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Vacation in Iraq! Retire Early!
Old 07-05-2005, 08:56 PM   #1
 
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Vacation in Iraq! Retire Early!

I just got a touchy-feely from one of our long time contractors about a stint (1 year contract, renewable) in Iraq.* Though Iraq is not on my top-10 list of destinations, I am single, and the compensation is attractive--well north of $200K/annum.* My employer would take care of virtually all of the living expenses, and the job is in a (relatively) secure zone.

Has anyone ever considered war-zone employment as an ER strategy?
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Re: Vacation in Iraq! Retire Early!
Old 07-05-2005, 09:05 PM   #2
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Re: Vacation in Iraq! Retire Early!

Power plant control systems - 400k/annum - lasted six weeks - before their convoy got shot up - Iraqis died saving their buts - bad back - last seen over 8 mo.'s over at the dougnut shop talking about finding a good hospital for a back operation(no insurance).

Retired telephone guy passed on Iraq, and the retired Army motor pool Sarge passed on Turkey. This was all over a year ago.
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Re: Vacation in Iraq! Retire Early!
Old 07-05-2005, 09:21 PM   #3
 
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Understood. I think.

Well now I think I've been dissed and offered minimum wage at $248K. However, it is a green-zone/airport position, with no ventures out into the bucolic countryside.

tozz
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Re: Vacation in Iraq! Retire Early!
Old 07-05-2005, 09:40 PM   #4
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Re: Vacation in Iraq! Retire Early!

Sequel - The telephone guy was a hurricane junkie - during work years - always volunteered for the extra crews supplied to other utilities. After early retirement - took stints at resorts working comm. systems in Alaska and Hawaii - built a 'summer home' in Tennesee with 'hillbilly girlfriend' as he puts it - will be back in Sept.

Sarge - Greenland, Saudi, Moscow - contractor jobs to name a few - lived high - now in a trailer park working down the last of his credit card bills.
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Re: Vacation in Iraq! Retire Early!
Old 07-05-2005, 10:44 PM   #5
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Re: Vacation in Iraq! Retire Early!

Quote:
Originally Posted by tozz
My employer would take care of virtually all of the living expenses, and the job is in a (relatively) secure zone.
Make sure that they will take care of all the funeral expenses, just in case.
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Re: Vacation in Iraq! Retire Early!
Old 07-06-2005, 02:06 AM   #6
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Re: Vacation in Iraq! Retire Early!

Questions I would ask first :-
Will it drastically reduce your time to ER?
Or will the 250k be eaten away by taxes paid to uncle sam?
Do you already work in a major city on a possible WMD hit list?
Yes its a mad idea, but it might actually be safer than working in Saudi these days . . . and unless you're a senior exec, trader or self made CEO - that kind of money is hard to come by . . .
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Re: Vacation in Iraq! Retire Early!
Old 07-06-2005, 05:52 AM   #7
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Re: Vacation in Iraq! Retire Early!

Quote:
Originally Posted by tozz
I just got a touchy-feely from one of our long time contractors about a stint (1 year contract, renewable) in Iraq.* Though Iraq is not on my top-10 list of destinations, I am single, and the compensation is attractive--well north of $200K/annum.* My employer would take care of virtually all of the living expenses, and the job is in a (relatively) secure zone.

Has anyone ever considered war-zone employment as an ER strategy?
I worked for a number of years in Kuwait post the first Gulf War and also spent several months in Saudi Arabia and Iran with numerous shorter business trips out to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Bahrain. I know the area pretty well. Several times I have been offered up to US$25,000 per month to go to Iraq. Turned them all down. No amount of money would get me to go there at the moment. Seriously, a million a week is not enough, IMHO.
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Re: Vacation in Iraq! Retire Early!
Old 07-06-2005, 06:07 AM   #8
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Re: Vacation in Iraq! Retire Early!

I who has no health insurance would check it out - should you live. There is a big deductible - first ?K of income.

The current real rumber needs to be researched as well as the time limitations/IRS fine print. Doughnut shop B.S. only goes so far.

Basically - the bulk of the guys who took oversea's contracts and adhered strictly to the IRS current rules at the time - ended up with a big chunk of change.

The savers saved and the spenders spent - the normal human condition.

