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Coming out of the Ashes: Active Duty AF 2.0
Old 09-19-2015, 12:03 PM   #1
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Coming out of the Ashes: Active Duty AF 2.0

Hey everyone!

I was selected for a highly coveted Active Guard Reserve (AGR) position for three years. I will be on probation for one year and then meet the AGR board for selection in the program. I now have 15 years, 6 months and 9 days Total Active Federal Military Service instead of the 14.5 years I thought I had when I separated. I will have sanctuary at 18 years and once you get in the AGR program, to goal is to keep you until retirement.

The position is in the D.C. area and that's where all the high-level civilian jobs are. I can also reclaim my GS-13 position within 5 years. My goal is to stay in the D.C. and get a GS14 or 15 job once I am finished. I am an O-5 and will meet my O-6 board in 2017. My new boss expects me to finish Air War College and with this new position, I should be competitive for O-6. If I do not get selected, then I can finish as an O-5 and get a GS14 or 15 job. Either way, I am in a win-win position and I am so stoked.

If this works out, I will not need to buy my active duty time ($24,400) and ask for my $10,000 back that I have already paid in. I have faithfully maxed out my civilian TSP and not sure if I should switch to a Roth TSP while I am on active-duty since all of my income is not taxed. I don't know if I will like paying the high taxes around tax time. I had an awesome accountant here and may keep him even though I am moving.

I have 216 hours of annual leave from my non-DoD job. My HR does not have a clue but Air Force Personnel Center said I should be able to use the leave since I am federal and will be in Leave Without Pay Status. I can't confirm on OPM. Does anyone know how this could be done?

Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

Since my old thread is 442 days old, I have to create a new one. Here is my background from 2011 until now: Active-duty retirement thwarted...advice needed
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Old 09-20-2015, 01:10 AM   #2
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Congrats Neecy! Glad it is all working out for you. I just left the Pentagon in June and am in Germany now. I like DC, but Pentagon staff jobs are generally all terrible. If you need any assistance picking an area to live, send me a note.
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Old 09-20-2015, 02:09 PM   #3
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First, Neecy, congratulations again! Your career has soared in the last few years!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neecy View Post
Hey everyone!
I was selected for a highly coveted Active Guard Reserve (AGR) position for three years. I will be on probation for one year and then meet the AGR board for selection in the program. I now have 15 years, 6 months and 9 days Total Active Federal Military Service instead of the 14.5 years I thought I had when I separated. I will have sanctuary at 18 years and once you get in the AGR program, to goal is to keep you until retirement.
I'm confused. Does this billet allow you to claim sanctuary and receive an active-duty retirement once you reach 20 years? Or will the Air Force make you sign a sanctuary waiver and stick with the (non-regular) Reserve retirement?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Neecy View Post
If this works out, I will not need to buy my active duty time ($24,400) and ask for my $10,000 back that I have already paid in. I have faithfully maxed out my civilian TSP and not sure if I should switch to a Roth TSP while I am on active-duty since all of my income is not taxed. I don't know if I will like paying the high taxes around tax time. I had an awesome accountant here and may keep him even though I am moving.
More confusion. When you say "all of my income is not taxed", are you saying that all of your pay is tax-free? Or do I misunderstand that phrase?

Regardless of my confusion, the Roth TSP offers the advantage of low (or no) taxes now in exchange for easy rollover to a Roth IRA and avoiding RMDs later. I think the Roth TSP is a good move.
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Old 09-20-2015, 03:38 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords View Post
First, Neecy, congratulations again! Your career has soared in the last few years!!


I'm confused. Does this billet allow you to claim sanctuary and receive an active-duty retirement once you reach 20 years? Or will the Air Force make you sign a sanctuary waiver and stick with the (non-regular) Reserve retirement?



More confusion. When you say "all of my income is not taxed", are you saying that all of your pay is tax-free? Or do I misunderstand that phrase?

Regardless of my confusion, the Roth TSP offers the advantage of low (or no) taxes now in exchange for easy rollover to a Roth IRA and avoiding RMDs later. I think the Roth TSP is a good move.
Thanks! I am so happy that I will be able to finish in a little over 4 years. I will have sanctuary at 18 years.

Yes, you can earn an active duty pension as part of the AGR program.

Since the TSP is tax-deferred, I can reduce my AGI by $18,500. I am afraid of paying my taxes at $104,000 instead of $86,200.
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Old 09-20-2015, 03:40 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HawkeyeNFO View Post
Congrats Neecy! Glad it is all working out for you. I just left the Pentagon in June and am in Germany now. I like DC, but Pentagon staff jobs are generally all terrible. If you need any assistance picking an area to live, send me a note.
Thanks! I have heard the same, but I am grateful for the opportunity.
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Old 09-21-2015, 07:39 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neecy View Post
Thanks! I am so happy that I will be able to finish in a little over 4 years. I will have sanctuary at 18 years.

Yes, you can earn an active duty pension as part of the AGR program.

Since the TSP is tax-deferred, I can reduce my AGI by $18,500. I am afraid of paying my taxes at $104,000 instead of $86,200.
Fantastic. I had no idea the program even existed.

You could take a tax deduction now with the traditional TSP, but will you return to a bridge career after you retire from active duty? If your income goes up after military retirement then it'll make it more difficult to convert the traditional TSP balance to a Roth IRA. In the very long run, you may be more interested in avoiding RMDs and taxation of your Social Security.

There are no easy answers, and it requires considerable long-range income forecasting.
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