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Take winnings or fight another round?
Old 11-11-2006, 10:20 AM   #1
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Take winnings or fight another round?

I was almost 39 when I crossed into new territory. Iíd been setting myself up for it since age 18. From the start the plan was: enlist, balance enjoying life with making it better, earn a degree, earn a commission, keep pushing to 20 years (retirement eligibility), and then live more of the life I want and less of the life I must in order to make it possible. At the 20 year mark a promotion was incentive to stay at least 3 more years (pension = % of average pay in highest 3 paid years). It was easy to accept because it coincided with an assignment MUCH more conducive to family life.

During a long vacation prior to the new assignment, I began to think (too much maybe) about what I was working toward. Previously the future was mostly the next big career goal. Early retirement was always an ultimate goal. But it was a distant horizon, vaguely defined as a happy time of options, freedom, and greater control over personal circumstances. Iíd carried a rough idea that after the military Iíd find a job doing something I liked, in a place that I liked, during hours that I liked, and, because of the pension, be more interested in low stress than high pay. But as the possibility of pursuing it arrived, I realized that such a job probably does not exist for me. Even for self employment revolving around an activity I enjoy, when I think of the details that would make it profitable, they suck the enjoyment out the activity. I donít aspire to a friction free life, but employment is infused with too many Dilbertesque irritants, funny in the comic strip, bearable when they must be, but a poor choice for a man that has a choice.

I realized that my best route to greater options, freedom, and control over circumstances is not to seek some nicer line of work. Itís to stick with this career as long as I can stand it and maximize the pension. My wife says I should not accept any more hardship duties and she assures me weíve got enough already. Iím skeptical, but she runs the household finances (I just earn the money) so she must know better. She advises me to get more while the getting is good, but to get out as soon as itís not. From here, it looks like a relatively smooth ride to the next fork in the road and after all that Iíve been through to get here, Iím neither embarrassed nor ashamed to take it. That fork will see me aged 43 and facing a choice;

Option 1: Retire with a $45.5K pension (in todayís dollars and inflation-protected Ė as are the figures below) plus some other benefits, including a decent medical deal.

Option 2: Accept another assignment. I can state my preferences but they can easily be disregarded. Possible assignments they could offer range from OK to extraordinarily not-OK (I suppose ďgoodĒ is also possible but I donít expect it). Unless the schedule changes, Iíll have to accept a new assignment and move just months before the date I expect to know the promotion board results that will tell me if it was worth it. If I am promoted, Iíll be able to look forward to a pension a little over $60K at age 47. If not, Iíll have already accepted a new assignment and therefore still be committed to serving 2 years during which Iíll be on the hook to accept whatever raw deal may come my way (and some of the deals can be very raw indeed). After the 2 year commitment Iíll be free to retire with a $49K pension at age 45. I could continue without promotion until age 48 for a $55K pension. But I canít imagine now what would motivate me to do so.

Option two probably looks like the no-brainer best choice to an outsider. But there is a fair chance that I wonít be promoted and a good chance that Iíll be back to doing dirty and dangerous work far from home for very long periods. Iíve been there and done that. The promise of increasing my pension by over $15K for 4 years service might make it worthwhile to do it again. But itíd be a hard sell to convince me (or my family) that itíd be worth it for a just $4K increase (and a passed-over-for-promotion slap in the face) over 2 possibly miserable years. At my familyís current stage of growth, itíll be harder than ever. When I first married it was tough balancing my ambition to do things with my responsibility and desire to be with my family. Now itís no contest; family wins. My current assignment is (somewhat justifiably in my opinion) not known for enhancing oneís promotion potential. Iím not out playing hero and Iím not so good at playing the ingratiation game necessary to stand out here. So I estimate (very imprecisely) my odds of promotion at 30% to 40%.

I expect itíll be a tough decision when this assignment ends and Iím offered the option of accepting another. Sometimes I worry about it too much and try to stop by reminding myself occasionally that Iím in a very good position relative to many. But then again many fail themselves at every opportunity and being better off than they are is irrelevant. On this forum I read posts from people who have not failed themselves. They are an inspiration. Thank you all for that. Iím happy for you, but you are also a maddening reminder of how good it could be but is not quite yet. Itís not just that I want out; weíve got big plans that weíre very excited to get started on. But more money could put those plans on a more solid footing. I donít know how much further Iíll go but I know Iím almost there. Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel is comforting but also makes me impatient.
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Re: Take winnings or fight another round?
Old 11-11-2006, 10:32 AM   #2
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Re: Take winnings or fight another round?