Then - there is: How ya gonna get'em back to Louisiana after they've seen Saudi. Heh, heh, - a little parady from the oil patch guys.

BTY - they say Saudi is a little dicey now also. But again - that's doughnut shop B.S. You can become a contract junkie - once you've tasted the money.
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Re: Vacation in Iraq! Retire Early!
Old 07-06-2005, 06:47 AM   #9
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Re: Vacation in Iraq! Retire Early!

Having a son currently serving in Baghdad, I only have one question for you. When was the last time you saw an American Soldier kidnapped and beheaded? Oh, right that would be the CIVILIANS!!! they are doing that to.
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Re: Vacation in Iraq! Retire Early!
Old 07-06-2005, 11:24 AM   #10
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Re: Vacation in Iraq! Retire Early!

One word... "BOOM!"
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Re: Vacation in Iraq! Retire Early!
Old 07-06-2005, 11:26 AM   #11
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Re: Vacation in Iraq! Retire Early!

KathMorgan: I made my previous post before really reading yours -- it's supposed to be cute but there's nothing cute about having a loved one over there.

Best wishes for your son's safety and quick return.

Caroline

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Re: Vacation in Iraq! Retire Early!
Old 07-06-2005, 11:37 AM   #12
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Re: Vacation in Iraq! Retire Early!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Honkie
I worked for a number of years in Kuwait post the first Gulf War and also spent several months in Saudi Arabia and Iran with numerous shorter business trips out to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Bahrain. I know the area pretty well.
HONKIE:
How did you set about locating work in those parts?
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Re: Vacation in Iraq! Retire Early!
Old 07-06-2005, 01:30 PM   #13
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Re: Vacation in Iraq! Retire Early!

Quote:
Originally Posted by tozz
Has anyone ever considered war-zone employment as an ER strategy?
Yes.* It works great as long as you're planning to win the no-disability survivor's lottery.* I should warn you that hazardous duty pay, combat pay, hostile fire pay, and whatever-you-call-it pay is not worth the cost of possibly having to actually earn it.* And I say that despite earning all of mine underwater.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tozz
Well now I think I've been dissed and offered minimum wage at $248K.* However, it is a green-zone/airport position, with no ventures out into the bucolic countryside.
Gosh, it must be great to have a combat-immune zone in the middle of the firefight.* I wonder, did the insurgents guarantee that "green zone" thing?* Or does the military promise to sternly admonish the insurgents if somebody mistakenly attacks the green zone and you're hurt/killed?

I know a Halliburton employee who's an oilfield troubleshooter.* He's considered experienced & expensive enough that he goes in-country with a bodyguard and a team of shooters.* (Hopefully they're instructed to shoot other people, not him.)* He's been out of the U.S. for several years and has accumulated considerable savings.* He's also stressed over caring for his indigent mother, a survivor of a bitter divorce, out of touch with his teenage daughter, and generally adrift from his friends and his life's interests.* Buy, hey, the money's good and he has a lot of great stories!* Considering his "living expenses" (parental care, alimony, child support, absentee homeowner) he could probably do better in the U.S. with a "real" job and LBYM.

Ironically they yanked him out of Nigeria because it was "too dangerous" and sent him to Iraq.

What kind of "benefits" would you receive at this job?* The military is now offering $400K term life insurance, $100K death benefit, unlimited/lifetime medical care (including some of the world's most experienced physical rehabilitation experts), body armor (not available in all areas, call first for details), vehicle armor (see previous disclaimer, your mileage may vary), and even disability retirement.* Maybe you really are being offered minimum wage (for a maximum sacrifice).

IOW, man, there's a reason that the military is paying suckers highly-motivated civilians like you to do that job.* Unless you're a veteran with infantry combat experience who can join a team of similarly-experienced mercenaries to cover your backside, I'd advise keeping your day job.* But that's just the opinion of a guy who's happily enjoying his new tour of duty as an ER REMF.
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Re: Vacation in Iraq! Retire Early!
Old 07-06-2005, 08:21 PM   #14
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Re: Vacation in Iraq! Retire Early!

My wife's old boss took the job as manager of Bagdad Intl for a year. Don't know what the salary was, but he retired from a six figure job to take it. He did his year, no problems, and then got a cushy contract in the caribbean I believe.

Beachbumz* 8)
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Re: Vacation in Iraq! