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Re: Military vs. Civilian
Old 07-05-2006, 04:16 PM   #21
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Re: Military vs. Civilian

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Originally Posted by Cut-Throat
(Self employed is civilian)
Not if you are a warlord...
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Re: Military vs. Civilian
Old 07-05-2006, 04:19 PM   #22
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Re: Military vs. Civilian

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Originally Posted by brewer12345
Not if you are a warlord...
Don't have to go that high. A simple mercenary or militiaman will do.
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Re: Military vs. Civilian
Old 07-05-2006, 05:52 PM   #23
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Re: Military vs. Civilian

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Originally Posted by PsyopRanger
If it is something else, MBA, CPA…I have options out?*
You would NOT be happy as a CPA.

I have a couple people you could talk to if you have any doubt.
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Re: Military vs. Civilian
Old 07-05-2006, 09:36 PM   #24
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Re: Military vs. Civilian

I got out after 5 years active duty back in '83. Went to top business school, earned MBA. Stayed in reserves, retired with 20 in 2000 (still 10 years away from collecting about 23% of base pay as 05).

If I'd stayed 15 more years and retired as 05, I'd be collecting currently a pension of about $42,000 per year. At 4% withdrawal rate, I'd need just over a million to generate the same COLA pension. Figuring in TRICARE, I'd need even more.

Have been making 200K+ for last 3 or 4 years and saving lots. I'm just approaching the level of financial assets necessary to replace the pension I'd be earning if I'd stayed on active duty. On the other hand, I have a lot of max Social Security contribution years which will hopefully help some in about 16 years.

I work for a privately held company that doesn't match anything on the 401K plan and there is no pension. I probably pay 40% of the cost of the medical insurance ($6-7K per year).

Bottom line -- the COLA pension and TRICARE are hard to replicate. If you enjoy the military life, don't leave thinking you'll do better financially. Stay for 20 then do something else. If you don't like the military, then go ahead and take your chances in the civilian world.
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Re: Military vs. Civilian
Old 07-06-2006, 05:50 AM   #25
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Re: Military vs. Civilian

I spent just over 10 years in. I couldn't stand another day. It took three years to match the pay I left in the military. I actually mostly enjoy the work I do now (can't stand the whiney lefties or the stupid bad guys though). If I had stayed in I could be retired now, but I could also be in Leavenworth, so I'd say it is a good thing I exited when I did. With that said my father did 24 years, retired and is almost retired from his second career.

A reservist I worked with also exited active duty at the 19 year mark (to keep his ex from receiving any of his retirement. The way the judge worded the divorce decree was if he retired form active duty she would receive a certain amount. So this guy went into the reserves. After working for so many years he volunteered for an assignment and low and behold it worked out where he had worked equivalent to 20 years worth of days. He was able to retire from the reserves with a "reserve" retirement, but collect the money immediately that was more than his civilian pay due to the time in service. The retirement was classified a reserve retirement, but looked like an active duty retirement so his ex-wife lost out on the benies and he laughed all the way to the bank.

The short of it. If you like where your at the retirement benefits are good. If you just want to leave because the pay is better elsewhere, but you like your job you will probably regret it. I do miss the camaraderie and friends, but there was way to much bs and incompetence for me. I'm glad I left the military, but still get the itch to work in national security.
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Re: Military vs. Civilian
Old 07-07-2006, 12:00 AM   #26
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Re: Military vs. Civilian

Lots of talk about money and bennies, but not much talk about quality of life issues. From a military spouse's perspective I can tell you it is not worth staying just for the pension. My husband has been gone 3 months this year already and that's just training - the actual deployment doesn't start for another few months. In his 8.5 years of service, he's been gone about half that time including two 1 year overseas tours/deployments (fortunately not back-to-back). In addition as a military spouse my career options are much more limited, and we never have complete control over our lives.

If we had just wanted a good retiement I would have stuck with the cushy job I had at a government research lab - similar retirement benefits and get to see the spouse each night. Plus not a lot of chance of getting shot on the job. We didn't even really consider ER until the spouse decided he wanted to stay in the military a while - it was my "light at the end of the tunnel."