I am speaking as a wife, take the current pension and make a plan for the rest of your life.

You are young enough for a second career if you choose, there may even be scholorship money available to prepare for another profession or upgrade your current skills.

Even in private industry many feel obligated to go where directed, but you can always decline. Not in the military.

Military folks, is there any chance that he may be recalled after retiring? What happens then?
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Re: Take winnings or fight another round?
Old 11-11-2006, 11:03 AM   #3
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Re: Take winnings or fight another round?

Some say the first 20 years are for the Service and the last 10 years are for you. Having said that I was 38 (enlisted at 17) when I made the decision to retire. I did much of what you seem to have done got the BS degree, got the officer status (Warrant Officer), reached the highest grade I could at the time (there were no W5's then). My decision was based on that and additionally I wanted to do the best for my family and that, IMO, was not heading overseas again by myself, or unnecessarily uprooting the family to head for Europe. Got out at 21 years and never looked back, glad I did but you may want to consider all of your factors very closely before you decide -- maybe see what the next assignment is going to be?
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Re: Take winnings or fight another round?
Old 11-11-2006, 11:41 AM   #4
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Re: Take winnings or fight another round?

I agree with Brat. 4 yrs in the right private sector opportunity can more than offset upping for another 4 yrs. You are entering your max earnings potential and would be entering the private world with an ideal start of a resume. I've owned mutliple businesses and individuals like you are ideal hires. Private companies are very willing to invest in training people like yourself.

I know the unkown of private sector can be scarely. But it's probably nothing compared to what you've already experienced.

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Re: Take winnings or fight another round?
Old 11-11-2006, 12:10 PM   #5
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Re: Take winnings or fight another round?

Joe,

As you know, once you accept the promotion, the service owns you and you can anticipate being a hole-filler for the assignment system. The hole probably won't be in a nice spot.

I agree with your assessment: You can buy a lifetime of freedom and enhanced QOL by sticking it out for a few more years. Just realize that this will ALWAYS be the case, by this reasoning you'll retire when Uncle Sam throws you out.

I retired a couple of years ago from the USAF. My daughter is in high school, and I wanted to see her a little more than I had for the previous 16 years. It was a good decision for me and for my family, though it certainly wasn't the best move from a financial perspective.

Two thoughts:
- Plot your "retirement pay vs time remaining," and do one graph with and one without being promoted (don't forget to include the expected delay from promotion announcement to pin-on). Look for a bend in the graph that may indicate when your benefit for each additional month begins to level out.

- Consider the idea of part time, short-term, or consulting work after you retire doing work like something you especially enjoyed during your career. This has worked well for me. It has allowed me to keep my hand in the game and also to fund some things that might have dinged the nest egg if I wasn't working.

Samclem

PS. I dropped you a PM

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Re: Take winnings or fight another round?
Old 11-11-2006, 01:43 PM   #6
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Re: Take winnings or fight another round?

My knowledge of the military is pretty miniscule, and this may seem like a stupid question....but are there any chances of taking a leave of absence (1year-2 years) from the military? Relax. Spend time with your family. Send out a few resumes to private employers just to see what kind of reception you get. If you don't get any nibbles, reconsider going back to the military in 1-2 years. (Or, once you leave, can you never come back to where you were before?)

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Re: Take winnings or fight another round?
Old 11-11-2006, 02:46 PM   #7
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Re: Take winnings or fight another round?

If it were my husband, I'd want him to avoid dangerous, lonely duty at this stage of the game. Do you have any savings or retirement accounts in addition to the pension? Knowing that you could repair the roof or replace the car with savings makes a pension "feel" bigger, I think.

And Joe--you sound above-average to me!
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Re: Take winnings or fight another round?
Old 11-11-2006, 07:17 PM   #8
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Re: Take winnings or fight another round?

Joe:

Can you live on the $45k pension you would be entitled to now?

Do you have other things you'd like to do in life besides work?

If the answer to both is "yes" it seems like a no-brainer to me.
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Re: Take winnings or fight another round?
Old 11-12-2006, 12:01 PM   #9
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Re: Take winnings or fight another round?

Quote:
Originally Posted by astromeria
And Joe--you sound above-average to me!
I second that.

