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USAA's Best Places for Military to Retire for a Second Career
Old 11-28-2011, 04:24 AM   #1
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USAA's Best Places for Military to Retire for a Second Career

https://content.usaa.com/mcontent/st...cheid=48214695

Hopefully the link works, if not, just go to USAA.com.

Since retiring from the military is near and dear to my heart at the present moment, was happy to run across this article! And even better that where I'd like to retire is actually on their Top 10 list since I think I'll be looking at a bridge career for a few years.

Enjoy!
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Old 11-28-2011, 04:56 AM   #2
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I think this link will work better:
https://www.usaa.com/inet/pages/ente...URL_bestplaces
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Old 11-30-2011, 03:02 PM   #3
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I was initially surprised to see that DC/Northern VA/Suburban MD wasn't on the list (because of the huge number of BB jobs available there) but I see it is on the "Premium Metro" list. High housing costs but good job opportunities.

Last winter we spent a night in Norfolk, VA (where I was stationed in the late 70's/early 80's) and was amazed to find: 1) How much downtown Norfolk has changed for the better; 2) how incredibly awful the traffic is in Norfolk and Va. Beach.
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Old 11-30-2011, 03:19 PM   #4
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I was initially surprised to see that DC/Northern VA/Suburban MD wasn't on the list (because of the huge number of BB jobs available there) but I see it is on the "Premium Metro" list. High housing costs but good job opportunities.
I would think that makes it a good place for someone with *serious* second career aspirations, but not for someone who is just looking to do something they enjoy to earn a few bucks on the side.
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Old 12-02-2011, 06:04 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Parr0thead98 View Post
https://content.usaa.com/mcontent/st...cheid=48214695

Hopefully the link works, if not, just go to USAA.com.

Since retiring from the military is near and dear to my heart at the present moment, was happy to run across this article! And even better that where I'd like to retire is actually on their Top 10 list since I think I'll be looking at a bridge career for a few years.

Enjoy!
I have to ask: If one must seek a bridge career after military retirement, isn't it possible to just stay "in" for another hitch or two? I realize there are age issues (declining physical capabilities, etc.) or maybe some just hate their military j*bs by now. But I was under the impression that many (maybe most) long-service military personnel are more "desk" oriented than combat oriented. Also, I was under the impression that long-service military had somewhat more choice in their duty. Never been in the military, but, if you enjoy your duty, I can't imagine another "c*reer" would pay as much as a 20 to 25 year military salary (with benefits). I Know there are other considerations ("forced" moves, spouse/children desires, etc.) Still, just sayin'...

By the way, thanks for your service!!
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Old 12-02-2011, 10:28 PM   #6
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I have to ask: If one must seek a bridge career after military retirement, isn't it possible to just stay "in" for another hitch or two?
It can be. But eventually (unless you're a flag officer) everyone hits high-year tenure. For O-4s it's generally 20 years of service. O-5s ~28. O-6s ~30. E-5s 20. E-6s 22. E-7s 24. E-9s and flag officers can generally go 40 years. There are minor variations between services and specialties, and maybe a waiver can be obtained. But those limits apply to 99% of the servicemembers, and even flag officers have to request permission from Congress (literally) to stay past age 62.

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I realize there are age issues (declining physical capabilities, etc.) or maybe some just hate their military j*bs by now. But I was under the impression that many (maybe most) long-service military personnel are more "desk" oriented than combat oriented.
Usually those "declining physical capabilities" are "accumulating injuries", especially cartilage & ligament damage to knees & ankles & spinal columns.

That desk may be in Kuwait or Kabul or Kosovo or Chinhae or Kenya... or even worse (and more deadly) in the Pentagon. In the late 1990s the Pentagon had so many hard-chargin' O-5s get heart attacks (literally) that they made every newly-reporting O-5 go through stress-reduction training. Nothin' I'd like to do more than be the rehab doc in a roomful of hypercompetitive combat-hardened O-5s saying "OK, breathe deep!"

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Also, I was under the impression that long-service military had somewhat more choice in their duty. Never been in the military, but, if you enjoy your duty, I can't imagine another "c*reer" would pay as much as a 20 to 25 year military salary (with benefits). I Know there are other considerations ("forced" moves, spouse/children desires, etc.) Still, just sayin'...
That's pretty funny!

"The Bitter Cost of Business" (The Bitter Cost of Business | U.S. Naval Institute ) says a lot of it for the Navy O-6 who's finishing up a major sea command:

Quote:
What is interesting, though, is the question of where the solution lies to the ongoing hemorrhage of these captains. What can be done about the fact that over the past four years, captain retirements have outpaced promotions by 16 percent? How to stanch the flow? Before this can be addressed, however, the question of what drives captains to stay or go should be examined.

