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Old 01-14-2012, 11:46 AM   #61
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However, if you become a contractor, your hours become 8 to 5. Unless you step in in a crisis and you work a ton of overtime. In which case you get paid for it (at straight time rates), AND you will find that it is much more tolerable. That is often the case for me as an engineer.
Of course, that also often means someone needs to have their health insurance lined up elsewhere, since one of the tradeoffs of contracting is usually the loss of benefits. For a military retiree who put in their 20 that won't be a showstopper, but for a lot of other folks it could be.
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Old 01-27-2012, 06:44 AM   #62
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Morning all...been a while since I've posted, but have been reading the threads every morning with my coffee.

I'm excited on 2 events today:

1) we're almost thru our first month of living off my projected retirement check...and we're still $542 in the black w/ 4 days to go...whew!

2) just booked my retirement dream vacation for the month after I start terminal leave...a 12-day Mediterannean cruise to Spain, France, Italy, Greece and Turkey...I'm so excited!

On the budgeting, it's somewhat of a relief to find we can adjust our lifestyle to LBYM for day-to-day living. And that includes our housing costs.

On the cruise, as one of my hobbies is being a "gaming enthusiast," I got an offer for a free cruise for 2 people...and just had to pay taxes/fees/costs for bringing our 2 kids with us. Total for 12 days of touring the Med on a cruise ship for 4 people, $2,706!

Wife & I are flying to NC in a few weeks to do an initial house hunting trip to narrow down the areas we think we'd like.

The fear factor of leaving the military in 17 mos is rapidly fading, I'm really thinking this is going to work.
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Old 01-27-2012, 09:00 PM   #63
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Of course, that also often means someone needs to have their health insurance lined up elsewhere, since one of the tradeoffs of contracting is usually the loss of benefits. For a military retiree who put in their 20 that won't be a showstopper, but for a lot of other folks it could be.
True. But maybe not always.

My agency offered health insurance, at a price. Also, my wife worked and had good health insurance for the family. At the time, we could get private health insurance, but did not. Can't now.
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Old 01-27-2012, 09:04 PM   #64
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The fear factor of leaving the military in 17 mos is rapidly fading, I'm really thinking this is going to work.
Visualizing the transition and planning makes a big difference! The fear factor is common with people who have had one career.

You will do fine.

Cheers.
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Old 01-28-2012, 04:33 AM   #65
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True. But maybe not always.

My agency offered health insurance, at a price. Also, my wife worked and had good health insurance for the family. At the time, we could get private health insurance, but did not. Can't now.
Please bear with me, my DW and I both retired Army, get health insurance through our current employers. However, don't you always have access to TriCare if you retired?
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Old 01-28-2012, 10:01 AM   #66
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1) we're almost thru our first month of living off my projected retirement check...and we're still $542 in the black w/ 4 days to go...whew!

On the budgeting, it's somewhat of a relief to find we can adjust our lifestyle to LBYM for day-to-day living. And that includes our housing costs.


The fear factor of leaving the military in 17 mos is rapidly fading, I'm really thinking this is going to work.
A few months of seeing that on average you can stay in the black is great confirmation. I am sure you have some depth so if you are over a little every now and then you can adjust it out. Besides you have a lot of capability and you can always pick up a little extra on a short term basis if needed.

Things will become much clearer as the fog of work lifts.

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Old 01-28-2012, 10:03 AM   #67
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However, don't you always have access to TriCare if you retired?
Can you expand on this statement?

We use TRICARE only and have had no issues. Of course I am happy to pay my co-pay and go where ever I want as to not have to mess with the MTFs.

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Old 01-28-2012, 11:23 AM   #68
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I'm excited on 2 events today:
1) we're almost thru our first month of living off my projected retirement check...and we're still $542 in the black w/ 4 days to go...whew!
2) just booked my retirement dream vacation for the month after I start terminal leave...a 12-day Mediterannean cruise to Spain, France, Italy, Greece and Turkey...I'm so excited!
The fear factor of leaving the military in 17 mos is rapidly fading, I'm really thinking this is going to work.
Looks like it's all gonna work out fine...