I have no idea what your expenses are. I do know that I would extremely pleased if I can retire today with a COLA 45.5K year pension, AND medical benefit, even if I have ZERO saving. Isn't that the equivalent of 1.14 million?

Whatever route you choose to take, you are in better financial shape than most people are. Congratulations.




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Re: Take winnings or fight another round?
Old 11-12-2006, 04:43 PM   #10
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Re: Take winnings or fight another round?

Don't let your family worry about you another year if you have even the most remote of chances of working finances out with your plan 1.
That's just my personal opinion.
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Re: Take winnings or fight another round?
Old 11-12-2006, 07:37 PM   #11
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Re: Take winnings or fight another round?

To me, the no-brainer is Option 1. That could always be supplemented with part time work once you find something you really enjoy for ~15 hrs a week. You may well find that you will want to continue to be doing something at the tender age of 43.
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Re: Take winnings or fight another round?
Old 11-12-2006, 08:17 PM   #12
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Re: Take winnings or fight another round?

The Forum has voted: #1. Of course this is only our opinion and it is based on what we think to be your family's self interest.

From the POV of the Nation, if you choose #2 we will be thankfull for your continuing contribution to our nation.

To you I raise my glass!!!
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Re: Take winnings or fight another round?
Old 11-12-2006, 08:30 PM   #13
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Re: Take winnings or fight another round?

I have seen quite a few officers retire from the military in their 40s and it seems like there is a big difference in retiring at 43 (closer to 40) and retiring at 48 (closer to 50). Like another poster said, you will have plenty of job options at 43. The closer you get to 50 the more age discrimination seems to be a factor. You should be able to land a decent paying, low stress job, and combined with your pension, be taking home at least 50% more than you were in the service. Save all the extra cash for a few years and then retire for good...
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Re: Take winnings or fight another round?
Old 11-12-2006, 10:45 PM   #14
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Re: Take winnings or fight another round?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Average Joe
Itís to stick with this career as long as I can stand it and maximize the pension. My wife says I should not accept any more hardship duties and she assures me weíve got enough already. Iím skeptical, but she runs the household finances (I just earn the money) so she must know better. She advises me to get more while the getting is good, but to get out as soon as itís not.
Option 1: Retire with a $45.5K pension (in todayís dollars and inflation-protected Ė as are the figures below) plus some other benefits, including a decent medical deal.
Option 2: Accept another assignment. I can state my preferences but they can easily be disregarded.
Iíll have to accept a new assignment and move just months before the date I expect to know the promotion board results that will tell me if it was worth it.
But there is a fair chance that I wonít be promoted and a good chance that Iíll be back to doing dirty and dangerous work far from home for very long periods. Iíve been there and done that. The promise of increasing my pension by over $15K for 4 years service might make it worthwhile to do it again. But itíd be a hard sell to convince me (or my family) that itíd be worth it for a just $4K increase (and a passed-over-for-promotion slap in the face) over 2 possibly miserable years. At my familyís current stage of growth, itíll be harder than ever. Now itís no contest; family wins. My current assignment is (somewhat justifiably in my opinion) not known for enhancing oneís promotion potential. Iím not out playing hero and Iím not so good at playing the ingratiation game necessary to stand out here. So I estimate (very imprecisely) my odds of promotion at 30% to 40%.
Welcome to the board, Joe. I think you're going to have to drop the "Average" or substitute "Outstanding!"

I retired over four years ago from the submarine force on a 20-year O-4 pension. COLAs have boosted that to $36K/year (2007 dollars) and it's more than enough for our lifestyle. Spouse is still drilling in the Reserves and we have enough savings to bridge the gap to her pension.

You know more about Option #1 than we do-- the critical number is your annual expenses. Tricare won't put much of a dent in your wallet but you're presumably working on a mortgage or college funds-- or all of the above. Have you plugged your pension & expenses into FIRECalc? How's your success rate?

As for the amount of the pension, I'd go now. You already have the time in grade and you're just killing time between longevity raises & COLAs. You may already be nearing your final longevity raise?

As for deciding between retiring and taking another set of orders, I wouldn't try that with your assignment officer. They've seen that gambit hundreds of times before and you will not win that game. They'll know that you're taking it one tour at a time instead of aggressively attacking flag rank, and they'll start out by offering you the nastiest most career-enhancing jobs they can find in order to make you get off the fence.

