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Old 05-15-2011, 12:39 PM
 
7,826 posts, read 4,786,824 times
Reputation: 6132
Default Military Retirement - Is It Worth It?

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?
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Old 05-15-2011, 01:39 PM
 
Location: New Mexico USA
17,140 posts, read 17,839,317 times
Reputation: 19770
I estimate I have drawn close to half a million dollars in retirement pay since I retired in 1990 with 22 years. I will attempt to answer every one of your questions.

Quote:
Retirement -- is it worth it?
- Yes, for me it was. My wife of 40+ years said it was. My kids said it was.

Quote:
Army for 11 years now, but I never planned to go beyond one enlistment
- I was drafted, but it quickly became a lifestyle I began to appreciate. And retirement benifits looked pretty good to me.

Quote:
I don't hate the Army, but I don't love it either.
- Yep, about 6,000 days of good times and about 2,000 days I hated it... Just a rough guess. But I have friends who got out early, did not do too well, and have lived a miserable life. I have some who did quite well without going to retirement.

Quote:
At that point, I will be six to seven years from retirement.
- I don't want to sway you, but my last five years were in many ways the worst for me.

Quote:
I would go into the Reserves, so I can get some pension after 60
- I considered that, and the issues of the Reserves, where can I get a good assignment where my MOS is, and will it change?

Quote:
my wife has a good job where we're at -- which consequently, also leads to a pension... she's a public school teacher.
- My wife eventually saw the light and finally ended up going Federal Civil Service. With 20+ years in, she has no regrets and has had a lot of good options, i.e. she got a promotion and paid move to come to Albuquerue. Something we wanted for a long time.



My daughter loves the school she's at

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.
- I made one possible error. I tried to stay stabilized. I turned down a few good overseas assignments. In the end, my kids sort of wanted to go back overseas in a military community. Same with some of our friends. We baby sat some kids who are now adults, a U.S. Army First Sergeant, A Navy Commander, A Soap Opera Movie Star....

Rent your house out? Leave your family behind, go overseas let the kids finish the year in school, etc various possibilities...

For those of you who have made it to retirment, is that monthly check really worth the sacrifice? - Yes it was worth it. I retired at age 50 and the only reason we aren't riding around in an RV is my wife has this career which she makes good money with. We could get by on my retirement pays.

Check out what medical insurance/coverage really would cost you. We have saved several hundred thousand in just monthly medical coverage insure. Don't trust me on that, check with some real insurance companies. And remember, you and you wife get older, coverage goes up.
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Old 05-15-2011, 03:35 PM
Status: "Ugh." (set 3 days ago)
 
Location: Arlington, Virginia
14,934 posts, read 17,193,087 times
Reputation: 15424
Quote:
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?
My mother was in for 20 years. You will never know when that extra something in the bank every month will come in handy or beyond that be the difference between sleeping in a bed or sleeping on a park bench. In the late 90s after she got out she had been unemployed/underemployed and divorced. Having that military pay come in helped us stay in our house which she eventually sold at a profit.

I can't tell you the right thing for you, but all I'm saying is that being that close to a guaranteed check coming in for the rest of your life would be worth all the grunt work for myself personally.
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Old 05-15-2011, 06:38 PM
 
15,662 posts, read 5,868,176 times
Reputation: 3143
Yep, just for waking up every day....on the last day of the month I have an extra $1800 ish bucks in my account....

People will wonder why you got out with 11 years in......

Do the last 9, but don't go past 20 years, unless you land a job as a S-3 BDE SGM.....that does nothing....

But, yea....well worth it....

But a question for you, you have 11 years in....do you have another enlistment pending?

You cannot get out on your next PCS just "Because."
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Old 05-15-2011, 06:50 PM
 
7,826 posts, read 4,786,824 times
Reputation: 6132
Quote:
Originally Posted by chucksnee View Post
Yep, just for waking up every day....on the last day of the month I have an extra $1800 ish bucks in my account....