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Please bear with me, my DW and I both retired Army, get health insurance through our current employers. However, don't you always have access to TriCare if you retired?
You have access to Tricare if you're retired military. Ed's referring to the vagaries of civilian insurance selection issues.

While you'll always have access to Tricare, the rates will continue to rise over the coming years. However I'm not complaining about the rates-- the cost is still far cheaper than civilian retiree insurance.

Medicare, Tricare For Life, Medigap insurance, and Congress | Military Retirement & Financial Independence
The military drawdown and benefits cuts | Military Retirement & Financial Independence
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Old 02-07-2012, 06:30 AM   #69
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Morning to all. Officially, the family finished Jan living on my projected retired pay and still had $111.00 left over...woo-hoo :-) Found we spent more on food and eating out so we're eyeing that for Feb. The Airman & Family Readiness Center on base is having a lunch time speaker from the VA coming in next week to teach about your VA benefits and how to file claims. I'm already signed up!

Wife has been researching nursing jobs in NC...don't think she's going to have anyyyy trouble finding work in that field! ;-)
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Old 02-07-2012, 11:09 PM   #70
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Morning to all. Officially, the family finished Jan living on my projected retired pay and still had $111.00 left over...woo-hoo :-) Found we spent more on food and eating out so we're eyeing that for Feb. The Airman & Family Readiness Center on base is having a lunch time speaker from the VA coming in next week to teach about your VA benefits and how to file claims. I'm already signed up!
Wife has been researching nursing jobs in NC...don't think she's going to have anyyyy trouble finding work in that field! ;-)
Thanks for the update!

You'll have to let us know how the VA works out. I've been meaning to turn myself in to our local VA for some minor disability assessment but it's always seemed busy up there with wounded warriors.

Judging from the blog's e-mails and "Contact me" forms, you have a number of lurkers here who have been following your progress and hoping to emulate the same in a few years. Keep us posted!
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Old 03-23-2012, 07:03 AM   #71
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Morning all...been a while since I've posted, but have been reading the threads every morning with my coffee.

Wife & I are flying to NC in a few weeks to do an initial house hunting trip to narrow down the areas we think we'd like.

The fear factor of leaving the military in 17 mos is rapidly fading, I'm really thinking this is going to work.
Morning again, folks...a lot has been going. Reference the quote above about going back to NC to scout out areas...well, that turned into us signing a contract on a house to be built later this year, yikes! Won't bore you with all the detailes, but after looking at approx 30 houses/various neighborhoods over 2 days, we found 1 sales model that we had seen online and just happened to be driving by on our way to another neighborhood. We stopped in on a whim, I knew it was the house I wanted the moment I walked into the kitchen! Builder rep calls 2 days later while I'm TDY and offers several incentives if I could close before the end of this year so they can close out Phase I and begin Phase II next year. I countered and they accepted!

So, the family is definitely committed now! Will mean carrying the mortgage for 5 mos sooner than I had planned, so I need to update my budget forecast this weekend, but does not appear to put a significant dent in things.

Already had my first "job offer" from an old boss who's formed his own beltway bandit company. Wants me to keep in touch and he gives me 6 mos after retirement before I'm climbing the walls. Now I have a goal to prove him wrong! I really want to go 1 yr without working to de-stress, de-program, let my wife re=enter the workforce/nursing.

15 mos to go!
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Old 03-24-2012, 08:33 AM   #72
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Was somewhat rushed yesterday morning as there were a couple of additional thoughts I wanted to add. Did I mention my mom came with us house hunting? She was a good sport in keeping up with our pace, but she asked me several times, "so what are you going to do for a job?" When I explained to her how we've been practicing living off my projected retirement pay and that I don't necessarily expect to need to work, she retorted, "well, I just think you need to have a job, you're too young!" Ahhh, will be so good to be back near family, won't it?!

