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Old 02-12-2014, 04:23 PM
36 posts, read 171,255 times
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Originally Posted by Submariner View Post
Upper Class begins at around $200k/year, I never came close to that mark
Even at $200k, you would be upper middle by income, not by wealth.

Being rich is more about having enough capital that you can live off of interest and dividends (i.e. your capital brings you ~$200k or more).
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Old 02-12-2014, 08:49 PM
Location: Northern Virginia
499 posts, read 1,713,557 times
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In terms of monetary wealth, you will never be rich in the military. In terms of personal wealth, you'll be a millionaire.

You have one life, make it a good one.
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Old 02-13-2014, 04:10 AM
Location: Princeton
1,079 posts, read 986,980 times
Reputation: 2132
Go Infantry, option 4 (Airborne, you'll need this to qual in anything) Series 18 X Special Force try-out (SFAS) , if you make it and survive you're two year Qualifications course, your next contract signing bonus is upward to $100,000.00 or more..

Once you ETS'd out, you will make this salary every year with companies like Academi Elite, (Old Blackwater) Hostile Control Tactics and several others who are part of the game of Protective Services, not to mention working Corporate, $$. Big Big bucks, *note* this career field is not for the meek.

Good Luck Trooper
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Old 02-13-2014, 10:30 AM
11,619 posts, read 11,168,327 times
Reputation: 15371
Originally Posted by Warmongers View Post
How easy is it to save money in the military? I've been thinking of joining and spending a few years in it. Maybe whatever the minimum is, 3 years? More if I like it. Anywho, if I make 1,400-1,500 per month (that's about what new soldiers made in 2013 according to pay charts I've seen), that would add up to something around $15,000 for a year. After two years that's about $30,000. With a 3rd year, that's be about $45,000, maybe more if you take into account the pay raises that happen after 2 years.
Do not forget to take out taxes, so that will net you less on your base pay.

Yes, possible to save all of your money, but what a boring life you would have. Sitting in your barracks and eating galley food for year after year is not much of a life. If in the Navy and pull into ports, sitting on a ship while in port is not much of a life.

You can set up a savings plan, but in now way your sanity will allow you to just never spend money. If you were that crazy, you would not even be in the military anyway.

Originally Posted by Warmongers View Post
How much of that money can I reasonably expect to save if I live frugally while enlisted and don't waste much of it? I'm really not a big spender and I have no kids or other crap to deal with so I can afford to save a lot of money, which is what I'm trying to do now by selling on Ebay. Problem is, I'm not making much money off ebay and the side gig I've got only nets me about $400 per month, not including ebay. I pay car insurance which eats about 100 a month (a family member gave me her car, in case you're wondering) + my phone & dialup internet connection which together is another 60 bucks. My prepaid phone is about $10 per month + misc expenses like going to movies etc. I make a lot of what I spend back through ebay. I still live with my grandparents, I have no college education and I can just imagine the stress of juggling a job with school and not having much money.
Just set up a financial plan and stick to it, despite the temptations of spending. A lot of new military folks first spend on a car, then blow the rest on things because they spend for entertainment. Really, the first three to four years you are not going to make much money.

Originally Posted by Warmongers View Post
I really don't see much of a better gig where I make that much money and not have the majority of it go to rent/bills etc I can just do whatever the military asks of me which I'm not assuming will be easy, but I can do that and just watch the money pile up over the years. Once I get out, I can sit on what I saved up in the military and find a job and try my best not to cut into my military savings.
It is good to plan for getting out the minute you get in. Having a cushion of funds and no debt is a great way to start off your civilian life.

Some tips:

- Stay out of debt, do not go into debt at all. Sure, build your credit up, but you can build credit without buy a high interest car. Most new folks go and buy a car, and pay high interest on this car.

- Have a savings plan and stick to it. Do not short yourself the entertaining life the military can give, especially when it comes to hanging out with others and general fund. But set a budget, stick to it, and you can have fun as well as save.

- You will not make much money your first enlistment, it just does not happen. Using the Navy for an example, if you are in the right rate to advance, and at sea, even a submarine, you can start getting not too bad money near the end of your enlistment. You can have enough to start your civilian life, but nothing close to what I call rich.