People will wonder why you got out with 11 years in......

Do the last 9, but don't go past 20 years, unless you land a job as a S-3 BDE SGM.....that does nothing....

But, yea....well worth it....

But a question for you, you have 11 years in....do you have another enlistment pending?

You cannot get out on your next PCS just "Because."
I'm in indefinite status now, but there are a lot of misconceptions about that. A person in indefinite status can request a seperation at any time. These are almost always granted, so long as the person does not have to repay a bonus or fullfill a time requirement due to an assignment.

I don't hate the Army. I just never planned to make this a career. However, at this point, it looks like I just might have to. I didn't meant to do 11, but since I did, I guess I have to do another nine. I really hope it's worth it. I also hope the Army doesn't decide to send me to some place like Fort Drum for my last few years. I have been incredibly lucky assignment-wise, which is why I have stayed this long. I just have a feeling my luck is running out.

lol @ your SGM comment by the way. Most sergeant majors don't do much of anything, do they?
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Old 05-15-2011, 07:26 PM
 
Location: Denver
1,788 posts, read 532,116 times
Reputation: 1057
Do you have a skill set that promises good employment in the private sector? If that is questionable.....ride it out. You have more job satisfaction than a large percentage of people....who hate their job. Assuming they have one.
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Old 05-15-2011, 07:31 PM
 
Location: Seattle
1,564 posts, read 1,625,637 times
Reputation: 1543
I am absolutely thrilled I went all the way...trust you will appreciate it on the first of the month...
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Old 05-16-2011, 03:55 AM
 
Location: Traverse City, MI
156 posts, read 224,541 times
Reputation: 163
With 20 on active duty and then retireing you have:
Small to medium pension
PX
Commissary
Tricare
Space A for flights
Hotels in Hawaii, Germany, Disney World, Korea and Virginia

If you get out will the reserves still have a slot for you when the next drawdown occurs?

Think it over several times before you get out.
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Old 05-16-2011, 07:03 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
21,654 posts, read 27,573,754 times
Reputation: 8682
I did 6-years and got out. Went to college. During my fourth year of college, I happened into a group of middle-aged engineers. They were much older then I was. They each hated their companies, with the politics and manipulations. They encouraged me to go back in. I re-enlisted.

During the next 14-year stretch of my career, I had the opportunity to have a few conversations with other servicemembers who had been out [worked in corporate settings] and came back in. This helped to keep me focused on the importance of the pension.

I retired when I was 42.

I attended my 25th highschool reunion. In the entire crowd I was the only person who had a pension. We were all 43 years old, and none of them had even considered pensions or retirement. It was completely off their radar. They each had a minimum of 20 years of work to go before any of them would be focusing on retiring.

Today I am 52. I have been retired for 10 years. And still nobody from my hometown among my age-group is even looking at retirement.

Some of them have been dying [cancer] and others have already become disabled from old age ailments [R.A. degenerative discs, etc] and yet the best that most of them can hope for is SS [in 10 years].

By the time that any of them finally do survive to get a pension, I will have already been on pension for 20+ years.

I decided what I wanted to do with my retirement long ago. I could have done the beach hut thing on a island [I can afford it]. I could have put on a suit and gone after a corporate career [most military retirees do]. But I wanted to live in a forest, build a farm, fish / hunt, herd livestock and grow crops.

I do not need any money from any other source to be able to support a family. My pension as an E-6 is plenty.

I keep very busy, but I do what I want to do. To me this is totally 'worth' the 20-years of Active Duty service that I had to go through to get here.

I wish you luck.
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Old 05-16-2011, 11:21 AM
 
Location: Southern Oregon
1,848 posts, read 2,002,446 times
Reputation: 1238
Geez, you've made it this fall may as well ride the rest out, if you got out before retirement you'll kick yourself in the butt when those last few years go by. I was in for 9 years, when I turned 37 I thought "if only" I have stuck it out I could retire, but like they say hindsight is 20/20.
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