Have been studying the DIY channels/videos on how to build an outdoor patio, grow fruit-bearing trees, finish a third floor attic, put in wainscotting (sp?), properly fertilize & grow a lawn, stain concrete driveway, and researched culinary classes in the area where we'll be moving in NC...gee, what WILL I do all day?? :-)
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Old 03-24-2012, 11:43 AM   #73
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You might mention to your mom that you did more work in your army career than most people do in a lifetime. If I remember the recruiting ad correctly we did more before 10AM than most people did all day. People just cannot understand that with a reasonable income and strong LBYM mentality it is very possible to reach FI and RE.
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Old 04-04-2012, 12:35 PM   #74
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Join the Foreign Service! Lots of ex-mils in the dip corps these days.

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Was somewhat rushed yesterday morning as there were a couple of additional thoughts I wanted to add. Did I mention my mom came with us house hunting? She was a good sport in keeping up with our pace, but she asked me several times, "so what are you going to do for a job?" When I explained to her how we've been practicing living off my projected retirement pay and that I don't necessarily expect to need to work, she retorted, "well, I just think you need to have a job, you're too young!" Ahhh, will be so good to be back near family, won't it?!

Have been studying the DIY channels/videos on how to build an outdoor patio, grow fruit-bearing trees, finish a third floor attic, put in wainscotting (sp?), properly fertilize & grow a lawn, stain concrete driveway, and researched culinary classes in the area where we'll be moving in NC...gee, what WILL I do all day?? :-)
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Old 04-30-2012, 07:49 PM   #75
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Evening all. Been researching VA Disability Rating calculations and trying to figure out "how the sausage is made" as far as computing your overall rating. From my research and my known, documented "delayed discrepancies" as we say in aircraft maintenance community, I estimate a disability rating of between 60% to 80%. I am scheduled for a sleep study later this week to test for sleep apnea. I never considered that I may have it until I went in for an annual health assessment (annual, right! I don't think I've been for about 4 yrs!). My answers to the sleep questions caused the Dr to dig a little further and schedule me for the study. If you are diagnosed w/ severe apnea, it's a 50% disability. But, from what I've read, the VA takes your highest disability rating like this 50% and then if your next rating/ailment is, say, 30%, VA then takes 30% of your remaining "good" 50% left after your first rating. Make sense?

So, I have 6 conditions I'm under regular care for w/out the sleep issues. I never knew I was in such bad shape!!

Fortunately, I have a large term life insurance policy already in effect as I understand rates are higher if you get diagnosed w/ apnea because it puts you at higher risk for heart attacks down the road...joy.

Hung out some Navy friends last weekend. He's an O-5 retiring in June. As we drank good bourbon and chatted about our retirements (mine's 14 mos away). He looked at me and said, "wow, you've really thought about all of this and have done some serious planning. I've only gotten as far as I'm retiring and need to go get a job."

Have I said THANK YOU to you folks on this board, lately?? ;-)
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Old 04-30-2012, 08:13 PM   #76
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Hung out some Navy friends last weekend. He's an O-5 retiring in June. As we drank good bourbon and chatted about our retirements (mine's 14 mos away). He looked at me and said, "wow, you've really thought about all of this and have done some serious planning. I've only gotten as far as I'm retiring and need to go get a job."
Have I said THANK YOU to you folks on this board, lately?? ;-)
Tell him that he needs to check in with one of us...
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:51 PM   #77
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Thx to Nord's book, I realized I had to re-calculate my projected retirement pay to be the average of the last 36 mos pay vs just the avg of the last 3 years pay rates--meaning I went back 36 actual months from my projected retirement date and averaged it out. It ended up coming out approx $1,100 yr lower than just averaging the pay rate for my final 3 yrs. Thx Nords!
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Old 05-05-2012, 09:32 PM   #78
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Our base starts a big inspection on Monday. We've been preparing for months. Yesterday before going home, some of my folks were stopping in my office saying, "Don't worry Boss, we're ready." A smile came across my face...I'm not worried because I know my folks have been ready every day they're on the job--and the fact that this is the last major inspection I'll have to go through before retiring next Summer!!!!!!!! Sweet!
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Old 05-06-2012, 04:17 AM   #79
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Thx to Nord's book, I realized I had to re-calculate my projected retirement pay to be the average of the last 36 mos pay vs just the avg of the last 3 years pay rates--meaning I went back 36 actual months from my projected retirement date and averaged it out. It ended up coming out approx $1,100 yr lower than just averaging the pay rate for my final 3 yrs. Thx Nords!
You're welcome!

