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Old 08-04-2012, 09:14 PM   #61
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Yes, buying back makes sense if you plan to stay around for a while. The immediate bonus is you get much more leave, bumping you from 4 hours a pay period to 6. You get 8 per pay period at 15 years.

Reserve retirement doesn't affect civil service retirement, so you can buy back your time with no worries. I am a gray area retiree and bought back my (pitiful) small amount of active duty (basic, AIT, Officer school).

Check out www.opm.gov, the FERS retirement section. There are many different retirement options, from Minimum Retirement Age, age 60 with 30 years, etc.

Note that you can pay back your time with installments via payroll deduction. That may be a good option at least until you get your 1 year probation period done.

I just wanted to mention that doing the buy back is a smart move, however, it will have no bearing on OP's Annual Leave. If OP already has 14.5 yrs active duty, they should get the 8 hrs per pay period when they reach a total of 15 yrs. When I separated from active duty with 4 1/2 yrs and went to work as a fed, I immediately started out with 6 hrs, due to already having the 4.5 yrs time behind me. I'm CSRS, and so buying back my time was a no-brainer seeing as how it added a total of 9% to my retirement (when I retire) and even though I waited several years past the no-interest period, I will still recoup my $8236 in just over 2 yrs post-retirement.
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Old 08-04-2012, 09:37 PM   #62
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I get 39% of my High Three average civilian pay for life though indexing the benefit doesn't start until I'm 62. There's also an option, with a reduction in annuity, that is like military SBP; lets my spouse get 50% of my civil service annuity if I die first. I bought back ~20.5 yrs for civil service. Your Minimum Retirement Age (MRA), 57 sounds about right for you, is when you can get an unreduced retirement. Check the OPM site; you can retire earlier than MRA if you meet specific age/years standards, but with a reduction or delay in annuity. I retired at 58.5 years oid. That means I get my civilian annuity now, but not my military annuity until the beginning of 2014. For health care, I keep my FEHB Blue Cross coverage until I'm a retired military guy when I'll suspend (not cancel) my FEHB coverage and go to Tricare. I don't know much about your situation...location, job, support for your military participation from your civilian leadership, your career desires/plans...but one approach would be to fence some of your severance to buyback your AD time, work until at least MRA (57) and continue your military career, unit or IMA, at least long enough to qualify for a military retirement. As time goes on, other doors may open and you can adjust your plan. As mentioned by Nords, TSP is an outstanding benefit and contributing enough to at least get the 5% matching should be a priority. You also have the new Roth TSP option to ponder. Lastly, if you qualify for a military retirement, I believe DFAS will recoup the pretax amount of your severance pay from your military annuity (max rate of 40% of the monthly amount) once you start receiving that check. Check this link for the DFAS guidance: http://comptroller.defense.gov/fmr/07b/07b_04.pdf.
Lots of things to consider as you look at choices, but, since you currently have a GS-13 position (I assume a permanent appointment), you have a good platform from which to formulate your plan.
Hi Greg! I am also a former ART. Spent 28 yrs as an ART as a matter of fact, plus 4.5 yrs active duty AF. In 2008, I left the ART world for a job with DCMA. I had always assumed I'd retire as an ART, but in the mid-2000's I just plain felt burned out, and needed a change badly. I turned down an ART position with a new Associate unit at Moody AFB, and instead took a whole new path. I needed the new challenges and can honestly say that 4 yrs later, I know I made the right decision, even though the pay is just catching up. As a consequence of leaving my ART position, I had to retire from the reserves in 2010 due to reaching my high year of tenure. Currently, I have a total of 35 yrs, 3 months. After 33 yrs military I have 4000 retirement points. I'm jealous of your 8000 points! lol. You must have either deployed A LOT, else you had quite a few more active duty years than I did. I'm not 100% sure when I will retire from my federal job, but I'll be eligible in January, 2013. I'm a CSRS employee, so my pension will be really close to 2% of my hi-three average for how ever many years I decide to work. If I retire later next year, that would be around 70% of hi-three. Anyhow, nice to hear from somebody on the board who knows what an ART is...lol. Lot's of folks just look at me funny when I try to explain it. In a lot of ways, it was really the best of both worlds. Those were some of the best years of my life. I have some great memories. I spent my whole career in the fighter & bomber aircraft weapons/armament field. Take care.
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Old 08-05-2012, 10:18 AM   #63
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Marty, I made the move from AD to AFR in the early '90s and had 16+ yrs of AD time which gave me a big leg up on points. It turned out to be a great choice. I'm an airlifter and thoroughly enjoyed 13 short and wonderful yrs at Charleston (AD and AFR) followed by 11+ yrs at Robins. I got to help bring on the C-17, saw many places around the world and worked with great folks in multiple jobs at both locations. Sounds like you made a good decision to disconnect your military and civil service lives. Things change and it's important to recognize when we need to make a move. Based on your background, I would guess you were a Barksdale guy for at least part of your ART life. So far the my experience with the Civil Service retirement process has been OK...not like the horror stories you often read on many forums. While it would have been nice to get a higher interim pay, so far no big issues. I'm keeping my fingers crossed to get finalized quickly and have OPM agree with my AFPC annuity estimate.
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:21 AM   #64
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I bet those lawsuits are just as successful today as they were in 1993. Don't get sucked into that time-wasting drama.
+1. Having practiced civil litigation for >20 years, I can confirm that in the great majority of cases it is a net negative experience.

From both financial and emotional perspectives, you will be better off focusing on your future options than adopting a 'professional victim' status.
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Old 08-13-2012, 04:25 PM   #65
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+1. Having practiced civil litigation for >20 years, I can confirm that in the great majority of cases it is a net negative experience.

From both financial and emotional perspectives, you will be better off focusing on your future options than adopting a 'professional victim' status.
Completely agree...too much wasted energy. Onward and upwards!
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Old 01-03-2013, 01:01 PM   #66
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Update: Happy New Year! It is nice reading through all of the posts from 2011-12. It seems like ages ago. I will reach my one year anniversary in mid-Feb and a step increase. I had the AF do an audit of my prior service points since the point summary was missing my 2011 points. When the smoke cleared, I turned out that I have 19 good years and will reach 20 years in June of this year. I was really stoked to find that out.

I will also meet my O-5 board in 2014. I was shocked to find that out, initially my leadership thought it would be this year, but I need one year on the reserve active-duty list to be eligible to meet the mandatory promotion board. Will keep you posted and thank you for the excellent advice in this thread.
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:29 PM   #67
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Marty, I made the move from AD to AFR in the early '90s and had 16+ yrs of AD time which gave me a big leg up on points. It turned out to be a great choice. I'm an airlifter and thoroughly enjoyed 13 short and wonderful yrs at Charleston (AD and AFR) followed by 11+ yrs at Robins. I got to help bring on the C-17, saw many places around the world and worked with great folks in multiple jobs at both locations. Sounds like you made a good decision to disconnect your military and civil service lives. Things change and it's important to recognize when we need to make a move. Based on your background, I would guess you were a Barksdale guy for at least part of your ART life. So far the my experience with the Civil Service retirement process has been OK...not like the horror stories you often read on many forums. While it would have been nice to get a higher interim pay, so far no big issues. I'm keeping my fingers crossed to get finalized quickly and have OPM agree with my AFPC annuity estimate.
Greg, yep, I did spend a few years at Barksdale...1996 through most of 2008, to be exact. I also worked at Bergstrom AFB in Austin, TX from 1981 through 1995, when the BRAC closed the unit (924th Wing) & the base. Active duty was '77 - '81 at Seymour Johnson AFB, NC. I worked weapons systems on F-4D, F-4E, F-16A/B/C/D, A-10 & B-52 over the years. I never met an explosive device I didn't like...lol. Nuke & conventional, it was all good!