The apparent belief, based on survey, is that captains are leaving for two distinct reasons: first, the promise of civilian job opportunities and compensation, and second, the promise of more time spent with family—a consideration greatly enhanced by the possibility of a year-long individual augmentee assignment in a combat zone.

It is difficult to see what the Navy can do to counter these exit incentives in any meaningful way. With regard to compensation, even in the most simplistic sense, gross pay declines significantly the moment a captain leaves major command because he or she is no longer eligible for a number of benefits, like sea pay. In addition, any bonuses, by law, expire around the time the captain leaves sea duty.

Even if a captain remains on active duty and is promoted to admiral, the fact is that real pay will not rise to equal that received in his major command tour until he is, probably, a fully paid two-star. This may seem counter-intuitive, but in any given strike group, there may be up to a dozen officers who out-earn the rear admiral (sel) in charge.

On the other hand, market-average compensation for a retiring O-6 virtually guarantees doubling of overall income when added to captain retirement pay. Financially, it seems, staying in is an inescapably poor decision.

As for the family-time issue, even if not on sea duty, it is clear that any job which the Navy would deem appropriate for a post-major O-6 would require long hours, probably offer little prestige (certainly nothing even approaching major command), and be tremendously demanding and stressful. In terms of spending time, at long last, with one's family, taking another Navy job also seems to be a poor decision.
In other words, the assignment officer needs butts to fill seats in Pentagon staff offices or the National Military Command Center watchfloor. Or, if you're really lucky, Afghanistan. One day you were commodore of a multi-ship task force with enough firepower to incinerate a large city or enough heavy-lift capability to rescue thousands of people from a tsunami. Next day you're in a partial cubicle in a windowless office in the bowels of the Pentagon trying to figure out how to cram a bunch of talking points into a briefing format for a patronizing flag officer by 1800. (Maybe you'll be home before midnight.) Or you're arguing with the assignment officer for a job at the National Defense University or a ROTC unit, only to find that they're stacked three deep on the waiting list.

Meanwhile Parrothead could take his O-6>24 years of service to a federal pension of ~$68K/year (with an inflation-fighting COLA and $520/year health insurance). He could get hired by a defense consultant firm at least $95K/year or hit the big leagues with a major contractor for $130K and up. I don't even know his specialties or his security clearances, which are usually worth more to a civilian employer. Maybe SamClem could chip in with more updated numbers.

Considering the assignment policies at the O-6 elevation, I feel pretty lucky to be stuck at the O-4 rank and able to "hide" in training commands for nearly eight years. Despite all my skill at submarine warfare and battlegroup-submarine operations, I couldn't get a job on a sea-duty battlegroup staff because I wasn't considered "career material". At least I could measure my daily effectiveness at our training commands by the number of students who'd been trained and the number of instructors I'd helped get promoted or commissioned.

But one of our best technicians was a civilian contractor who'd retired from the Army at the E-9 rank with 30 years. In today's dollars his pension was at least $55K/year (same COLA & health benefits) and his contractor job was paying (at most) $50K/year. He told me he missed the Army life every day.

Meanwhile the latest COLA will lift my 2012 pension to $40K/year. We chewed through a big chunk of the ER portfolio this year for our familyroom renovation, but our remaining living expenses will be less than 4% of the remainder of the ER portfolio. We don't need a lot to make ourselves happy, and I have more than enough to keep myself entertained. The surf is up and life is good.
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Old 12-03-2011, 09:53 AM   #7
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That desk may be in Kuwait or Kabul or Kosovo or Chinhae or Kenya... or even worse (and more deadly) in the Pentagon. In the late 1990s the Pentagon had so many hard-chargin' O-5s get heart attacks (literally) that they made every newly-reporting O-5 go through stress-reduction training. Nothin' I'd like to do more than be the rehab doc in a roomful of hypercompetitive combat-hardened O-5s saying "OK, breathe deep!"
Nords' comments are all right on.

I can vouch for this particular point, since I was an O-5 in the Pentagon in 1989, and elected to retire midway through my four year tour (much to the chagrin of my O-6 boss, since people with my skill set were very hard to find. I just didn't think I could take the full tour there.

Typical day: Arrive at the office by 0700, after a 75-minute commute. Full bore with just a quick break to grab a sandwich in the cafeteria, until normally around 1930, then another 75-minute commute back home. I'll do the math for you: that's a 15 hour day, five days a week, or a 75-hour week.