I don't know if this rule is still on the books, but in the Navy's Officer Transfer Manual if you've discussed PCS orders with your detailer and subsequently file a retirement request, your request may be disapproved. If you're at PRD but have not yet accepted PCS orders or been issued retirement orders, then the detailer is allowed to issue PCS orders with a two-year minimum activity tour. And if you ship your family on those orders then you may also be nailed by a three-year area tour requirement.

I can't imagine why the detailers would change the Navy system, so you need to make your personal decision before you talk to your assignment officer. Either submit your retirement request as far in advance as you're allowed to submit it, or call them up and slobber all over the phone for a horrible great set of orders to a challenging & career-enhancing job. But don't shop the hot-fill billets list and threaten to retire if you're not happy-- they won't play that game.

As for the possible promotion in Option 2, you've done a great job of convincing me that you shouldn't count on it. (I did the same type of career-adverse duty for nearly eight years before I retired.) The risks of losing are far more painful than the joys of running up the score. You've already won the game and there's no reason to risk disaster. If/when you're passed over someone will decide that they're going to take personal interest in "getting you healthy" for your second look, which at a minimum will include longer working hours and possibly even a multi-month TAD assignment to some desert opportunity to stand out.

You've already mentioned the fundamental conflict-- career vs. family. I got out as soon as I could choose and you should too. You'll avoid all the bad military stuff by doing so, and the worst that will happen is you'll get a part-time civilian job your spouse could decide to rejoin the workforce!

My opinion is somewhat biased. Our 14-year-old daughter and I just got back from a tae kwon do tournament in Maui, something we've been preparing for eight months and exactly the type of quality family time that we wouldn't have been able to arrange if I was still on active duty.

C'mon in. The water's fine...

Quote:
Originally Posted by MooreBonds
My knowledge of the military is pretty miniscule, and this may seem like a stupid question....but are there any chances of taking a leave of absence (1year-2 years) from the military? Relax. Spend time with your family. Send out a few resumes to private employers just to see what kind of reception you get. If you don't get any nibbles, reconsider going back to the military in 1-2 years. (Or, once you leave, can you never come back to where you were before?)
It's not a stupid question, but you're trying to apply logic to a military situation.

The program has been talked about for years but has never really worked out. Special skills may help but it depends on the personalities and the situations. The Air Force allows a form of returning after retirement and I know one (only one) Marine who returned to active duty from his retirement. Of course he was a military/civilian expert at building electrical power grids. His first act on the job was to fly to Fallujah and show his well-armed fellow Marines how to take down the grid before he spent the next few months putting it back together again...

What's worked best is retiring the minute you're eligible, taking the time off in the fashion you mention, and then-- only if you really miss that stuff or want to boost your portfolio's success rate-- considering military contractor work.
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Re: Take winnings or fight another round?
Old 11-12-2006, 11:00 PM   #15
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Re: Take winnings or fight another round?

"Option two probably looks like the no-brainer best choice to an outsider. But there is a fair chance that I wonít be promoted and a good chance that Iíll be back to doing dirty and dangerous work far from home for very long periods. Iíve been there and done that. The promise of increasing my pension by over $15K for 4 years service might make it worthwhile to do it again. But itíd be a hard sell to convince me (or my family) that itíd be worth it "
-------------------------------------------------------------
I'm an outsider (I didn't serve in the military) and I would like the first option the best. The above quote is what sold me on it. It sounds like you would have to choose character over comfort. That is and will be scary; but I don't see a good motive (other than financial) for staying in the service in your forum post. Besides, you will probably be ahead financially five years down the road. Doing something "dirty and dangerous" with a "fair chance I won't get promoted" when you're not convinced "that itíd be worth it " pretty much makes #2 look undesirable. Best wishes from an outsider!


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Re: Take winnings or fight another round?
Old 11-24-2006, 07:31 AM   #16
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Re: Take winnings or fight another round?

Thanks all for sharing your thoughts. Iím surprised how many were sure option 1 was better. Moorebondsís sabbatical idea sounded very interesting I bet that would be a wonderful life experience. But we donít do that.

Regarding being ďnot averageĒ Ė I never aspired to greatness, just happiness. And Iíll probably never know if we could keep up with the Jonesís because weíre not headed in the same direction. Anyway, around this forum my situation does not stand out as spectacular or even especially noteworthy. Look at the poster in a different thread who was wondering if he could get by on 200K annually for the rest of his life. I see that and wonder if the guy is real or posing for some inexplicable reason. As for me, I donít need to be fabulously wealthy to achieve my dreams. I do need to be well-funded but what I want to do will require as much time and energy as is does money. From where I am now, I could work toward becoming wealthy but I just donít think I can afford it unless it can be done in about 5 years.

