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In retirement, everything's up for renegotiation
Old 07-04-2008, 08:28 PM   #1
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In retirement, everything's up for renegotiation

When spouse put in her retirement papers last month we cleaned out all our uniforms. Now we're looking around to see what else can change.

I've been reading the U.S. Naval Institute's PROCEEDINGS magazine since 1978 and I've had a $495 "life" membership since 1982. Considering everything that I've enjoyed from the magazine (and from USNI's book catalog) I feel I've received full value for my money.

But it got better. When I retired in 2002 I suddenly realized that I could just read the magazine for fun, not professional enhancement. I no longer had to give a damn care so much about network-centric warfare or the CNO's top five or the future of battlespace dominance. That guilty pleasure lasted for a few more years.

For the last couple years I've been reading it to see what's happening in spouse's Navy Reserve or to keep up with veteran's issues. However the freebie Military.com & MOAA e-mails more than make up for that. By the time I see the print of PROCEEDINGS I've already seen it several times on the Internet.

Now that spouse is retired she no longer gives a damn cares about reading PROCEEDINGS either. We mostly look at the pretty pictures and skim the letters to see what senior officer is face-slapping other senior officers.

What's really starting to annoy me, though, is that USNI has sold me out. In the last two years I've started getting junk mail solicitations from every veteran's organization, military museum, and memorial on the face of the planet. They all have the same format (and old rank) of my USNI address label. After a half-dozen letters to USNI I'm ready to cancel my membership just so that they no longer sell my address. Heck, I'd tell them I was deceased if I thought it'd stop the junk mail faster.

How about you other veterans? Do you still read your service's professional magazine, or why would you bother? Have you been able to stop the junk mail or was canceling your membership the only thing that worked?
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Old 07-05-2008, 08:10 AM   #2
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I contacted USNI after my husband's death. I do believe that junk mail in my husband's name slowed quite a bit after that. My husband saved just about all his PROCEEDINGS....ugh...lotsa lotsa PROCEEDINGS. They did sell at my auction tho.
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Old 07-05-2008, 08:19 AM   #3
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How about you other veterans? Do you still read your service's professional magazine, or why would you bother?
I did for a year or two before losing interest. A couple of years after retiring from mini-megacorp the same thing happened with Dilbert comic strips...
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Old 07-05-2008, 09:15 AM   #4
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I'm a lifetime Air Force Association (AFA) member, and still get and enjoy the magazine. I've still got my hand in the "business," so there's still a valid need to stay current. Because I don't frequent the military web sites, this is a good way to do that (at least in part). As a dyed-in-the-wool "joint" guy, the party-line USAF-centric propaganda can be annoying/entertaining, but all the service-specific pubs do the same thing (I guess that's just the way things will always be).

AFA has my rank from about 15 years ago. I told them about it once, when such things mattered to me. The only junk I get from them is their own junk (trying to sell the overpriced life insurance or their branded credit cards, etc). So far they haven't sold my name to other companies.
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Old 07-05-2008, 12:48 PM   #5
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I check the military newsgroups occasionally for retiree info but do not keep up with any of the army specific publications since my retirement in 1993. I made a decison when I retired that I never wanted to be one of those old farts sitting at the bar in the O-club telling the active duty guys what they were doing wrong and that they had it too easy compared to my time.
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Old 07-05-2008, 10:40 PM   #6
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I subscribe to AF Times to kinda keep up. Especially with retirement issues. Funny thing, I never read it while actively participating.
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Old 07-08-2008, 12:20 PM   #7
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Nords, I've been a life member of USNI for ~25 years, and complained to them about the same thing. Also a life member of Naval Reserve Association, which may even be worse at selling membership lists. Write to USNI and ask them to remove your name from their for-sale lists. I did, and I think the volume of junk has slowed.

You can also contact the Direct Marketing Association (https://www.dmachoice.org/MPS/proto1.php) and have them add you to their version of a "do not call" list. They really don't want to do it, and it takes 6 months to see any affect, but I think we're getting less shotgunned mail now.

Alternatively, you can take everything these companies send you, stuff it back in their prepaid envelope (after writing CANCEL all over everything in some bright Sharpie color), and mail it back to them. Why? It just feels good. That got Citibank to take me off their annoying credit card solicitation list real quick!

BTW, I'm not about to cancel my USNI or NRA memberships. It does keep me in touch with things as much as I want to be in touch, and as you wrote, it's always nice to look at the pictures & watch flag officers slap each other up side the head...

Now if I could only get myself to throw out the service dress blues...
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Old 07-08-2008, 12:58 PM   #8
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Nords, I've been a life member of USNI for ~25 years, and complained to them about the same thing. Also a life member of Naval Reserve Association, which may even be worse at selling membership lists. Write to USNI and ask them to remove your name from their for-sale lists. I did, and I think the volume of junk has slowed.
I looked through the "DO NOT MAIL" letters on my hard drive. USNI is on their fifth annual edition of my 2004 request, and it seems like they sell us out turn on the junk mail every June. This time I threatened legal action and asked them to phone me up to discuss it. The very next day (entirely by coincidence) I got a begging letter from another organization using USNI's mailing list. So I feel like a one-handed Dutch boy at the dike. If I don't hear from them in another week then I'll phone them up. You know the typical customer-service conversation: "Hi, I'm a retiree and I have unlimited time to devote to the things that are important to me. Do you have a fresh cup of coffee on your desk? Is your headset comfortable? Had a recent bathroom break? When's your shift end? Great-- now let's talk about my subscription information."

