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Military to ER, cold turkey
Old 08-14-2006, 12:40 PM   #1
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Military to ER, cold turkey

Rather than hijack this thread, let me start a new one:

Quote:
Originally Posted by jclarksnakes
I have friends who totally retired after 20 to 30 years in. Only a few of them totally retired at 20 to 22 years without substantial savings. Those few who are doing it without savings or other sources of income do prove that someone can retire on $25,000 per year but they are not living the ER life that would work for me.
JC, you're one of the very very few people who knows someone who went straight from active duty to ER without a transition career. Believe me, I've been looking for over 10 years & many discussion boards, and I only know three people like that.

In your opinion, what's the common thread that enabled those "successful" military ERs to do so? Was it frugal living, a stock-market surprise, forced by employment/medical disability, or a carefully thought-out plan executed over many years?
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Re: Military to ER, cold turkey
Old 08-14-2006, 01:27 PM   #2
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Re: Military to ER, cold turkey

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
...who knows someone who went straight from active duty to ER without a transition career.
I had a very good friend who fit into this category…sort of. Ed retired from the USAF (0-4) in the mid-80’s after putting in his 20. Although he didn’t actually have a ‘transition career’, he did test drive a dozen or so in the 20 years between his retirement and his death. I don’t recall all of them as they rarely lasted more than three or four months, but I do remember him working as a travel agent, car salesman, master gardener and a Sears retail associate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords

In your opinion, what's the common thread that enabled those "successful" military ERs to do so? Was it frugal living, a stock-market surprise, forced by employment/medical disability, or a carefully thought-out plan executed over many years?
In Ed’s case I would have to say ‘none of the above”. From my perspective, it appeared to be the combination of a deeply ingrained aversion to taking orders from an employer he considered his inferior (usually expressed in terms of “F*** you, I quit!”) and a spouse who worked full time.

See any common threads here?

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Re: Military to ER, cold turkey
Old 08-14-2006, 01:42 PM   #3
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Re: Military to ER, cold turkey

At one point I got to chat with a retired O5. As far as I could tell from his story, right after he bid farewell to the military, he moved to a very inexpensive part of the country and opened a used bookstore, which was more of a hobby than a job judging by his appearance and attitude. He seemed to be quite happy sitting in his comfy chair, reading books and chatting with customers.

Oh, and he did posses a certain skill that made it highly likely that he was telling the truth about his military background, although I can't explain what it was since it would be personally identifiable*
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Re: Military to ER, cold turkey
Old 08-14-2006, 01:55 PM   #4
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Re: Military to ER, cold turkey

Nords,
I know of 2 Army retirees that did not get a job after they called it quits. One E7 did it by LBYMs and investing in one rental and the stock market. She rarely goes out the house and I think that was her nature irregardless of money constraints. She lives in a house that is about 5 years old and last I heard her car was paid off. SHe's been retired for a few years now with no intention of looking for another job.
The other retired E7 is married to a retired E7 so they are doing better than most. He has a part time job and she goes to school with her GI bill. Last time I talked with her she mentioned that she would resisit the pull to get another job. I think they have investments and a little savings to tide them over. I don't think it will support them forever but they are making due with what they have. BTW- they have a child too.

That's it. In 15 years of being around the military those are the only two that I know of. Even my family members that retired are still working.
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Re: Military to ER, cold turkey
Old 08-14-2006, 02:38 PM   #5
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Re: Military to ER, cold turkey

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arif
That's it. In 15 years of being around the military those are the only two that I know of. Even my family members that retired are still working.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrooge
Oh, and he did posses a certain skill that made it highly likely that he was telling the truth about his military background...
Yep. I've spent the last six months on my latest rounds of the military discussion boards looking for ERs & Young Dreamers. Mostly I've been getting flamed for being an annuity-selling spammer troll, because obviously there's no way I could be retired at such a young age from a military career.

We know a Navy O-3 LDO, retired at 20, who sculpts for entertainment and sells enough to buy supplies. She works a week or two a year as a Customs inspector or grocery bagger for special vacation trips but I think that's just her "you have to earn this" motivator.

The other is a USMC W-4, retired at 20 or so, in her 60s but looks like she's in her 40s, could snap my spine like a dry twig. Very easygoing (like that O-5 with his bookstore), smiles a lot, never gets upset, could live anywhere doing just about anything. I suspect her life was a little too exciting and she prefers boredom too.

We know of an O-5 just retired after not screening for major command, struggling with the whole ego and the "Whaddya DO all day" questions. His spouse has been e-mailing my spouse for covert corruption assistance and I bet he takes employment any day now.

