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22 sailor and want to retire by 40
Old 06-07-2008, 12:19 AM   #1
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22 sailor and want to retire by 40

I'm 22 years old and I've been an E3 in the Navy since January 2007 (promotion coming up in 2 months! ). I can retire when I'm 40 and get a retirement, which seems like a really good deal. Around $30k a year for the rest of your life just for doing 20 years in the military. That will be in addition to the money that I'll have saved. I've got $22k saved after being in the military for a year and a half so far. $8k of that is from the enlistment bonus.

All of my peers blow their entire paychecks every month. I tell them that they should save if they don't want to work for the rest of their lives, but I guess they just think that it's too far away to bother with saving for retirement just yet. They buy things like Xboxes, video games, movies, etc. All those things are going to be worthless in a few years and they will have nothing to show for their money. I guarantee that they will regret wasting their money in a few years when they realize they need to start saving for retirement, but it's hard to tell people that and have them believe you. I guess some people just have the ability to exercise self control over their finances and others don't.
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Old 06-07-2008, 12:41 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum, Sax....

I am a Chief Petty Officer and will be retiring in 6 months (with 20 years, 7 months) at just over 40 years old. I wish I had your head start! I am doing okay..no bills, no dependents (divorced, but will be starting a new marriage next year), but could have been better off.

I will tell you this...make sure you max out your TSP and throw it in the L2040. If only they had that when I was a youngster! Also, do whatever you can do to earn your Bachelors while on Active Duty and use TA. Save your GI Bill for when you get out or if you have to use Top-Up.

My plan right now is to retire and go back to school and finish my Bachelor's and see if a Master's in on the horizon.

As of right now, I don't plan on going back to work full-time for awhile, if at all. I might do some part time work doing WHAT I WANT TO DO!!!!

Good Luck and Keep at it!!!
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Old 06-07-2008, 06:20 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by saxquiz View Post
I'm 22 years old and I've been an E3 in the Navy since January 2007 (promotion coming up in 2 months! ). I can retire when I'm 40 and get a retirement, which seems like a really good deal. Around $30k a year for the rest of your life just for doing 20 years in the military. That will be in addition to the money that I'll have saved. I've got $22k saved after being in the military for a year and a half so far. $8k of that is from the enlistment bonus.

All of my peers blow their entire paychecks every month. I tell them that they should save if they don't want to work for the rest of their lives, but I guess they just think that it's too far away to bother with saving for retirement just yet. They buy things like Xboxes, video games, movies, etc. All those things are going to be worthless in a few years and they will have nothing to show for their money. I guarantee that they will regret wasting their money in a few years when they realize they need to start saving for retirement, but it's hard to tell people that and have them believe you. I guess some people just have the ability to exercise self control over their finances and others don't.
Hello Saxquiz,

Welcome to the board! Glad to hear you are thinking along these lines. Can't talk specific navy issues as I am sure others can but I was once in your shoes. A young E-3 17 yrs old jumping out of planes for the Army. Watched all my buddies drink their paycheck and bad mouththe military. They would always borow $$ right before payday. Everytime I got a raise or promotion I saved 1/2.

It was during this time that I got to thinking about maybe wanting to make the military a career and I thought about being able to retire at 40 with 1/2 my base pay. I also wanted to find some way to make up the other 1/2 and retire with what I was making when I got out. I didn't have a clue how to do it. At the time Al Gore hadn't invented the interent and I could find no like minded people. So I plugged along.

Then it came time to reenlist at 21 line number to E6 and 4 yrs under my belt.. I looked at what an E6 made compared to a 2Lt. $1000 difference a month for the 2Lt. initially and a huge difference at retirement between E & Os. I looked at what I would make with the GI Bill and College fund plus reserves vs what my base pay would be as an E-6. $100 more as an E-6. It wasn't worth it to stay and miss the college opportunity. So I punched and went to college. Commissioned in the AF 3 yrs later and the rest is history with 18 yrs in. My enlisted time was very impressionable on me and I look back on it fondly.

Today with TSP things are much better. I wish we would have had it when I first started. Save and invest what you can, but don't forget to smell the roses along the way and take advantage of everything the Navy has to offer.