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You can also contact the Direct Marketing Association (https://www.dmachoice.org/MPS/proto1.php) and have them add you to their version of a "do not call" list. They really don't want to do it, and it takes 6 months to see any affect, but I think we're getting less shotgunned mail now.
BTDT. We've also started using a beta called ProQuo that claims to work with junk mailers... sort of like giving the terrorists your home address and asking them nicely to leave you alone.

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Alternatively, you can take everything these companies send you, stuff it back in their prepaid envelope (after writing CANCEL all over everything in some bright Sharpie color), and mail it back to them. Why? It just feels good. That got Citibank to take me off their annoying credit card solicitation list real quick!
I do that too, although it seems as though the business-reply envelopes go to a processing facility and the "DO NOT MAIL" letters have to be handled by a different address.

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BTW, I'm not about to cancel my USNI or NRA memberships. It does keep me in touch with things as much as I want to be in touch, and as you wrote, it's always nice to look at the pictures & watch flag officers slap each other up side the head...
Spouse and I have decided that it's all kinda funny when they're the shipmates who earned their liberty nicknames from you (shortly after vomiting on your shoes), especially when you still have the pictures.

But when I start seeing my plebes on PROCEEDING's pages, whether I was inside their splash radius or not, the USNI subscription is getting canceled.

The NRA magazine is incredibly useful-- spouse learned more from that in one year than she learned from seven years of NavRes' T&A TNR. We're also kinda handcuffed to that info pipeline until she starts pulling down her pension in 2022, so I hope they don't start playing games with our contact info.

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Now if I could only get myself to throw out the service dress blues...
My spouse (about 400 days younger than me) summarized my concerns in a very thoughtful, considerate, and meaningful way: "Nords, you're a dinosaur. Get over it."
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Old 07-08-2008, 02:27 PM   #9
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Still have the uniforms and boots in the closet, but they will have to go when we downsize. The only thing I get in hardcopy is a fairly thin, three times a year publication called "Army Echos" for all us retirees.

Never joined any of the fraternal type Army organizations, though I do get a steady flow of mail from them. There must be some sort of distribution list that the folks at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis release when you are retired.

It's very easy to read just about all the latest info on-line, so I don't miss getting hard copies.

Big change for me this month is a reduction to a four day work week at my civilian job - the company wasn't happy, but, if the client is OK with it, they should be. The real battle will be when I ask to go half time - may have to just go to 0 time instead :-).
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Old 07-08-2008, 07:22 PM   #10
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If you can't seem to shake them, what about writing to them with a change of address and give them an invalid address. Hopefully they'll start sending your subscription (and the junk mail) there, and when it gets returned maybe they'll leave you alone.
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Old 07-08-2008, 08:49 PM   #11
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NRA's most important function for gray area retirees is to provide those periodic "Everything You Should Know About..." inserts. I clipped and saved them until I submitted my app for retired pay. Which was lost then in NOLA during Katrina, and necessitated re-submission to the relocated NRPC in KY (a whole 'nother story). Now if I can figure out TriCare For Life before I hit 65; but that's another thread.
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Old 07-08-2008, 09:19 PM   #12
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TRICARE - now there's a real conundrum. I can't make heads or tails out of it. Any easier primers put there??

Thanks.
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Old 07-08-2008, 09:24 PM   #13
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Never joined 'em, although through my Reserve affiliation, I get sent other stuff - it's outdated and frankly garbage. I'm actively participating and roll my eyes at the Commander and Chief 'letters.' I need to retire really soon :-)

Now - my undergraduate and graduate alma maters found me and send me their magazines - RPI is interesting - ASU is well, ASU - sports centric, beautiful people, yada, yada, yada. Comparing the content of the RPI and ASU mags is just plain unfair :-) I must have grown up between my undergrad and grad degrees.

As for uniforms - will probably toss when I retire - hell, they've changed them so much over the years, I've already thrown out a lot.
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Old 07-08-2008, 10:12 PM   #14
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I kept AFA's membership, for about 20 years! Realized the last 4 or 5 I was not reading them. No more.
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Old 07-09-2008, 11:56 AM   #15
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When I retired from the Navy in 1996 I kept one set each of dress blues, dress whites and summer whites. Everything else went. At the time I said that the next time I'd wear my uniform would be at my funeral.

I'm a member of MOAA and the Navy League (NLUS). When I moved to Vermont, I joined the American Legion for two reasons: 1) as a way to meet people; 2) because they have one of the few bars in this small town. So I get their magazine, too. I also get a quarterly mag from the Navy Cryptologic Veterans Association (NCVA).

I read the two MOAA magazines and the "Cryptolog" regularly. "Sea Power" (NLUS) and the Legion magazine stay in the head for reading during "quiet time". I'm only moderately interested in keeping up with what's going on in the Navy and "Sea Power" fits the bill, particularly their annual Almanac which has a rundown of all the ship classes, aircraft types, flag officers, etc. I correspond via email with a few Navy buddies and we sometimes send articles or copies of NAVADMINs to each other. But sometimes I don't even read what they send me.

When I got involved with the Legion, I made the mistake of admitting that I still had uniforms and could fit in them. So I've been asked to be in a couple of parades, to present the American flag to NOK at funerals and things like that. I never thought I would be doing anything like that and, if it weren't for this being such a small town/rural area, I'm sure I wouldn't. (People genuinely seem to appreciate the effort and being in a small-town Memorial Day parade is a real kick.)
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