The only reason we live this life is that my husband loves it. I mean... really loves it! He's happier with his job than just about anyone else I know, and that's worth a lot. We have a lot of fun, we're happy, and I wouldn't trade our life for anything, but it isn't for everyone and it definitely isn't worth doing just for the pension.

It's also worked for us because the spouse is very aggressive about managing his career - current dream assignment was obtained by walking over to the unit, doing an "informational interview" with the XO, selling himself, and then getting them to submit a by-name-request to headquarters. Extremely rare in the Marine Corps. If he were the type who just threw himself on the mercy of the monitor or didn't constantly have his eyes open for new opportunities I think we'd be a lot more miserable.
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Re: Military vs. Civilian
Old 07-07-2006, 08:08 AM   #27
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Re: Military vs. Civilian

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Originally Posted by FlowGirl
Lots of talk about money and bennies, but not much talk about quality of life issues. From a military spouse's perspective I can tell you it is not worth staying just for the pension. My husband has been gone 3 months this year already and that's just training - the actual deployment doesn't start for another few months. In his 8.5 years of service, he's been gone about half that time including two 1 year overseas tours/deployments (fortunately not back-to-back). In addition as a military spouse my career options are much more limited, and we never have complete control over our lives.

If we had just wanted a good retiement I would have stuck with the cushy job I had at a government research lab - similar retirement benefits and get to see the spouse each night. Plus not a lot of chance of getting shot on the job. We didn't even really consider ER until the spouse decided he wanted to stay in the military a while - it was my "light at the end of the tunnel."

The only reason we live this life is that my husband loves it. I mean... really loves it! He's happier with his job than just about anyone else I know, and that's worth a lot. We have a lot of fun, we're happy, and I wouldn't trade our life for anything, but it isn't for everyone and it definitely isn't worth doing just for the pension.

It's also worked for us because the spouse is very aggressive about managing his career - current dream assignment was obtained by walking over to the unit, doing an "informational interview" with the XO, selling himself, and then getting them to submit a by-name-request to headquarters. Extremely rare in the Marine Corps. If he were the type who just threw himself on the mercy of the monitor or didn't constantly have his eyes open for new opportunities I think we'd be a lot more miserable.
I fall into the same category and I have gotten everything I have wanted the last few years, it is scary, I am waiting for something bad to happen. I think I’m just in the right place at the right time. I like my job, the travel and the interesting people I have met. In the past few years I have met Cheney, Rice, Powell and got to escort Peter Jennings and Christiana Amonpour to Saddam’s trial and made a lot of friends along the way.
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Re: Military vs. Civilian
Old 07-07-2006, 07:02 PM   #28
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Re: Military vs. Civilian

If you really want the military pension and healthcare why not join the Air Force? The promotion rates are much slower than other services but there is a reason for that; Quality of Life! For the last few years my personal deployment rate has been 45 days every 6 months.
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Re: Military vs. Civilian
Old 07-07-2006, 07:10 PM   #29
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Re: Military vs. Civilian

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Originally Posted by PsyopRanger
....* In the past few years I have met Cheney, Rice, Powell and got to escort Peter Jennings and Christiana Amonpour to Saddam’s trial and made a lot of friends along the way.*
I really want to like Rice, I adore Powell and find Christiana Amonpour fascinating. Some day when she quits the reporter gig I would love to have Christiana write about the middle-east, she could be as interesting and informative as Thomas Friedman.
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Re: Military vs. Civilian
Old 07-07-2006, 07:45 PM   #30
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Re: Military vs. Civilian

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Originally Posted by Brat
You would NOT be happy as a CPA.

I have a couple people you could talk to if you have any doubt.
It really depends on the individual. I know a few CPAs who are really happy about what they do. I also know some who do not like their work. The bottomline is that you should find work that is situable for your interest and skills and do not place so much emphasis on benefits and pays.
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Re: Military vs. Civilian
Old 07-07-2006, 07:50 PM   #31
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Re: Military vs. Civilian

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Originally Posted by trixs
If you really want the military pension and healthcare why not join the Air Force? The promotion rates are much slower than other services but there is a reason for that; Quality of Life! For the last few years my personal deployment rate has been 45 days every 6 months.
As a warrant officer, PsyopRanger has got a situation unavailable in the USAF (unfortunately). I know a lot of WOs that would never want to be either an NCO or a "regular" commissioned officer. And, before some Army guy says it, "maybe he'd rather be in the military than be in the Air Force. "
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Re: Military vs. Civilian
Old 07-07-2006, 08:33 PM   #32
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Re: Military vs. Civilian

