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Old 10-06-2014, 11:35 AM   #1
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retired Military

Punched last year after 23 yrs. Doing contract work now. Plan to punch for real next fall just prior to age 50. Found this site while looking at some Doug Nordman stuff. Love the attitude of the posters on here. Lots of retired early and loving it. Wish me luck.

-Big Dawg-
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Old 10-06-2014, 11:41 AM   #2
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Retired with combined active & reserve 33 yrs (enlisted). Also recently retired federal employee. I have options & offers to do contract work, but I'm enjoying being retired so much, I just can't see it happening. Welcome to the board & best wishes to you!
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Old 10-06-2014, 01:32 PM   #3
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Thanks Marty. Glad to hear you are enjoying your time. I have a few other advantages; wife is retired active duty (21 yrs) and now a GS-13. I also get some disability. I umpire baseball and referee volleyball. Lots of hobbies. Both kids in college using our GI bill. Cashing out old home in Southern Cal for 6 figures next summer. In my line of work it is easy to take a year or two off then come back as a contractor. I told the wife I would do that if for some reason the ER didn't work as planned. I see so many people here at work who have no plan. Many are in their mid to late 50's with no plan. Really makes me scratch my head.
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Old 10-06-2014, 09:39 PM   #4
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Welcome to the forum!

There is lots of head-scratching here as we look at people with no plan. In the unlikely event that you run out of ideas for what to do there is the longest-running thread here: What did you do today? Reading that will keep you occupied for oh, a week or so. But it doesn't sound like you will need that.
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Old 10-07-2014, 07:33 AM   #5
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Thanks for the welcome Walt. I have some strange ideas about this thing called "work". I do it for one reason; to make money to pay my bills. Most people I meet go to work because that is what you do. Like eating lunch at midday because that is what people do. I don't do things because that is what people do. I do what I want and when I want to do it. Obviously things like driving on the right side of the road and obeying traffic laws and the such are things we have to do to preserve law and order. I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about eating an omelot and bacon at 1800 if I want to. Or having a burger for breakfast at 0700 if I want to.

It is refreshing to read all of the positive comments on this site. Thanks for having me.
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Old 10-07-2014, 02:13 PM   #6
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Congrats Bigdawg. Like you I had a notion of doing consulting after retirement, but enjoyed life as a "man of leisure" so much I could not pull the trigger and go back to the office.

The best luxury retirement gave me was choice...I'm still relatively busy, but what I do, how much I do and when I do it is pretty much my decision.

If I were advising you on your new status in life, I'd recommend you take advantage of opportunities to do things with family and don't be in a rush to commit yourself to a whole bunch things immediately. Be deliberate and carefully choose where you are going to spend your precious time and energy. There's plenty of worthy things to do.

Best of luck.
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Old 10-07-2014, 09:47 PM   #7
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Congrats, and thanks for your service. It sounds like you and your wife have nice pensions, a plan and the right attitude to enjoy being FIREd!
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Old 10-07-2014, 10:38 PM   #8
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I like the way you think. Too many people do things because "that's what everybody does." Plenty of independent thinkers here at this site.
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Old 10-07-2014, 11:13 PM   #9
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I like the way you think. Too many people do things because "that's what everybody does." Plenty of independent thinkers here at this site.
Er provides a way around being forced to follow some of these. For example go to restaurants between 2:30 and 5:00 pm when they are empty. Avoid rushhours also.
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Old 10-11-2014, 01:55 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Bigdawg View Post
Punched last year after 23 yrs. Doing contract work now. Plan to punch for real next fall just prior to age 50. Found this site while looking at some Doug Nordman stuff. Love the attitude of the posters on here. Lots of retired early and loving it. Wish me luck.
-Big Dawg-
Thanks! I'd wish you luck, but you've worked hard enough to not need it...
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Old 10-11-2014, 05:23 PM   #11
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Welcome Bigdawg, good luck and enjoy your freedom. I've only thought half-seriously about looking for post-retirement work twice in the last 16 months, and both times I procrastinated in the application process until the feeling went away.
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Old 10-11-2014, 07:57 PM   #12
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Welcome to the forum BigDawg! I retired from the military last year as well and ER'd at 44 years of age...although DW still works (active duty as well) and just submitted her retirement paperwork to retire next year. She is looking forward to her ER.
After retirement from the Army, I took my time to decide whether a bridge career would be right for me. I had a few offers (some would've forced me to relocate from Hawaii back to the mainland), but in the end, I decided to stay retired. Loving it!
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Old 10-13-2014, 08:20 PM   #13
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VG23. Very nice. My son is in the Corps now. I am trying to convince him to punch at 20 and never work again. I'm working the plan with him. He is starting off with 20% in his tsp now. I'm excited for him. Military pensions are nice. So few make it to 20 though
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Old 10-13-2014, 09:06 PM   #14
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Military pensions are nice. So few make it to 20 though
Yeah, I still kick myself now & then for not staying on active duty for 20. At least I did the 2nd best thing & immediately joined the Air Force Reserve (after 4 1/2 active), and then stuck around till they told me I was too old & had to go, lol. Total of 33 years including the active time. So....I'll start drawing an ok retirement check in about 3 years, but of course the best avenue would have to been to stick it out for the 20 & start getting paid right away at age 39. Hindsight, you know. Still...I had a good run & it all worked out.
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Old 10-13-2014, 11:01 PM   #15
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Congrats Bigdawg. I'm 40 and will be retiring from the Air Force effective 31 December...although, I start terminal in a little less than a month, so...yes, I can't wait. After a horrible first marriage and some money snafus, I wised up...and by being quite diligent with my money, I will be completely free of the man. I debated getting a j=b after the AF, but really have no reason to. Life is simply way too short to spend it at wo+k!