My philosophy was if someone told me no ask someone else. Someone had to go to the schools, take those assignments, etc so why not me. Of course I volunteered for everyting I could, took jobs no one else wanted, and did my best.

Sounds like you are well on your way whether you stay for 20+ or your current committment.

Tomcat98
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Old 06-10-2008, 05:25 PM   #4
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I can retire when I'm 40 and get a retirement, which seems like a really good deal. Around $30k a year for the rest of your life just for doing 20 years in the military.
If you like your job (your post doesn't say), it is indeed a good deal. If not, maybe it's not so great.

Generally speaking, money is not the prime reason why people tend to serve in the military. If you're reasonably intelligent, and willing to work hard, you could probably earn considerably more as a civilian: that opportunity cost should be factored in (then again, part of the extra income would be taxed away and you'd never see it).

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Originally Posted by saxquiz View Post
All of my peers blow their entire paychecks every month. I tell them that they should save if they don't want to work for the rest of their lives, but I guess they just think that it's too far away to bother with saving for retirement just yet. They buy things like Xboxes, video games, movies, etc. All those things are going to be worthless in a few years and they will have nothing to show for their money. I guarantee that they will regret wasting their money in a few years when they realize they need to start saving for retirement, but it's hard to tell people that and have them believe you. I guess some people just have the ability to exercise self control over their finances and others don't.
That's typical of most single 20 year olds. Try not to be too judgmental, and just do your own thing. In most cases, trying to convert others to frugality will merely result in frustration on your part and hostility / resentment on theirs.
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Old 06-10-2008, 08:15 PM   #5
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Sax, welcome,

You will find a lot of good information on this forum. There are also many retired and a few active military. I am retired from the Hooligan's Navy as a SCPO. My son chose the O route and is in the AF. The military can be a good place with the proper mind set.
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Old 06-13-2008, 10:48 PM   #6
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Boxkicker, Hey, Chief. I plan to max out my TSP. For the last few months I've put 70% of my paycheck in there. I lived off $300/month for the last 2 months. I changed the allotment back to 30% though because I didn't want to put too much in. I'm not sure what happens if you put more than you're allowed to in there. Do they penalize you or just not let you do it?

Tomcat, Did you take college classes while working full time or was there some kind of program that you qualified for that let you take time off to go to college full time? I've been thinking about getting my Bachelors degree. I have enough credits for an AA, but I've been learning Arabic at DLI for a year now and haven't had much time to take college classes. I hear that I'd need to get a math or science degree to be competitive for an officer position.

Milton, I like the job so far. It's just been going to school to learn Arabic. I graduate in a month and a half and go to Ft. Gordon, GA, so I'll see if I like doing the job when it's not just school.

I don't criticize the guys who waste their money. I personally get more joy from saving money and building up a nest egg than spending my money on things, but I guess most people get a lot of joy out of spending and buying all they can.

Packrat, Yes, Senior Chief, this forum is great and there do seem to be a lot of military here. I guess a lot of military people have their heads screwed on straight after all. =)
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Old 06-14-2008, 08:26 PM   #7
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I've been thinking about getting my Bachelors degree. I have enough credits for an AA, but I've been learning Arabic at DLI for a year now and haven't had much time to take college classes. I hear that I'd need to get a math or science degree to be competitive for an officer position.

Milton, I like the job so far. It's just been going to school to learn Arabic. I graduate in a month and a half and go to Ft. Gordon, GA, so I'll see if I like doing the job when it's not just school.

I don't criticize the guys who waste their money. I personally get more joy from saving money and building up a nest egg than spending my money on things, but I guess most people get a lot of joy out of spending and buying all they can.
Saxquiz: From reading your initial post, you are a very smart young person. I'm retired from the Navy and, actually, from the same small part of the Navy you will be joining when you finish at DLI and go to Ft. Gordon. That particular segment of the Navy has always done an excellent job of giving warrant officer/LDO oportunities to the enlisted folks who shine. I would still encourage you to finish your bachelors degree however you can. But the road to a commission doesn't have to go through college and if you can apply to one of those programs, I encourage you to do so. Also, be advised that there are a certain number of appointments to the Naval Academy available every year to "the Fleet" (of which you are part even if you're going to an Army base.)

The downside of you're getting a commission/appointment to the Academy is that your specialty will be in great demand for years to come. They will want to keep as many of you linguists as possible doing the nitty-gritty work.