Now, I work for DOD in QA on state-of-the-art missile defense systems, based at a major defense contractor.
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Old 01-05-2013, 09:36 PM   #68
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Update: Happy New Year! It is nice reading through all of the posts from 2011-12. It seems like ages ago. I will reach my one year anniversary in mid-Feb and a step increase. I had the AF do an audit of my prior service points since the point summary was missing my 2011 points. When the smoke cleared, I turned out that I have 19 good years and will reach 20 years in June of this year. I was really stoked to find that out.
I will also meet my O-5 board in 2014. I was shocked to find that out, initially my leadership thought it would be this year, but I need one year on the reserve active-duty list to be eligible to meet the mandatory promotion board. Will keep you posted and thank you for the excellent advice in this thread.
Excellent, Neecy, thanks for the update. You win the game when you get to 20 good years... O-5 is just running up the score!

If you're interested, I'd like to put in a plug for a guest post on The-Military-Guide.com. Or you might want to consider a guest post on Gubmints.com?
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:30 PM   #69
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Excellent, Neecy, thanks for the update. You win the game when you get to 20 good years... O-5 is just running up the score!

If you're interested, I'd like to put in a plug for a guest post on The-Military-Guide.com. Or you might want to consider a guest post on Gubmints.com?
Nords, thanks for chiming in. The audit team found more points from when I started the Army reserves. As of last Friday, I reached 20 years! So happy and can't believe the twists and turns of everything. After seeing a couple of Vietnam and Korean war Veterans still trying to find work, I am very grateful to have this in my pocket.

I would be honored to do a guest post. Let me know what you need from me. Thanks!
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:51 PM   #70
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I would be honored to do a guest post. Let me know what you need from me. Thanks!
Whatever you want, and whenever you want! I think the guest posts that get the strongest response from readers are the ones that share a story. The advantage is that this crowd has never heard your stories before.

Perhaps the post to write would be "How the military discharged me but I still made it to a pension" or "How to start a civil service career after the military". However you probably have many other stories that you feel are more relevant.

You can disclose your identity or remain totally anonymous. Frankly I think that anonymous is better because readers find it easier to personally identify with your story. Readers are less likely to make snarky comments rationalize about services, specialties, ranks, or alma maters.

The guidelines are here: Guest Post Wednesdays and other plans but they're just guidelines. You know how to write and you'll know when you have something that you want to write about. You can send me anything from polished HTML-formatted prose to a JPEG of notes scribbled on a paper napkin. I'll take care of the rest.

You can also seek inspiration by searching the blog for the phrase "Guest Post Wednesday" or by scrolling through the complete list of posts at Post titles by month

The blog is particularly weak on VA medical benefits and MEB/PEB issues. But don't feel obligated to discuss it unless you have something you want to share. I recently identified a highly-placed confidential source at the VA to help me keep my facts straight, but they're pretty busy.

If you feel that your topic is more civil service than military veteran, then Gubmints.com might appreciate first crack at it. But either place is good.
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Force Shaping in FY-2014 ?
Old 02-23-2013, 10:12 PM   #71
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Force Shaping in FY-2014 ?

With the sequester cloud getting lower and lower towards the roof of the Pentagon, I wanted to give this thread a bump.

3 of the 4 services are currently allowing some personnel to retire at less than 20 years (TERA). While the Navy is not doing that, its top officer, the CNO, sent out a memo a few days ago outlining all the cuts that the Navy would make for the rest of fiscal 2013, such as 4 of the 9 air wings going into a shut-down mode, cancelling deployments of specific strike groups, and furloughing civilian personnel. While military personnel are unaffected if Congress fails to make an agreement, he did say that "force shaping measures" would have to be taken in fiscal 2014 to cut costs via reduced end-strength.