Every other military retiree that I know has been going back to work because they want to (or because they think they have to want to) or because they have to $$. Even the 30-year O-6 who's retired at 100% disability (rheumatoid arthritis, on his second set of hips) is working-- and he's already pulling down at least $79K/year tax-free with lifetime medical & life insurance.

I know one other guy who's about four years shy of pulling the trigger. He kitesurfs and enjoys spending time with his kids but he also just got his dream assignment. We'll have to see how he does...
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Re: Military to ER, cold turkey
Old 08-14-2006, 06:46 PM   #6
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Re: Military to ER, cold turkey

Military folks in my profession are especially tempted NOT to ER. I was in the Finance corps and many officers and enlisted retirees simply got a civilian job working for DFAS at a higher pay than they were making in the Army. NO job search just apply for the job knowing that you have an "in" with the guy who's doing the hiring. Very tempting for some. Matter of fact, if I didn't have to deal with 55 year old GS-5s I would have been caught in that net too.
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Re: Military to ER, cold turkey
Old 08-14-2006, 06:56 PM   #7
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Re: Military to ER, cold turkey

I knew a guy who was an E-8, retired after 26 years.* Afterwards, he moved back to his home in South Carolina, and never hit a lick.* Highlight of his day, as he told me, was to go to Dunkin Donuts.* His wife worked at the Michelin plant.* We exchanged phone calls every New Year's eve, but got out of the habit.* Called him last New Years and wish I had not.* His wife was dead and he was verrry sad.* Hope he survives. Nice guy, very talented with backyard auto repair and that kind of stuff.*
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Re: Military to ER, cold turkey
Old 08-14-2006, 07:15 PM   #8
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Re: Military to ER, cold turkey

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arif
Military folks in my profession are especially tempted NOT to ER. I was in the Finance corps and many officers and enlisted retirees simply got a civilian job working for DFAS at a higher pay than they were making in the Army.
There are all kinds of businesses that attract ex-military folks. Sometimes it's a question of geography, e.g. Arkansas-Missouri. Sometimes they go work for governmental and quasigovernmental organizations or contractors.

It can get confusing when Col. A (Ret) wants to be called "Col. A" while Col. B (Ret) wants to be called "Jim". And then there is Col. C (Ret) who has "Col. C, USAF" prominently displayed on his desk in bronze, but introduces himself as "Bobby". And more recently I have run into active duty officers (up to O-5 so far) that ask civilian contractors to use their first names. And then there are doctors...*
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Re: Military to ER, cold turkey
Old 08-14-2006, 07:42 PM   #9
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Re: Military to ER, cold turkey

Nords,

I know of no military folks (myself included) who quit entirely after they retired from the military unless their spouse worked. Of course it is possible to do, especially for officers (we could have done it if not for the uncertainty of college costs for DD), but I think military folks are like the public at large when it comes to their spending habits.
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Re: Military to ER, cold turkey
Old 08-14-2006, 08:50 PM   #10
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Re: Military to ER, cold turkey

I know of one, a woman who lives nearby and our kids go to the same school. She and hubby were in the Army but they decided he would get out and go into the civilian world while she continued. She retired as a First Sergeant and stayed home to make babies and keep house. Hubby still works but her retirement pays the house note and some other bills.

Over a few after BBQ tequila shots on my deck one night they explained their plan. Getting that pension secured was the primary goal and they wanted kids but they figured out that the hubby's career might not make the full twenty. She wanted kids but decided they would have to wait until she retired, so they saved their butts off and lived LBYM. Being a full time mom seems to agree with her and hubby likes what he does. They don't live an extravagant lifestyle but have a nice house that fits them and hubby has a little BMW that is his toy.

They're saving up for some land overlooking the beach in Puerto Rico for their real retirement.

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Re: Military to ER, cold turkey
Old 08-14-2006, 11:47 PM   #11
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Re: Military to ER, cold turkey

....The common thread is that they are single and cheap and they had their mortgages paid down or even paid off or they moved to small towns here in the south with very low cost of living. Come to think of it they also had their kids (from prior marriages) out on their own not costing them anything. My last seven years in the army I and my friends spent a lot of time deployed in places where everything was* cheap and simple. Some people can spend so much time living in tents or tropical huts or quansets that austerity becomes a habit and they have no desire to spend money on the finer things when they get back to our "advanced" society. On the other hand most of my army friends were or are married and like me went right into second careers after retiring from the military. If I wasn't married I would be living happily in a 1958 eight foot wide trailer house parked behind a fish camp somewhere and not working at all.
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Re: Military to ER, cold turkey
Old 08-15-2006, 12:48 PM   #12
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Re: Military to ER, cold turkey

