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For military folks: flight, sub, combat, special pays
Old 07-17-2009, 03:30 PM   #1
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For military folks: flight, sub, combat, special pays

For you military folks:

How disciplined are (were) you when it comes to your flight, submarine, combat or other special pays? (I rarely got any of those, so I pretty much lived (and saved) from my base pay plus allowances.) But I always thought that if I had been a pilot, submariner or other type that routinely earned extra pay, I would try to save/invest that on the theory that if other folks could get along without those pays, I could too. But I know that the pressure is great (or used to be), for example, for pilots to have fast cars, etc. How well did you deal with that sort of thing if you earned those special pays?
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Old 07-17-2009, 06:38 PM   #2
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well, sorry can't help you much there, since I was Drafted in 68' and The Little $ we got then, was gone in a few weeks.. And we weren't Not Interested in Staying in after our Tours either..LOL

Of corse I had a Nice stash of about $5k , waiting for me when I got Home since I hooked up with other guys that got out in 6 mo increments ahead of me and sent them things that they sold and I got my cut they held for me.

I would guess if your a "Lifer" it's a different ball game..especially if have a family on base..and the Wife works as well.

I wonder what the Base pay from 68' for Army compares to what it is now? With Inflation I would assume it's still quite a bit more than we ever got..
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Old 07-17-2009, 07:00 PM   #3
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I got no special pay, so I don't have any firsthand experience. From my discussions with pilot friends, it appears that often either the servicemember or spouse anticipated the bonus and it was already spent before it ever showed up in the LES.
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Old 07-17-2009, 09:05 PM   #4
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I got flight pay.

We lived, and saved out of our normal pay. Flight pay was mine to spend however I wanted. We did not count it as part of our budget. The reason was it could be gone in the blink of an eye. When I started flying you had to fly 4 hours a month to continue to get your pay. If you got a non flying job you might not get your flight pay. About midway through they changed things. Flight pay got more reliable. At that point it became part of our salary and we saved some and spent some.

It would be like asking someone with a working spouse. 'Do you save all their salary?' Do you live on the lower salary and save the bigger one? After all people live on the lower salary.
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Old 07-17-2009, 09:45 PM   #5
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For you military folks:
How disciplined are (were) you when it comes to your flight, submarine, combat or other special pays?
Ah, a discipline question for a nuke!

I earned sub pay, sea pay, and nuclear bonus pay. Saved every after-tax penny of them, and doing so in the late '80s/early '90s probably laid the foundation of ER. We also saved most of the promotion pay to O-3 and all of the promotion pay to O-4. Easy to "not spend" when you're at work or at sea most of the time.

Before my six-month deployments, when spouse was still on active duty, we'd forecast our spending. (Hers: our household budget & her living expenses. Mine: one liberty port + a few international phone calls.) We'd cut the estimate as close as we could. I'd draw as much advance pay as I could get away with-- up to six months-- and put it into our mutual funds. A 1991 deployment turned $30K into $50K, but that would have been a big hurt in 2008. I don't know if I'd be that bold today.

I earned one month of hazardous duty pay for a Subic "liberty call" during the eruption of Mount Pinatubo. I spent that on alcohol therapy.
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Old 07-17-2009, 11:50 PM   #6
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For you military folks:

How disciplined are (were) you when it comes to your flight, submarine, combat or other special pays?
When I was in flight school a finance officer briefed my class on the importance of compounding interest and showed us exactly how much money an aviator could save if he/she was wise enough to invest all of their flight pay each month. Unfortunately for me, I lacked the sufficient wisdom to follow that officer's advice for my first six years of service. Thankfully, though, my track record for the last six years has been much better. Since then we've saved and invested all of my flight pay as well as any other special pays that I receive (FSP, combat pay, etc). We have also banked just about every longevity/promotion raise for the last six years. Our goal is to always keep our budget below the amount that I will receive from my military pension in 8-10 years...hopefully that will make ER more manageabe for us when we decide to make that leap.
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Old 07-18-2009, 07:27 AM   #7
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I spent all my flight pay on alcohol as did most of my squardron mates. But I did bank most of my pay raises. When I got off active duty and joined the reserves, I banked 100% of my drill and summer camp pay. That disipline helped me ER sooner
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Old 07-18-2009, 12:33 PM   #8
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I'd forgotten that for about 9 months in '67 - and '68 I got $65/mo "combat pay" (even though I was pretty safe in the Tonkin Gulf on a carrier). We also got the first $500 of base pay (which, in my case, covered all of it) tax exempt during months in the war zone. During those days, there was also a deal where anyone overseas could save money with Uncle Sam at 10% simple interest per year but you couldn't get the money back until you got back to the States. (The idea was to help balance of payments so you wouldn't spend it on Japanese stereos, cameras, Seiko watches, etc.) I saved several thousand dollars through that program, although I spent it all on buying furniture, etc. as I got married shortly after returning to the States. By the time I got to my second overseas tour in '72, that program had been done away with.
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Old 07-18-2009, 12:53 PM   #9
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During those days, there was also a deal where anyone overseas could save money with Uncle Sam at 10% simple interest per year but you couldn't get the money back until you got back to the States. (The idea was to help balance of payments so you wouldn't spend it on Japanese stereos, cameras, Seiko watches, etc.) I saved several thousand dollars through that program, although I spent it all on buying furniture, etc. as I got married shortly after returning to the States. By the time I got to my second overseas tour in '72, that program had been done away with.
Congress must have reinstated it at some point. It's called the Savings Deposit Program (Savings Deposit Program (SDP)). Although the earnings are taxable, it's still a pretty good deal.
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Old 07-19-2009, 08:26 PM   #10
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Congress must have reinstated it at some point. It's called the Savings Deposit Program (Savings Deposit Program (SDP)). Although the earnings are taxable, it's still a pretty good deal.
Interesting... I did a quick scan of the link you provided. I think the main difference is that those who can take advantage of it now must be serving in a combat zone. In my time, it was for anyone stationed overseas. As I recall, the interest was taxable in my time, although I don't think you paid it until you got back to the States and actually collected the interest.

Thanks for keeping me current.
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Old 07-20-2009, 05:13 AM   #11
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My wife and I were both on active duty at the same time (enlisted Navy). We did a 4 1/2 year stint overseas living in Navy housing and banked EVERY PENNY of her pay that entire time!

Mike
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