Samclem,
Thanks for the PM and the welcome. I tried replying via PM but apparently I can receive but not send PMs. I really appreciate your sharing your experience. Iíd have been surprised at hearing of such a decision a few years ago. But lately Iíve seen friends make similar choices. None are sorry. Iíve been referred and encouraged to sign on with a couple outfits. Still I persist. I used to know prior-enlisted officers whoíd been in service longer than I. Iím sure there still must be some out there, but I donít them. The bend in my graph is coming up soon and gains will look pretty modest until promotion. But I have a year and a half until this assignment ends - and I mostly like this assignment. Itís the next assignment thatís bugs me.

Previously Iíve almost always been excited about the next assignment, always had something I was eager to take on next, and enjoyed a good success rate for making the cut to do what it was I hoped to. But now the lifestyle I really look forward to is incompatible with being on active duty (or any other normal employment). However there is no terrible hurry to start that, yet. We figure we should probably start no earlier than 2, maybe 3, years from now, and no later than 6 years from now. Essentially, Iíve got time for one more assignment after this one ends (and since I could be promoted early in that assignment, it could make for a significant increase in pension). But since I no longer have a list of assignments (or even one assignment) that Iíd be excited to take on next, instead of working to make the next career move happen Iím waiting for it to happen to me. Previous next assignments looked like adventures. I donít have that feeling any more.

As you say we can always hang on for more until we reach the point where once again we can hang on for more. As long as long youíre a winner they keep a carrot dangling to distract you from other things you might be missing. I see some guys straining unhappily to reach the next rung and think to myself, ďif I were in his shoes, Iíd be gone.Ē The test of whether thatís true may come in a little over a year.

Nords,
As you guessed, I soon pass 3 years in grade and Iíve already seen my last TIS raise so further service isnít a great financial decision unless I get promoted. However, despite all my complaining about the next (not even known yet) assignment, I like my present situation and my primary duty here is worth doing. This assignment has been great for my family. The location is too high and too far from the equator. But we enjoy around 11 meals a week together (which doesnít tell the whole story but I think youíll understand what a great QOL indicator that is). When time to move comes Iíll have three concurrent countdowns running; 6 months or less until promotion board decides, 18 months or less until Iím promoted (if promoted), and 4 years until itíll be high time to act on our post-service plans. At that point a really bad assignment could make the choice for me; no go. A not-too-bad assignment will be very tempting, especially with promotion just over the horizon. I may be overly pessimistic about promotion. If I were on the promotion board, what I do now would impress me as impressive, but not necessarily as indicative of potential to serve in the next higher grade. But my bossís bossís opinion, and couple recent concrete indicators suggest that I still rate well enough to make the grade. (I know Ė you are now shaking your head and saying ďthe poor idiot is taking the bait.Ē Ė well I sort of am Ė but I wonít have to actually step into the trap for another year or so.)

So, like Old Army Guy suggested (BE PATIENT! Ė ok he didnít put it that way, but thatís the way Iím putting it to myself) and wait till next assignment drops.
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Re: Take winnings or fight another round?
Old 11-24-2006, 09:06 AM   #17
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Re: Take winnings or fight another round?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Average Joe
I tried replying via PM but apparently I can receive but not send PMs.
Sorry, you can send PMs when you reach 10 posts. The board's PM software was hacked a few months ago (the notorious gay Asian porn spam incident) and this limit was necessary to stop the hacker.

Dory, BMJ, does the 10-post limit still need to be in effect, or did the upgrade/server change render the limit unecessary?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Average Joe
If I were on the promotion board, what I do now would impress me as impressive, but not necessarily as indicative of potential to serve in the next higher grade. But my bossís bossís opinion, and couple recent concrete indicators suggest that I still rate well enough to make the grade. (I know Ė you are now shaking your head and saying ďthe poor idiot is taking the bait.Ē Ė well I sort of am Ė but I wonít have to actually step into the trap for another year or so.)
I've been there. I was up for O-5 selection five times, though only the first two mattered. Spouse was also in a similar situation that resulted in her resignation.