And that was a normal week. Special projects were always coming up that required significant overtime beyond those hours and on weekends. When there was any kind of exercise going on, it was rotating 12-hour shifts in another part of the building for the duration, but you still had to attend to your normal work in your copious spare time.

Burnout was simply considered an occupational hazard, nothing out of the ordinary.
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Old 12-03-2011, 10:14 AM   #8
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I have to ask: If one must seek a bridge career after military retirement, isn't it possible to just stay "in" for another hitch or two? I realize there are age issues (declining physical capabilities, etc.) or maybe some just hate their military j*bs by now. But I was under the impression that many (maybe most) long-service military personnel are more "desk" oriented than combat oriented. Also, I was under the impression that long-service military had somewhat more choice in their duty. Never been in the military, but, if you enjoy your duty, I can't imagine another "c*reer" would pay as much as a 20 to 25 year military salary (with benefits). I Know there are other considerations ("forced" moves, spouse/children desires, etc.) Still, just sayin'...

By the way, thanks for your service!!
I can give you my thoughts on what I was seeing and hearing the last few years before I retired this year. It seems that most of my peers had kids that were getting older, established in schools, sports, etc. along with a very capable wife who is really tired of packing/unpacking, constant turnover of friends, and tired of the long hours and time away that we were doing. Spouses were a huge part of our success. I found out that as I moved up I had less and less choice of what I was going to do and where I was going to do it at.

At the 16 yr point I got tagged do go do something that was not high on my list. I was TDY at the 18yr point and the assignment officer tracks me down with a must fill assignment that I was to be at in 45 days. Now in fairness it was back to the land of gravy teaching at the Air Force Academy as the number of qualified economist in the Air Force was minimal. Many of my friends were not so lucky as they had to go do something painful. Fast forward... you have 10 0-5s with advance degrees, educated career spouses, and no real incentive to try and make 0-6 as we all knew what that would mean for the family. It was kind of funny to see how we were going to rack and stack for the boss. No one wanted to be 1, 2 or 3 at this point. So everyone just waited until they reached 20 or the assignment officer called with a must fill to the middle east. Within a 15 month stretch they hollowed out certain year groups in certain career fields. The guys that had a plan were able to jump off just fine. The ones that didn't were scratching their heads when they had to be in theatre or the 5 sided nut house again in 21 days.

For me I always felt that I was paid fairly for what I was doing. The last 3 yrs I was way over paid for what I did. Its nice to be in the check of the month club now in retirement however the real growth in income and satisfaction is occurring now with what the bridge career affords the family dynamic and the stability we have with our own choices not someone having to put faces with spaces.

For anyone that is finishing up one career of job my advice is for sure take time off and unwind. Mine was about 5 months. That is pretty hard to do for those Type A hard chargers but I think it really makes a difference.

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Old 12-03-2011, 10:25 AM   #9
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I'll take some of these until Parrothead's back:


It can be. But eventually (unless you're a flag officer) everyone hits high-year tenure. For O-4s it's generally 20 years of service. O-5s ~28. O-6s ~30. E-5s 20. E-6s 22. E-7s 24. E-9s and flag officers can generally go 40 years. There are minor variations between services and specialties, and maybe a waiver can be obtained. But those limits apply to 99% of the servicemembers, and even flag officers have to request permission from Congress (literally) to stay past age 62.


.
Nords or others in the know-

Any idea if these same rough limits apply to reservists?

Thanks,
LB
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Old 12-03-2011, 07:36 PM   #10
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Nords or others in the know-
Any idea if these same rough limits apply to reservists?
Thanks,
LB
I know Navy Reserve pretty well, and it's been all over the map. The drawdown is probably going to make the Reserve HYT limits no longer than active duty.

Your NOSC should be able to dig up a HYT message somewhere (NAVADMIN? ALNAV?) with the latest limits.

Of course getting promoted would neatly evade the HYT limits. Best advice is to be ready to put in your waiver request about a year before you hit a limit. If you have niche skills or if you're partway through an extended mobilization then you might be waived.

For example, the Navy used to link Reserve promotions to active-duty promotions. That link was killed off a few years ago but the statistics are still in the system. My spouse and I personally know a Reserve officer that was selected to 0-6 on the 7th (that's S-E-V-E-N-T-H) look. I don't know what happened to put that officer over the top. On the active duty side it would be two looks and you're done.