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Originally Posted by samclem
And, before some Army guy says it, "maybe he'd rather be in the military than be in the Air Force. "

Hey now, Be Nice!
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Re: Military vs. Civilian
Old 07-07-2006, 09:56 PM   #33
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Re: Military vs. Civilian

My daughter, her husband, her brother-in-law and father-in-law are all CPAs.* They are all happy that they earned that professional credential.* They include a CFO, Controller, and a Professor.* The fourth has been able to devote his life to community service (Hodgkin's - promise made as the result of facing death in the eye).*

They are content with their professional decisions.* *After considering PsyopRanger's style I really don't think he would be happy.* That doesn't mean that the knowledge wouldn't be valuable, I just think that the hours of audit required would drive him nuts.* It's not just a question of passing the exam, two of the four above passed it before receiving their college degrees (with 4.0s in Accounting), it is the tedious audit hours required for the certification.

HR folks call this issue 'fit', not meaning that they don't have the skills but meaning that the personality isn't a mesh with the role.
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Re: Military vs. Civilian
Old 07-08-2006, 06:04 AM   #34
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Re: Military vs. Civilian

Quote:
Originally Posted by trixs
If you really want the military pension and healthcare why not join the Air Force? The promotion rates are much slower than other services but there is a reason for that; Quality of Life! For the last few years my personal deployment rate has been 45 days every 6 months.
I looked at the AF but I've already got so much time in the Army and my job/skills really don't transfer. Everyone knows the AF has the best "quality of life" but if the promotions rates are slower, it kind of hard to get a higher pension when your pension is based on your base pay?

One of my best friends was in the AF for 6 years, never made it past E4, maybe it was him?
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Re: Military vs. Civilian
Old 07-08-2006, 06:11 AM   #35
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Re: Military vs. Civilian

As a warrant officer, PsyopRanger has got a situation unavailable in the USAF (unfortunately). I know a lot of WOs that would never want to be either an NCO or a "regular" commissioned officer. And, before some Army guy says it, "maybe he'd rather be in the military than be in the Air Force.

I talked extensively with Warrants and Regular officers, most told me go warrant. A full bird COL. In Intel told me that he was just a generalist, another middle manager among thousands. As a warrant, I am specialized in a certain area.

Not to mention Warrant is getting a 7% pay increase in 07 and there is talk of tightening the pay gap between Warrants and Regular officers. Current promotion rates are quite high as well. From W1 – W3 is 5 years.
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Re: Military vs. Civilian
Old 07-08-2006, 08:08 AM   #36
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Re: Military vs. Civilian

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Originally Posted by PsyopRanger
One of my best friends was in the AF for 6 years, never made it past E4, maybe it was him?
IMHO, promotions have much to do with the current "situation" in the world along with the authorized levels for each grade.

For instance, I made E5 in slightly less than 3 years ('67-'70), but also remember that it was during that period that Nam was extremely "hot" (no, I'm not talking about the weather* )

I did my qual's on E6, but would have had to serve TIG until at least '72-'73 to be promoted.* That didn't meet with my personal schedule to "carry on with my life" in '71.

As far as the USAF, I was always ragged on by my "Army acquainteces" of having to spend four years, rather than their two (this was during the period of a very heavy draft).* My answer to them was simply "I'd rather spend four years in heaven than two years in hell"* 8) .

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Re: Military vs. Civilian
Old 07-08-2006, 11:49 AM   #37
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Re: Military vs. Civilian

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Originally Posted by PsyopRanger
One of my best friends was in the AF for 6 years, never made it past E4, maybe it was him?
If he didnt make E5 in less than 5 years then he simply didnt study. To make rank in the AF (enlisted anyway) you have to test vs your peers. He who has the most points makes rank :
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Re: Military vs. Civilian
Old 07-08-2006, 01:00 PM   #38
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Re: Military vs. Civilian

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Originally Posted by PsyopRanger
As a warrant officer, PsyopRanger has got a situation unavailable in the USAF (unfortunately).* *I know a lot of WOs that would never want to be either an NCO or a "regular" commissioned officer.* And, before some Army guy says it, "maybe he'd rather be in the military than be in the Air Force.