Best of luck to you.
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Old 06-14-2008, 08:51 PM   #8
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Friar, what you say makes sense. Why would they want to make someone that they just spent 1.5 years training in Arabic an officer. They'll just have to train someone else to replace him. I guess the only thing you can do is give it a try and see.
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Old 06-15-2008, 12:39 AM   #9
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Welcome to the board, Sax.

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I'm not sure what happens if you put more than you're allowed to in there. Do they penalize you or just not let you do it?
We went through this with spouse's Reserve pay last year when she finally hit the limit. The TSP computers will kick in after DFAS exceeds $15,500. Your LES will show a "too much" allotment sent over to the TSP and the following month's LES will show a refund from the TSP. After that your LES won't show any TSP contributions until the next calendar year.

You can leave your percentage at whatever you desire year-round. (We leave spouse's at 92% and another 7.45% goes to FICA.) The percentage is overridden by the $15,500 limit but next January your chosen percentage will kick right back in.

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Tomcat, Did you take college classes while working full time or was there some kind of program that you qualified for that let you take time off to go to college full time? I've been thinking about getting my Bachelors degree. I have enough credits for an AA, but I've been learning Arabic at DLI for a year now and haven't had much time to take college classes. I hear that I'd need to get a math or science degree to be competitive for an officer position.
Some prefer full-time on the GI bill (out of the service) or a service academy/ROTC, others prefer PACE (afloat), still others prefer shore duty where you can attend regular classes. Training commands are very good at getting their instructors into the college groove but you can also do a lot when you're sitting around in the desert waiting for the next event. I served with a Navy diver who was selected for Seaman-To-Admiral but had to wait five years after commissioning before he was sent to college for his degree-- but he finished a lot of it at the training command while he waited. He even managed to get promoted to LCDR with only one "observed" lieutenant FITREP.

Go get your degree any way that suits you. Even if you're just taking one course a semester, if you're interested then you should try to do it (and apply for the tuition assistance). You may be more competitive for commissioning if your degree is in rocket science or nuclear engineering, but only if the program actually interests you & motivates you to get the degree. So chase down the degree that makes you happy, get a bachelor's, and let the selection boards worry whether that's good enough for them. If they couldn't take you even with a degree that motivated you then you didn't want to join that community anyway!

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It's just been going to school to learn Arabic. I graduate in a month and a half and go to Ft. Gordon, GA, so I'll see if I like doing the job when it's not just school.
Ahhhh, DLI. Monterey was the best duty station we ever had, and we lived in fear of the detailer discovering what we were up to.

The 1980s DLI students used to work out in the NPS gym wearing t-shirts that said on the front in smaller letters: "We're learning Russian" and on the back: "SO THAT YOU DON"T HAVE TO!"

Hope you've made the most of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Tinnery Restaurant, Wills Fargo, and every Chinese restaurant between Cannery Row & Seaside. That stuff might be a little hard to come by at Fort Gordon.

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Friar, what you say makes sense. Why would they want to make someone that they just spent 1.5 years training in Arabic an officer. They'll just have to train someone else to replace him. I guess the only thing you can do is give it a try and see.
I attended USNA with a guy who'd spent two years at a listening post eavesdropping on the Red Chinese ordering pizza. When a PRC PLAN officer visited USNA and was dining with the mids, George went up to the head table and started a conversation in Mandarin-- then switched to Cantonese. The interpreter later said he'd told the PLAN officer that all the mids studied those languages "just in case". Made a big impression.

Guys who can learn an intel language are just as valuable as officers as they are enlisted-- especially when no one on the other side expects officers to know those languages. The ability to learn a language indicates that you might also just possibly be capable of absorbing the academic, professional, and leadership training necessary for commissioning-- so your language skills may make you more attractive to a commissioning program.