But even that active-duty rule might have exceptions. One of my O-6 classmates has 29+ years of service. He'll be required to retire (probably with the rest of the USNA '82 O-6s at the Academy's mass retirement ceremony) next June.

However... he was an aircraft carrier CO. After that tour, he was abruptly recalled from shore duty to take over a second aircraft carrier command after their CO was fired. It was a tough job, too, because it was right before the deployment. After that tour, he was abruptly recalled from shore duty again to take command for a CO who literally dropped dead of a medical emergency. He's getting his third carrier ready for deployment.

Three aircraft carrier commands. I think that's one for the history books, definitely since WWII ended. His "last look" for flag officer is next month. Maybe he's finally proven to the selection board that he's ready to answer the call.
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Old 12-03-2011, 07:41 PM   #11
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Maybe he's finally proven to the selection board that he's ready to answer the call.
Short of compromising photos of the entire JCS, what else could he possibly need?
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Old 12-03-2011, 08:39 PM   #12
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But I was under the impression that many (maybe most) long-service military personnel are more "desk" oriented than combat oriented. Also, I was under the impression that long-service military had somewhat more choice in their duty... I Know there are other considerations ("forced" moves, spouse/children desires, etc.) Still, just sayin'...

By the way, thanks for your service!!
How about 3 weeks notice to mobilize to Baghdad for 1 year; senior officer (O6) "desk" job including jaunts all over Iraq, etc, etc.

Retiring (from Navy Reserve) in June after 29 years!
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Old 12-03-2011, 08:45 PM   #13
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How about 3 weeks notice to mobilize to Baghdad for 1 year; senior officer (O6) "desk" job including jaunts all over Iraq, etc, etc.

Retiring (from Navy Reserve) in June after 29 years!
No pictures, eh?

As was stated above, thank you for your 29 years of service.
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Old 12-03-2011, 09:03 PM   #14
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In that article from 2008, Admiral Harvey complains that there aren't enough O-6's, but over the past year or 2, the Navy is forcing O-5's out before they hit their high-year tenure via SERAD boards (selective early release from active duty), and has also been working on lowering the HYT for O-5's and O-6's. I am fairly certain that not much has changed as far as the unfilled billets at the O-6 level, as well as O-5 and even O-4.

Then again, when has the Navy ever done a great job managing its people?
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Old 12-03-2011, 09:47 PM   #15
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Nords or others in the know-

Any idea if these same rough limits apply to reservists?

Thanks,
LB

Speaking only about the Air Force reserves...not really. At least on the enlisted end. Pretty much, regardless of rank, you can stay until they kick you out for reaching your high year of tenure, currently 33 years or age 60 (whichever comes first) for enlisted. That applies whether the member is an E-5 or an E-9. Not every position in a reserve unit, in fact...MANY positions in a reserve unit simply aren't designed to allow the person occupying it to rise all the way in rank to E-9. Many enlisted reservists end up retiring as E-6 or E-7's. A good number do make it to E-8, and some, but definitely fewer, go on to see E-9. More heavily-populated career fields such as aircraft maintenance, munitions, security forces etc. provide greater opportunity for promotion, but many smaller specialities not so much. EOD, or Explosive Ordnance Disposal, for example, is one of those specialties with relatively small numbers of personnel assigned, and therefore much less opportunity to advance in rank. In the Air Force, even active duty EOD personnel routinely retire at the E-6 rank. The opportunity for promotion is relative to the population of the career field.

Edit:

I felt I should add that there are some instances that key personnel may be waivered and allowed to extend their enlistment for a short time beyond the high-year-of-tenure limits that apply to most reservists. Also, it's possible that things may have changed some since I retired from the reserves in the last couple of years, so I'll defer to anybody who has more current information.
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Old 12-04-2011, 10:13 PM   #16
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In that article from 2008, Admiral Harvey complains that there aren't enough O-6's, but over the past year or 2, the Navy is forcing O-5's out before they hit their high-year tenure via SERAD boards (selective early release from active duty), and has also been working on lowering the HYT for O-5's and O-6's. I am fairly certain that not much has changed as far as the unfilled billets at the O-6 level, as well as O-5 and even O-4.
Then again, when has the Navy ever done a great job managing its people?
One of LinkedIn's USNA groups has "discovered" that the JO detailers are discharging O-1s who aren't making it through the training pipeline-- not just nuclear but also aviation and even a few surface warriors.

An unsubstantiated comment was made that USNA invests $420K of taxpayer's money in them before they flunk their follow-on training. I thought it wasn't a penny over $250K but the "great job managing its people" comment still applies...
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