I talked extensively with Warrants and Regular officers, most told me go warrant.* A full bird COL. In Intel told me that he was just a generalist, another middle manager among thousands.* As a warrant, I am specialized in a certain area.

Not to mention Warrant is getting a 7% pay increase in 07 and there is talk of tightening the pay gap between Warrants and Regular officers. Current promotion rates are quite high as well.* From W1 – W3 is 5 years.*
Hello PsyopRanger,

I made the transition from Army enlisted to AF officer back in the early 90s.* At the time I was an E-5 in the 82nd with a line # to E-6.* I looked at the pay difference officer and enlisted and decided I was more than capable of doing the job if the 2Lts and 1Lts.* Plan was to go back in the Army but I ended up in the AF.* You mentioned the pay increase for warrants but look at retirement $$ for regular officers.* They may tighten it some but I bet the 0-5 gap will remain.*

Once in the AF I have done really well against my peers. I think the Army background is what did it.* I too have been one that has always gotten what he wanted until this assignment.* Its not to bad but not my first choice.*

Quality of life is much different.* I was deployed with the Army last year and I had forgotten the Army motto "If it ain't painful it ain't right."* But hey I can do anything for a period of time.*

Would I change anything?* Probably not.* I am very happy with the military and I think that when I leave I will be in great shape for the life after.* So if you are going to stay I say do what is best for you in the long run and also what will be the best use of your talents.*

Tomcat98



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Re: Military vs. Civilian
Old 07-08-2006, 01:46 PM   #39
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Re: Military vs. Civilian

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Originally Posted by Tomcat98
Hello PsyopRanger,

I made the transition from Army enlisted to AF officer back in the early 90s. At the time I was an E-5 in the 82nd with a line # to E-6. I looked at the pay difference officer and enlisted and decided I was more than capable of doing the job if the 2Lts and 1Lts. Plan was to go back in the Army but I ended up in the AF. You mentioned the pay increase for warrants but look at retirement $$ for regular officers. They may tighten it some but I bet the 0-5 gap will remain.

Once in the AF I have done really well against my peers. I think the Army background is what did it. I too have been one that has always gotten what he wanted until this assignment. Its not to bad but not my first choice.

Quality of life is much different. I was deployed with the Army last year and I had forgotten the Army motto "If it ain't painful it ain't right." But hey I can do anything for a period of time.

Would I change anything? Probably not. I am very happy with the military and I think that when I leave I will be in great shape for the life after. So if you are going to stay I say do what is best for you in the long run and also what will be the best use of your talents.

Tomcat98
Tomcat98,

Thanks for the advice. Actually I've been holding out on all my info, my current plan is to get my masters in psychology while I am a warrant, then apply for and do my professional certification in the Army and eventually apply for a direct commission as a Psychologist. The direct commission would put me at an O-3 level and probably retire as an O-4 or higher.

I have been going back and forth as to what to get my masters in but I think this is where I would be the most happy.

So eventually, I will be looking at the regular “O”
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Re: Military vs. Civilian
Old 07-10-2006, 03:02 PM   #40
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Re: Military vs. Civilian

PsyopRanger,

I can't believe that three pages into the discussion of an "Is it worth it?" question and no one has suggested yet that you do a calculation!!!* Just kidding.* It isn't all necessarily calculations, but, there were some pension questions a while back of a similar nature.* The Cliff Notes version is that once you are heavily invested into a 20 year (or 30) and out situation, it gets very difficult to make up the financial ground you would loose by jumping even if the pastures are much greener.*

Just using round numbers a $20k/yr COLAed pension has a future value in today's dollars of nearly $500k (the SWR equivalent is approximate but relatively accurate for military 20 and out folks will get the pension for a very long time), AND you get the healthcare.* For someone 10 years into a 20 and out, to get just the future value of the pension ($500k) you need to invest about $3000/mo (working in current year dollars to account for inflation).*

I'm not sure what your numbers are, but this is food for thought.*

Kind Regards,

Chris

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