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Old 09-06-2009, 01:18 PM   #21
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An E7 with 20 years makes less than 4K per month. His pension will be less than 27K per year. I don't think that's a 'great pension plan' at all. An E9 is the only enlisted rank that comes out pretty well, and even their salary and pensions pale to those of officers.

I've never understood why anyone desirous of a military career would be anything other than an officer. It just doesn't make financial sense to remain an NCO. And nowadays, a good number are also college educated.

These disparities were a major reason why I got out after my first enlistment and never looked back.
After my first enlistment, I looked at going officer. The only way I wanted to be an officer was a Supply Officer in the Navy. When I couldn't be guaranteed that anything other than LDO could get me there, I decided I would instead strive for being an Navy Chief Petty Officer. I can tell you being a Navy Chief was not a bad decision! The fraternity is more than any money is worth! Plus, the pension is pretty good.
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Old 09-06-2009, 01:27 PM   #22
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Starting at age 38, COLA'd for life with lifetime health insurance? That doesn't sound too bad to me.
Sounds a lot better than the alternatives!
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Old 09-06-2009, 02:27 PM   #23
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An E7 with 20 years makes less than 4K per month. His pension will be less than 27K per year. I don't think that's a 'great pension plan' at all. An E9 is the only enlisted rank that comes out pretty well, and even their salary and pensions pale to those of officers.
Well, back in the day, the scam was to do 20, get discharged with the COLA'd half-pay and lifetime medical, and turn around and work for a contractor who, being off the hook for benefits, would kick in a bit extra on the paycheck. I saw more than one senior/master chief walk off the boat, and reappear two weeks later as a supervisor for a shipyard contractor.

Some also wandered off and turned into GS-6 or GS-7 government employees. "You're doing it wrong."
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Old 09-06-2009, 03:23 PM   #24
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I think I know where you're going with this, but it totally discounts the unanticipated expenses that today's military member (officer or enlisted) accepts as expected. These include tours as a geo-bachelor (very typical today, two households, one BAH), moves at a ridiculous frequency (like annually), ten month tours, cost of private schools (there are some school districts today not worthy of animals), and lifestyles of junior enlisteds (their expectations) that are beyond belief.

I think the true believers don't need your spreadsheet, the skeptical won't believe it, and most won't care. Just my cynicism (as I pass two years retired active duty, and one year past my GS-13 penance at a DoD school).

Now, the Post 9/11 GI Bill you gotta push. Here in my state, full ride at the state University and over 1600$ a month in my pocket for housing. If I never use the degree, I'm getting paid $400 a week to go to school. Too many of us aren't planning to use it.
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Old 09-06-2009, 05:07 PM   #25
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I think I know where you're going with this, but it totally discounts the unanticipated expenses that today's military member (officer or enlisted) accepts as expected. These include tours as a geo-bachelor (very typical today, two households, one BAH), moves at a ridiculous frequency (like annually), ten month tours, cost of private schools (there are some school districts today not worthy of animals), and lifestyles of junior enlisteds (their expectations) that are beyond belief.

I think the true believers don't need your spreadsheet, the skeptical won't believe it, and most won't care. Just my cynicism (as I pass two years retired active duty, and one year past my GS-13 penance at a DoD school).

Now, the Post 9/11 GI Bill you gotta push. Here in my state, full ride at the state University and over 1600$ a month in my pocket for housing. If I never use the degree, I'm getting paid $400 a week to go to school. Too many of us aren't planning to use it.
I am sticking with the MGIB for now to use on a Master's Degree.

I can take an 8 week class online and while I pay $825/class and average $100 for books, I will be getting $1026/month. So I will be taking home around $600/mo in my pocket. I like the flexibility of online courses, plus I can still umpire and work at the golf course making around $600/mo working part time.

I still have 34 months and 8 days of benefits remaining.
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Old 09-06-2009, 06:56 PM   #26
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Starting at age 38, COLA'd for life with lifetime health insurance? That doesn't sound too bad to me.
compared with what is available in the private sector, it's ok, but not great, considering how low base pay is--although with trends in the American workplace being what they are, it comes off in a better light.

compared with the benefits of the officer corps, it is a pittance.

I don't knock the military at all for being able to retire after 20 years. I was in the military myself for four years active duty. It's a hard life. Most enlisted guys I knew near retirement age when I was in were in pretty sorry shape both physically and mentally. They paid a pretty steep price for that $1600 a month.
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Old 09-06-2009, 11:52 PM   #27
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I think the true believers don't need your spreadsheet, the skeptical won't believe it, and most won't care. Just my cynicism (as I pass two years retired active duty, and one year past my GS-13 penance at a DoD school).
It may be cynical but it's not misplaced. There are guys on SailorBob.com and RiggedForDive.com who remain convinced that their personal inflation will be 8-10% for the rest of their lives. And if they don't work, then how will they ever get time off from their families?

OTOH I think there are some future true believers out there who are still hoping that there's more to life than 20 years in the military and another 20-30 in CIVPAC...

Good thing I'm not trying to write for profit.
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Old 09-07-2009, 07:38 AM   #28
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Nords, you might consider something similar for a reservist. Assume 6 years active and then 14 years reserves. Save 25% of drill pay - one drill per month.

Reserves was great for me. I would be stuck at my local nuke plant if I didn't have the security of the reserve pension. That enabled me to jump ship to a new industry with much better development opportunities. Although it is hard to believe that I'm still drilling in my 50s.
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Old 09-07-2009, 11:29 AM   #29
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Nords, you might consider something similar for a reservist. Assume 6 years active and then 14 years reserves. Save 25% of drill pay - one drill per month.
Good suggestion-- thanks. It's on the "To-Do" list.

Waiting to hear back from Nolo now. I get the impression that the entire industry grinds to a halt in August.
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