Get any degree you want in any manner you can, and obtain the commission from any source that motivates you. If you decide to attend a service academy, though, make sure you're interested in repeating recruit training for an entire 52 weeks. You may discover that your fleet experience has drastically lowered your tolerance for USNA's spit & polish...
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Old 06-15-2008, 12:59 AM   #10
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[i]

Saxquiz: From reading your initial post, you are a very smart young person. I'm retired from the Navy and, actually, from the same small part of the Navy you will be joining when you finish at DLI and go to Ft. Gordon. That particular segment of the Navy has always done an excellent job of giving warrant officer/LDO oportunities to the enlisted folks who shine. I would still encourage you to finish your bachelors degree however you can. But the road to a commission doesn't have to go through college and if you can apply to one of those programs, I encourage you to do so. Also, be advised that there are a certain number of appointments to the Naval Academy available every year to "the Fleet" (of which you are part even if you're going to an Army base.)

The downside of you're getting a commission/appointment to the Academy is that your specialty will be in great demand for years to come. They will want to keep as many of you linguists as possible doing the nitty-gritty work.

Best of luck to you.
Friar,

Were you a linquist or another Brancher? My brother was a "I" Brancher (Russian & Serbo/Croation). He got out 3-4 years ago.

Erik
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Old 06-15-2008, 01:13 AM   #11
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Very informative, Nords. With that knowledge I guess I'll change my TSP allotment back to what it was at.

Quote:
The 1980s DLI students used to work out in the NPS gym wearing t-shirts that said on the front in smaller letters: "We're learning Russian" and on the back: "SO THAT YOU DON"T HAVE TO!"
It made sense in the framework of the cold war I'm sure, but now they have shirts like that for all the languages taught here. Even Hebrew. Like the Israelis are going to take over the US and make us learn their language. I guess the Arabic one works though.

I agree with you that Monterey is a really nice place. It drives me crazy when people here complain about the weather. I love it. The fog and all. It's the nicest place I've lived thus far and the only place I've lived that you don't have to have air conditioning or heaters. I actually haven't been to the aquarium yet, but when my parents come for graduation I plan on it. It's supposed to be the best in the US from what I hear.
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Old 06-15-2008, 02:42 AM   #12
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Sax,
...Have at least some fun there in Moterey. Fun will be a LOT harder to come by in Augusta. I spent 20.5 years flying in the army and I have known Officers in all the services with an unbelievable variety of college degrees. A degree in Nuclear Engineering would probably put you on the fast track. ANY other degree would be about as good another. If you are going to spend the time in the military you may as well spend it with as much rank (and pay) as possible.
Jeff
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Old 06-15-2008, 10:20 AM   #13
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Tomcat, Did you take college classes while working full time or was there some kind of program that you qualified for that let you take time off to go to college full time? I've been thinking about getting my Bachelors degree. I have enough credits for an AA, but I've been learning Arabic at DLI for a year now and haven't had much time to take college classes. I hear that I'd need to get a math or science degree to be competitive for an officer position.
I was able to get two classes while on AD, but it was hard with always being in the field or deployed. I think if you want a scholarship math/science has more options. My degree is Business Administration. We are still commissioning people with all kinds of degrees. So what you like and the rest will work out. I also think there are some enlisted to Officer formal transition programs, but I am not that familar. Mine was a clean break then ROTC. Used the GI Bil and College fund and turned down the scholarship because at the time you lost your GI Bill. More lucrative to use it for me.

Tomcat98
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Old 06-19-2008, 09:42 AM   #14
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Friar, what you say makes sense. Why would they want to make someone that they just spent 1.5 years training in Arabic an officer. They'll just have to train someone else to replace him. I guess the only thing you can do is give it a try and see.
There are officer linguists also. I went to DLI as a LTJG/LT and used my language. You won't be eligible to apply for Warrant/LDO until you have a couple of tours and are more senior (don't know what you have to be these days - probably at least E-6 for LDO and maybe even E-7 for Warrant.) The Navy needs officers to supervise and manage other linguists, especially officers who have "been there, done that." Officers are also used in capacities you will eventually learn about but which can't be discussed here.
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Old 06-19-2008, 09:46 AM   #15
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Friar,

Were you a linquist or another Brancher? My brother was a "I" Brancher (Russian & Serbo/Croation). He got out 3-4 years ago.

Erik
I was a "90 day wonder" who ended up spending 28 years on active duty. I used my language extensively for one tour after DLI. After that, not so much.

Had I gone the enlisted route out of high school, I'm sure I would have been attracted to the language training and likely would have tried to become an "I" Brancher as I had always liked/done well in languages. However, I have to admit the intensity of Russian at DLI kicked my butt.
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