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrooge
It can get confusing when Col. A (Ret) wants to be called "Col. A" while Col. B (Ret) wants to be called "Jim". And then there is Col. C (Ret) who has "Col. C, USAF" prominently displayed on his desk in bronze, but introduces himself as "Bobby". And more recently I have run into active duty officers (up to O-5 so far) that ask civilian contractors to use their first names. And then there are doctors...
I sometimes wonder if these people (other than COL B) have their ranks tattooed on their collarbones-- or on their asses. At least COL C is trying to adapt to a new set of rules.

When we were junior officers in Monterey, spouse and I watched a USAF O-5 and his spouse retire. First they bought the condo next door. Then the contractors flowed steadily for six weeks of new appliances, painting, carpeting, landscaping, and all the other things on her list. Then the household goods arrived, accompanied by a squadron of "We're never moving again!!" furniture delivery trucks. (I think she moved in with only her toothbrush.) The most telling feature of their transition was that his "I love me" awards & memorabilia were all consolidated into one location-- the side wall of the garage right next to his golf clubs. (At least he understood who was running the show from that point onward.) He spent most of his time at Pebble Beach & Spyglass so I don't think he was suffering too badly.

BTW, if AF enlisted can call their officers by their first names (do they still do that?!?) then I don't think it's an issue for contractors to do the same...

Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem
I know of no military folks (myself included) who quit entirely after they retired from the military unless their spouse worked. Of course it is possible to do, especially for officers (we could have done it if not for the uncertainty of college costs for DD), but I think military folks are like the public at large when it comes to their spending habits.
Granted, spouse's pension at age 60 will paper over any cracks in the retirement portfolio, and we've enjoyed the three years of humongous drill pay that spouse brought home 2002-2005. (For those of you not familiar with drilling Reservists, that last phrase is sarcasm.)

I think the military-- particularly the officers-- have no incentive to grow up. Living on base totally insulates people from the real world (especially overseas), and I know 30-year O-6s who never owned a piece of real estate or even paid more utility bills than CATV. I can completely understand why they'd have a hard time getting along without a job-- what frustrates me is the wasted potential of the COLA pension and the lifetime healthcare. Those benefits (as well as a pathetically low estimate of their employable worth) are really just given away as salary negotiables during the job search.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jclarksnakes
....The common thread is that they are single and cheap and they had their mortgages paid down or even paid off or they moved to small towns here in the south with very low cost of living. Come to think of it they also had their kids (from prior marriages) out on their own not costing them anything. My last seven years in the army I and my friends spent a lot of time deployed in places where everything was* cheap and simple. Some people can spend so much time living in tents or tropical huts or quansets that austerity becomes a habit and they have no desire to spend money on the finer things when they get back to our "advanced" society. On the other hand most of my army friends were or are married and like me went right into second careers after retiring from the military. If I wasn't married I would be living happily in a 1958 eight foot wide trailer house parked behind a fish camp somewhere and not working at all.
Same submariner experience here, of course with better food & weather. Spouse's material standards aren't much higher than mine, however, and I think the real expenses come from raising a family near a "good" school...
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Re: Military to ER, cold turkey
Old 08-15-2006, 01:37 PM   #13
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Re: Military to ER, cold turkey

Quote:
I sometimes wonder if these people (other than COL B) have their ranks tattooed on their collarbones-- or on their asses.
Yep, and it can make things somewhat difficult. I have worked for clients where there was a certain amount of tension whenever retired enlisted folks and officers worked together at the same level. "What, me, an O-4, reporting to an E-4??" Then there were those who tried to do a little rank pulling on the side :

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
BTW, if AF enlisted can call their officers by their first names (do they still do that?!?) then I don't think it's an issue for contractors to do the same...
In my experience, AF folks are all over the place, but the O-5 I was thinking of was an Army nurse.

Quote:
I think the military-- particularly the officers-- have no incentive to grow up.* Living on base totally insulates people from the real world (especially overseas), and I know 30-year O-6s who never owned a piece of real estate or even paid more utility bills than CATV.
Oh yes, it can be quite bad. Some years ago I was working with an O-6 who was about to leave the service after, um, 25+ years, I think. A very nice and technically competent guy, but when he asked me about possibly going to work for my company, his questions were more naive than what you would expect from a college junior Thankfully, when I met him years later, he was well adjusted and enjoying life as a consultant 8)
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