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Old 04-04-2011, 03:16 PM
 
Location: Tempe, AZ
74 posts, read 243,554 times
Reputation: 63

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I'll try to keep this concise. My husband is transitioning out of the Army and into the National Guard. We're looking at a move in August and have 2 (soon to be 3) children. He's currently an intelligence officer with a 4 year degree in politics and several years of experience under his belt, also has a TS/SCI without a polygraph. I'm a SAHM.

He's currently in the final stages of interviewing with BAH. The pay is considerably lower than what we were hoping (around $80K) and to me it doesn't seem realistic to be able to live in the NOVA/DC area on that salary. It's only slightly higher than what he makes now, which doesn't compensate for additional expenses of civilian life not to mention the higher COL for that area. Staying in the military is not an option for reasons beyond our control.

Is that what we can expect for salary in that area given his experience and education?
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Old 04-04-2011, 03:32 PM
 
Location: Virginia-Shenandoah Valley
6,583 posts, read 10,892,507 times
Reputation: 5608
The employers have the upper hand right now. With the economy the way it is and all the people unemployed they can pick and choose. They know if he doesn't take it then someone else will. It can suck. Best of luck to you.
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Old 04-04-2011, 03:36 PM
 
Location: East Coast
6 posts, read 12,136 times
Reputation: 12
How many years of experience does he have? Also, yes, I don't know how a family of 4 (or 5) could live comfortably in this area on $80k, but it all depends on your expenses. Where are you coming from? Where would you be interested in living? I personally don't know that many families around here with only one income, and those that do are making more than 6 figures.

Does he have any other interviews lined up? BAH is a great company, but there are plenty of fish in the sea so to speak. He could also try a smaller consulting firm which might pay more, especially given his clearance.
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Old 04-04-2011, 03:50 PM
 
Location: Orange Hunt Estates, W. Springfield
628 posts, read 1,726,994 times
Reputation: 231
You don't cite his rank or years of experience in the Army. But let's assume he's a captain or major. $80k is equivalent to a mid-range GS-13 in the government pay scale. IMO that would be a good offer from a DoD government agency. While I don't have any hard knowledge of how a contractor's offer would compare, I don't judge a comparable offer to be out of hand. However, not long ago standard thinking was that an active TS/SCI was a valued commodity in the DC intel contractor world and would command better-than-govt pay. With talk of budget cuts, contracting would likely be impacted, so perhaps firms are easing back their offers some. I'm retired now a few years from working DoD intel, so I may not be the best to characterize the current state of affairs. I'm sure you will get some more current info from posters. WRT how a family can live here on $80k, it depends on many factors (e.g., selling or buying a home, renting, savings, life style, potential commute, required number of vehicles). With his Guard pay, it can be done with sacrifices.
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Old 04-04-2011, 03:51 PM
 
Location: Tempe, AZ
74 posts, read 243,554 times
Reputation: 63
I expected as much with the way the economy is. I'm just trying to determine the best possible route at this point. He's applied for 10 jobs and heard back from one. Looking for more on a daily basis. Again, not surprised.

He has 3 years of active duty service. We're moving from the South, we're Northerners originally. Hence the reason we'd like to stay on the East coast to be closer to family, but I have no problem moving elsewhere if we can afford to live there. Given our current expenses, we either need to live in a lower COL area in a concentrated intelligence community or (after doing the math) he needs to make approximately $115K to make the equivalent of what he does in the military.
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Old 04-04-2011, 03:53 PM
 
19,183 posts, read 28,378,130 times
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Even with a full-scope poly, the TS/SCI doesn't carry nearly the weight that it did three or four years ago. Federal consulting and contracting in general have been cut back considerably and that doesn't look to be changing soon. A lot of people who were recently in six-figure slots are willing to take that $80-85K now just so they have an income. That said, the median household income in the area is around $100K, so half the people here are getting by on less than that. It can be done.
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Old 04-04-2011, 04:06 PM
 
Location: Tempe, AZ
74 posts, read 243,554 times
Reputation: 63
I've heard the TS/SCI doesn't carry much weight anymore. Lots more veterans entering the job market.

Having to enter the civilian job world was sprung on us rather recently, so we're working within the constraints of that to find a realistic option.

We won't be buying or selling a home. We have two vehicles. We both have student loans. Very little in the way of credit card debt. Current monthly expenses are $1800 a month not including food and gas. We live in military housing so the expense is different from that of a civilian.
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Old 04-04-2011, 04:08 PM
 
Location: Tempe, AZ
74 posts, read 243,554 times
Reputation: 63
I'm also trying to be vague for privacy purposes
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Old 04-04-2011, 04:46 PM
 
10,606 posts, read 12,137,039 times
Reputation: 6500
Three years experience in the military is not really much. I thought that maybe he was coming out with 20.

I think for 3 years of "relevant" experience, $80K is not bad at all. The problem is, you have *almost* 3 children. Many people in your husband's position, taking an $80K job have graduated from college, finishing up their first job and jumping to the second job and maybe they are married. If they weren't in the military, they could not have been doing what you've been able to do and that is afford to have a family. I hope this isn't sounding harsh because I don't mean it to be, it's just the reality in this area with that little experience.

Having said all that, once he gets his first job here and he proves to be good at what he does, your salary can increase pretty quickly if you are on a good contract.

$80K is doable if you are frugal and you will definitely need to live farther out from the job than you may want but we all have to start somewhere.
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Old 04-04-2011, 05:14 PM
 
19,183 posts, read 28,378,130 times
Reputation: 4002
Quote:
Originally Posted by MommaKD View Post
I've heard the TS/SCI doesn't carry much weight anymore. Lots more veterans entering the job market.
Well, it still carries plenty of weight. Just not as much as it would with a full-scope poly behind it, and not as much as it did three or four years ago. Back then with the poly, you could pretty much write your own ticket. People now by contrast are settling more often than selecting. There are periodic jobs fairs around the area just for applicants with clearances. Might be a way to rub some elbows, maybe make a contact or two, and just get a feel for what it's like out there at the moment. .

Quote:
Originally Posted by MommaKD View Post
Having to enter the civilian job world was sprung on us rather recently, so we're working within the constraints of that to find a realistic option. We won't be buying or selling a home. We have two vehicles. We both have student loans. Very little in the way of credit card debt. Current monthly expenses are $1800 a month not including food and gas. We live in military housing so the expense is different from that of a civilian.
That's not a terrible situation. Federal and state taxes will probably get about 25% of your $80K, but $60K is still $5K per month to divvy up between everything else. Kids of course are very efficient creators of costs, so you might have to mind those nickels and dimes for a while, but I would think you could live a stable though not luxurious lifestyle within those limits. As DH moves up and if you could go to at least P/T work as the kids get into school, you'd be right in the thick of things, financially.
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