You've identified all the issues and made the correct conclusions but it doesn't appear that you believe yourself yet. Maybe you'll promote, maybe not. It's a matter of whether you're willing to risk all the "maybe not" impacts in hope of the marginal gains of getting more money from winning the selection lottery. There is risk because as you've pointed out, the rules change at the higher ranks and it's more how you lead the team than how you do in your own projects. Most investors aren't willing to risk the downside when there's not much upside.

That's especially critical when the upside can be achieved by other means. From the financial & family perspectives you don't really need active duty anymore. Guys like Samclem are trying to nudge you toward considering the many other revenue alternatives that will pop up when you file for retirement. (If you need them.) I didn't seek a job when I retired (I didn't even write a rťsumť) but I had half a dozen civil-service & contractor offers if I'd wanted to work. You will too.

Whether or not you leave at the end of this tour, you need to be very familiar with the assignment officer's personnel rules. You can talk all you want (they will too) but they have to issue orders and make quota for their own bosses-- whether they're sympathetic to your situation is irrelevant when it comes to filling billets. You need to know when the deadline is to stop discussing the next tour and file for retirement. Otherwise you'll be filling those 24-month orders whether you promote or not.

Spouse's last active-duty assignment was considered a swamp quiet backwater where she could extend to retirement. When she unexpectedly promoted (no one more suprised than her), she was told to pull up roots for new career-enhancing opportunities. The whole idea of leaving Hawaii was totally unacceptable to us but we tried to work ourselves up to it while she spent 18 months haggling with her assignment officers (#2 took over for #1 after the first year). Both assignment officers understood her concerns but it was clear that their new policy was coming straight from the top. It got pretty ugly near the end and one night, deep in the personnel manual, we realized that there was a clause allowing the assignment officer to issue orders if she reached the current tour's rotation date. That deadline was 72 hours away (and on a weekend). She submitted her resignation only 24 hours before that deadline and his reaction was pretty much "Aw, geez, you caught me, I had these orders ready to transmit tomorrow. Well, OK, so how about this other option instead?" (Her CO's reaction was "Wow, they can do that?!?") The assignment officer's subsequent behavior (and her chain of command) convinced us both that she'd made the right choice. Resigning just short of the 18-year point cost her an estimated $750K in pay & pension benefits but getting her life back was priceless.

It's only money, but it's the only quality of life you'll ever get. You may have more choices than you think, but they may not involve staying on active duty.
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Re: Take winnings or fight another round?
Old 11-24-2006, 05:47 PM   #18
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Re: Take winnings or fight another round?

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I tried replying via PM but apparently I can receive but not send PMs.
OK, Joe, PMs have been turned back on for all posters regardless of post count. You should be able to send one now!
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Re: Take winnings or fight another round?
Old 11-26-2006, 01:54 PM   #19
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Re: Take winnings or fight another round?

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It's only money, but it's the only quality of life you'll ever get. You may have more choices than you think, but they may not involve staying on active duty.
Thereís a forest nearby where I often walk. Itís mostly one species of tree and because the area was harvested and replanted years ago, the larger ones are of nearly uniform size and shape, save a few. Those few are much older and larger than the others. They donít conform to the expected shape, one great trunk growing straight up. Instead, their trunks twist and bifurcate. Theyíre beautiful trees, but unsuitable for the purposes of those who harvested their cohort years ago. They continue for their own purposes while their cohort has become lumber or pulp.

You've definitely pointed all the key issues. As you say the decisionís deadline is the key - I need to make sure that if I get a raw deal it's because I consciously decided to leave myself open to that possibility and not because I failed to know what I should know.
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Re: Take winnings or fight another round?
Old 11-26-2006, 07:39 PM   #20
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Re: Take winnings or fight another round?

My father bailed out after 20 years because he "didn't want to get sent back to Vietnam." He had to take another job and has a smaller pension today than he otherwise would have had.

Speaking as his daughter I can say that I was very happy to have him home every night from there on out, vs missing him for a year at a time at regular intervals. I was glad that we were able to settle in one place, vs traveling every few years, when and where the Air Force saw fit.

When he reached 55 he bailed on the Teamsters, and has enjoyed 20 carefree years of life since then. He hasn't been rich, but he's been HERE.

That's my point of view, and his wife, three other children, and ten grandchildren agree with me. HIS view is that he's enjoyed much more time with family than he otherwise would have, that the extra risk and stress were not worth a few extra dollars, and that he wouldn't change a thing.

Speaking not as a daughter now, but as a potential retiree myself, if I had the pension you have under option 1, I'd leave skid marks I'd be outta there so fast.
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