- If you choose your rate right, you can reenlistment once or twice and get a great reenlistment bonus, and dump it all to investments. My reenlistment bonuses were huge, and that is what laid the solid foundation for my wealth I have now. I have seen though people blow their bonuses on nothing, stuff like wheels and tires, Vegas, a party with ten strippers, etc. Or they pay off the $13k in credit card debt they accumulated over the years and are basically back to zero in terms of wealth, oh yes, start accumulating the credit card debt again.
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Old 02-13-2014, 01:14 PM
4,111 posts, read 4,220,339 times
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"Yes, possible to save all of your money, but what a boring life you would have. Sitting in your barracks and eating galley food for year after year is not much of a life. If in the Navy and pull into ports, sitting on a ship while in port is not much of a life."

Kind of sums it all up.

With almost zero social life.

Sounds like a real fun time.
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Old 02-13-2014, 06:36 PM
Location: Port St. Lucie, FL
193 posts, read 300,282 times
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After my first four year hitch, I got out and went to college like my father wanted me to. I didn't do well and left at the end of one year. I got a job, bought a used car, and got a girl friend. Things didn't go well and I lost the girl, lost the job, and kept the car. I owed money for student loans, car payments, and loans from my father while I was in college. I decided to go back in the Navy.

I decided to go on a strict financial diet. I was E-5 over 4 at that time. I would often "standby" or take someone's duty (fire party assignment or other assignments) for $20.00, so they could leave the ship for the evening. Normally, one forth of the crew stays on board for fire duty, emergency get underway, etc. One evening a week I would drive out to a local bar and nurse one beer and play a few quarter games of pool for grins and giggles.

I read a lot and completed several correspondence courses while I continued to pay down my bills. This worked for me. On my first ship there was a Mexican American fellow, Moreno, from Texas, who stayed aboard and read a lot. He told me that he sent his pay check to his parents in Texas who were very poor.
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Old 02-14-2014, 04:36 PM
8,213 posts, read 6,709,917 times
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It is possible to save most of your pay. While I was stationed in Norfolk, I didn't even have a car. Their bus service was pretty good and the base had a shuttle bus service. Unfortunately, it's easy to spend money, especially if you take up drinking at the bars and night clubs. When I had a weekend off duty, I spent my time in a hotel room for some peace and quiet away from the ship. Back in 1990 when I joined, some guys opened up a checking and a saving account and designated how much of their pay to go in each account. Another option is to open up an IRA account and designate how much of your pay to go into the IRA account.
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Old 02-14-2014, 07:11 PM
Location: Richmond, VA
2,515 posts, read 4,151,881 times
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I knew a guy in the late 80s that put $300 a month into a savings account, and had since Basic. This was back when you could net as little as $500 a month as a junior enlisted, but he stuck with it and sent it to a savings account he had no easy access to, did his job well, and got promoted steadily, leaving the service after four years as an E-4.

He was very careful with his money, still drank beer and hung out, but didn't fritter it away and ate most of his meals in the mess hall.

When he ETSed, he had something like $14,000+ saved in ready cash to attend college on, plus the full GI Bill and college fund.

In those days, that was a small fortune for college.

I have no idea how academically inclined he was, but he certainly had a lot of common sense.
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Old 02-15-2014, 04:17 AM
4,111 posts, read 4,002,666 times
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If you can, get a part time job and bank your pay. That is what I did for years and it worked out well. I was always working so I had little time off to spend much, if anything. Good luck.
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Old 02-16-2014, 02:03 AM
Status: "welp, back to the hot" (set 18 days ago)
Location: Tucson, AZ
1,541 posts, read 1,766,538 times
Reputation: 3817
Become an officer!

You can still make money but at first it will be hard because pay is so low. Start out by saving $500/p mo. for the first 2 years. That's $12k

Then when your promoted to E-4 start saving $650/mo. for 2 years. Thats $15,600. Think about it that's already $27,600.

Then at E-5 bump it up to 1k per month. thats 12k per year. After 12 years of service you could have a cool $130k.

I was terrible with money as an airman, looking back I could have had so much, thankfully a wise old chief intervened and became my money mentor. From then on I did well.

Two incomes is better than one! Don't rush to get married, but don't discount the idea with the right person, it helps in every way imaginable.
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