Sent from my mobile device so please excuse grammatical errors.
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Old 10-14-2014, 12:11 AM   #16
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My son is in the Corps now. I am trying to convince him to punch at 20 and never work again. I'm working the plan with him. He is starting off with 20% in his tsp now. I'm excited for him. Military pensions are nice. So few make it to 20 though
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Originally Posted by martyb View Post
Yeah, I still kick myself now & then for not staying on active duty for 20. At least I did the 2nd best thing & immediately joined the Air Force Reserve (after 4 1/2 active), and then stuck around till they told me I was too old & had to go, lol. Total of 33 years including the active time.
I wish I had better data on how many servicemembers make it to 20 years, but two references are "America's Military Population" (from 2004) and the DoD Actuary's annual report on retirees.

If any of you have better reference than these, then I'd love to see the links.

Here's what "America's Military Population" says:
http://www.prb.org/Source/ACF1396.pdf
Quote:
In 1993, after 20 years of the all volunteer military, the retirement figure reached 15% of separations, showing that while the volunteer force became more career-oriented than the conscription-era force, the great majority of volunteer force personnel did not make the military a long-term career.
The percentage of personnel staying until retirement varies greatly by branch of service, reflecting the differential premium placed on youth. The ground combat forces have placed a premium on youth and vigor, and the Marine Corps in particular discourages long-term service. The typical Marine generally leaves after completing a single enlistment contract of three to four years. The Air Force, on the other hand, invests heavily in technical training and seeks to retain personnel to increase the return on its investment. The Air Force is more career-oriented, and between 20 percent and 30 percent of separations have been retirements since the 1980s.
I've read elsewhere that today's overall military retirement rate is 17%. The Marine Corps retirement rate is as low as 8% and the Air Force as high as 30%, with the Army and Navy in the teens.

The DoD Actuary's annual report has tons of fascinating data, however it doesn't address the percentage of each year's recruits who stay for at least 20 years.
http://actuary.defense.gov/Portals/1..._2013_July.pdf
But if you have an hour or two of free time, the demographics and ages and dollar figures are compelling reading.
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Old 10-14-2014, 12:16 AM   #17
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Congrats to you! 2 weeks till retirement with 25 yrs in the AF behind me. All on course except the house I'm building won't be complete for eight months! Oh well. Here is to good health and new adventures as a civilian. This site is a great resource as I have been on an emotional rollercoaster but feel far more positive now. Just need to get household goods back to my home of record without half the stuff getting broken.
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Old 10-14-2014, 05:43 AM   #18
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I will have to spend some time and digest all of that good info. I have a good friend who is at 23.5 right now. He is a Mustang Major. He is maxing out his TSP and has three rental properties. He put together a 30 plus slide presentation that he periodically gives to various units. He may sign my son up as a test case to see if an enlisted guy with only 20 can make it to be a millionaire. He currently has over 250K in his TSP at age 41. He wants to punch right at 30 and never work again. Personally I think he needs to start putting his money in taxable accounts. His TSP will grow to over a million over the next 19 years. He will need to fund about 10-11 years before his TSP hits at 59.5. All good stuff. I think so many military folks could do so much better with a little planning.
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Old 10-14-2014, 07:00 AM   #19
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44 years combined service (retired Navy) between my wife and I. Both of us still working. My wife is also a GS-13 and I work for a military contractor. Last child has 1 year of college left and then the fun begins!

Mike
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Old 10-14-2014, 07:14 AM   #20
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Retired @ 20 years USAF; DW, will retire in 11 months, 32 years (Active and ANG), also GS-9 with 25 years. I got laid off into retirement from IT j*b at the end of 2013 and just waiting on DW to get her time in.
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