I believe you can still fill out a request for DFAS to calculate your pension (hopefully using the same technique) to verify your monthly amount. For example, I think they truncate their final result to the lower dollar amount. Of course that request is best done when DFAS can estimate the pay scale in the year of your retirement, so the confirmation happens pretty late in the game.

I'm one of the last of the "Final Pay" dinosaurs. When the January 2002 pay tables were released (before I retired on 1 June), O-4 pay had been boosted across the board with a retention-incentive "targeted pay raise" of 5.6%. Of course their target was really O-4s with 10-14 years of service, and they could've restricted that to O-4s with less than 18 years of service or some other gimmick, but for some reason they applied it to the whole rank. This meant that my pension was boosted by 5.6% just before I retired (and for the rest of my life). That's my own little pension spiking, so I can understand the push to a High Three system. But it sure complicates things.

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... and the fact that this is the last major inspection I'll have to go through before retiring next Summer!!!!!!!! Sweet!
It's a great feeling!
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Old 06-24-2012, 08:42 PM   #80
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Been a while since I posted, so figured it's time to update on where I am wrt retirement process. Been an emotional roller coaster, lately.

First, unofficially, I am now less than 1 year from my last duty day o/a 7 Jun 13!!! Holy crap, this is really going to happen, isn't it?? I am both soooooo excited and anxious at the same time.

Went to NC last week to finalize plans/details w/ the builder. I didn't know I'd get asked so many questions like what carpet, paint color, grilling deck?, tile for the bath floor, tile for shower, how about downstairs, appliances selection, where do you want outlets? (knew that one--beer fridge in garage gets it's own outlet, baby!) stain for the hardwood floors, lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

The saying, whne one door closes, another door opens came true. My best friend's mother passed while we were there. I've known this woman since her son and I were in third grade, got him through high school (learned not to cover my tests as he sat next to me!), college roomates, pilot training together until I washed out, still visit each other regularly, etc. I was relieved at her passing as she was in declining health in a nursing home. I mention this event because earlier in the week I was going through "Sr Officer'itis" we'll call it. It was finally hitting me that I would be just another family member at our monthly dinner gatherings (I'm 1 of 7 kids, we all have families so our gatherings are 20-30 people) and not "The Colonel." Instead, I'll now be "hey, empty the garbage and bring me another plate for the chicken" guy. I'll no longer be in charge, and nobody will be making coffe for me. I'll be living back in my home town for the first time in 29 years where people don't give a d*mn what I used to do, what large unit I used to lead, or what rank I used to be.

So, as I realized that this is all trivial and the fact that I am dealing with it now vs after I retire, was made even more trivial by my best friend's mom passing. Reality check of what's really important and what's just an illusion of power/influence when you're in uniform.

The silver lining, I got to see my best friend who came in from DC, and 2 of my old high school buddies that I ran around with, but haven't kept in touch. Gotta tell ya', God was telling me, "Pete, it's OK, I have a plan for you and you're old friends are here for you...see?" Damn, He outfoxed me again! It was such a wonderfulr & fulfilling feeling to see my old friends again. They are excited about me moving back and already talking about re-starting our old high school poker group, teaching me how to fish & hunt (I am from NC, mind you), etc. My best friend also said he and his wife, she's also active duty, will probably be moving back next year after she retires. He's a Reservist, so he can commute for his tours. All to say, I am not as scared as I was 3 weeks ago.

I am a little surprised at myself for getting anxious about losing my title. rank, and identity initially. You folks on this board prepared me for it, I told myself I was ready for it. But, I guess confronting it by being back home last week made it jump from concept to actual reality and it gave me a brief jolt. Glad to report I'm good now. Been researching attic home theater rooms today and I am pumped to get started on it next Summer!

Now that I'm actually less than 1 year away from my last duty day, I'm going to schedule the wife and I for TAPS in Sept or Oct. Game on, folks!

Thanks for listening to me and my emotional babble...I know I can do this!

Pete
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