What Admiral Greenert means by force shaping is anyone's guess, as no further details were given. I'm hoping that this doesn't end up severely altering my path to FI-RE in the same was as the OP here, but these days nothing seems off the table. At 15.5 years of service, I don't like the light at the end of the tunnel becoming obscured with smoke.
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Old 02-23-2013, 11:30 PM   #72
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Ironically, CNO announced that the Navy could not afford to do civilian RIFs in FY2013, as the up-front bonus 'carrot' payments would cost too much... so the end result is that we keep all the civilians around and pay them all much less via weekly administrative furlough

Not sure if there is parallel logic affecting the AD side (no early retirements/additional TERAs in FY13).
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Old 02-24-2013, 01:11 AM   #73
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Ironically, CNO announced that the Navy could not afford to do civilian RIFs in FY2013, as the up-front bonus 'carrot' payments would cost too much... so the end result is that we keep all the civilians around and pay them all much less via weekly administrative furlough

Not sure if there is parallel logic affecting the AD side (no early retirements/additional TERAs in FY13).
But doesn't a furlough turn into a RIF if it is for more than 30 days?
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Old 02-24-2013, 10:34 AM   #74
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timo2 -

Negative. All that has been announced (for civilians and AD) is that there will be Administrative Furloughs of civilians of up to 22 days/176 hours in FY13.

A primer on OPM Admin Furloughs is here.
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Old 02-24-2013, 01:47 PM   #75
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I am also planning on joining the Reserves, so I can make up the 5 years for a reserve pension.
In the long run this will prove to be one of your smartest moves. When you retire and begin receiving retirement pay (no such thing as a military pension I am told, it's reduced pay for reduced work) your accumulated "retirement points" will pay off.
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Old 08-14-2013, 10:18 PM   #76
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Time for an update. This thread is almost like my diary. I did meet my lt. col. board this year instead of next year. My wing commander told me today that I got picked up for lt. col. and will most likely pin on in October 2013. I am so stoked! Finally, things are lining up. Again, thank you for the wonderful advice in weathering my active duty and reserve career. It has definitely been an eventful journey.
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Old 07-03-2014, 09:19 PM   #77
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This article reminded me of what happened to me three years ago:

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2...m-to-move.html

I hope he finishes his time in the national guard or reserve.

Happy 4th!
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Old 07-04-2014, 02:33 PM   #78
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Hello Nords, I was hoping to hear from you! I have about 19 years of total service, since I started in the Army National Guard. I have about 14.5 years of active duty. I changed my mind about MD a couple of years ago. I still want to move forward and settle in Texas in the near future.

I like the idea of maxing TSP to reduce my taxable income. I had just discontinued it yesterday, so I could shore up money in my transition. I don't think they will let me put everything in TSP. I am leaning more towards preparing myself for the "emergency" of being without an income if I'm unemployed longer than expected.

I loved Japan...left there in 2009 and totally miss it. I will send you a PM with my address. Thanks much for your input/guidance!
Think you need to check your years of total service to make sure you know exactly what you have. About 19 years of service now, could be 20 good retirement years in the reserves when you separate. All you would need to do is transfer to the inactive reserve and request retirement status. Unless you want to pursue a reserve time for promotion or points.
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Old 07-04-2014, 10:04 PM   #79
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Think you need to check your years of total service to make sure you know exactly what you have. About 19 years of service now, could be 20 good retirement years in the reserves when you separate. All you would need to do is transfer to the inactive reserve and request retirement status. Unless you want to pursue a reserve time for promotion or points.
Thanks! I have been in the Reserve since 2012. Glad I returned or I would have walked away from a pension. I have 22 years as of today.
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Old 07-04-2014, 11:44 PM   #80
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Back in 1995 I was discharged with 15+ years of active duty. Ignoring details (get a good lawyer) I got back into reserve status, and finished my 20 in the reserves. Yes, I won't see a military pension until after age 60, and the service recovers all my severance pay… but, for now I have commissary / exchange access, and at 60 TRICARE turns on… it will be years later yet for the pension…
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