirement and move on to your second while the rest of your classmates have a few years left trying to finish their first. I also think it gets your foot more in the door when you can honestly put down on a resume/job application that you did 20 or more years of service to uncle Sam. Plus don't forget the medical care you get after you're done, plus you can still use the BX or the commissary and buy your stuff cheaper AND tax free...and there's probably more stuff I'm thinking of. I have just under 7 years left in before I can retire.
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Old 01-12-2012, 06:00 PM
1,738 posts, read 3,883,003 times
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For some the question really deals with being able to even make it to 20 in the first place, example is the current RIF going on through in the Air Force. People whose ADSC was 10 years (officer aircrew) do the leap of faith after 10, then get riffed, and nothing to show for it. They would have been better off separating at 10 when their contract was up. The Air Force exercised their "needs of the Air Force" and they get left out with an empty bag.

This is all coming to a head. The retirement is no longer that sacrosanct politically. Furthermore, it would actually be of benefit, in the generation of no pensions, to have partial vesting to that retirement system. We all know the mil retirement is going to a system modeled after the Reserve Component (AF/ARMY/NAVY Reserves and/or AIR/ARMY National Guard) anyways.

I don't think, considering the ops tempo and the slash and dash personnel decade the 2010s are going to be in the military today, that attempting to stick it out to 20 is worth it. To each their own of course. Not all jobs are alike in the military, so career satisfaction runs the whole spectrum.
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Old 01-17-2012, 09:06 AM
Location: Fayetteville, NC
1,490 posts, read 5,048,849 times
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It was worth it to me. I served in the USAF for 24 years and retired as a E-7 I get $1800 after deducting FICA, Survivor Benefit Program, VGLI insurance, Tricare, and Family Dental. Plus, I get VA compensation. I make as much as a starting policeman or a teacher in my city.

The retirement system will change but in almost every case if you are already in you will be grandfathered. I was under the "High 3 program"
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Old 01-20-2012, 06:02 PM
Location: El Paso, TX
3,302 posts, read 3,755,085 times
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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?
I retired about 15 months ago. I do not remember under what retirement plan you are. Mine was at 50% at twenty years plus 2.5% added each year after that.

I will tell you about me. It was worth it! I know I will have a check for the rest of my life. I also got a 70% rating disability from the VA. I did stay 32 years so I retired with 80% of my base pay. Add to that my VA check and I will say my wife and I are very happy. We have financial piece of mind. My wife handled our finances very well. She just sent the last mortgage payment last December so the house is paid for. She paid it in ten years instead of 30.
Also, we get veteran special exception on house taxes, licence plates, en many other little things that do add up.
Also, I retired with a master degree. Here is the possible drawback. I enliste at 25 so when I retired I was 57. Sadly, many businesses do discriminate against age. Also, if you get a degree, get it in a field that is not affected by age. Today many employers seem to demand experience in the field you go to. I know I am very qualified in some areas but it seems to be a mental block if they do not see you have direct experience on the position. Also, as soon as I get interviewed by someone younger, less experienced, and less educated, I can see them as I being a threat to their position.
I am not worried now because I do not have a job. I do not know your age, the ages of your kids and if your wife works or not. In my case our kids are grown up and my wife has been a SAHM. However, with the lenght of service and rank I achieved I clear $70/year in retirement pay and VA pay after all deductions.
However, if you stay only twenty, the ages of your kids, etc. it may make a difference. One things is for sure. The economy is very volatile. You do not know whether yuo will have a jobs all the time. If you are retired, in hard times you will still have something coming in. Take care.
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Old 01-21-2012, 08:19 AM
Location: Idaho Falls, ID
2 posts, read 12,924 times
Reputation: 24
I can't speak for the Army as to the last 9 years of a career sucking or not, but my last 9 years were the best. I would have gone longer but my back had other plans, so I settled for 21 years.

Military retirement is SWEET. It's not really enough to live on, unless you've already paid off your house, but it really pads your paycheck when you continue to work. When I retired I was eligible to get unemployment, but I didn't want to because I already had a job lined up, and I didn't want to mess with interviewing for jobs that I knew I wasn't going to take while I groomed my house for moving out (we still have that house because the market tanked).

One big piece of advice: get as much college as you can while you're in. Tuition assistance is 100% now, so you can get a degree for the price of books. Then, instead of using your GI Bill for going to college after you get out, the VA will give you TAX FREE CASH for "job training" if you take a job that requires OJT to get promoted. Seriously, it's a lot of money.

Second big piece of advice: make sure all your aches and pains get DOCUMENTED in your medical record. They may seem minor now, while you're young and relatively healthy, but they'll haunt you later, and don't be shy when filling out your VA paperwork, because they add all of them up. If you're rated as over 50% disabled certain benefits kick-in (e.g. job retraining) but you still pretty functional and not really incumbered to do most occupations. When you get really old, that disc you bruised in your 20's is going to be real expensive, unless it's recognized as a "service-connected" injury.
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Old 01-26-2012, 08:52 PM
Location: GA/AL state line
254 posts, read 1,052,250 times
Reputation: 152
Retired at age 38 with 35,000 annually (plus COLA increases) for the rest of my life even if I go to jail or move to Thailand. STAY ARMY!!!
I agree with everyone else's recommendations, especially for the following:
1. Stay in as long as possible. Every extra day past 20 increases your retirement more than you will ever get anywhere else.
2. DO NOT TAKE 15YR REDUX BONUS!! The reduced retirement is so obviously not worth it in the long run.
3. Get as much college as possible before you get out. I never finished college and I was panicking my last year in
4. Work your VA physical while still on active duty. If you have a choice of doing your separation physical on post, always choose the VA doctors off post. ACAP people should explain this more.
5. Apply and interview for as many jobs as you can as early as possible. There's so many sweet jobs still out there for prior military, but you will have to show that you are seriously competitive.
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Old 01-26-2012, 11:33 PM
18,856 posts, read 30,447,336 times
Reputation: 25990
An old timer today said he did 19 years, and was done! He just could not stick out the last year. But now, he wishes he had. So, I think it is valuable to listen to folks who have been there.
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Old 01-27-2012, 09:57 AM
Location: Northern VA (for now)
23,001 posts, read 31,949,672 times
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Originally Posted by jasper12 View Post
An old timer today said he did 19 years, and was done! He just could not stick out the last year. But now, he wishes he had. So, I think it is valuable to listen to folks who have been there.
19 years, now that is odd? I had a woman customer at Ft. Knox whose husband was getting out after 16 to avoid anymore deployments to Afghanistan. That I understand, but he is basically at 4th and inches on the goal line. One year can't be that bad for a check for the rest of your existence on Earth.
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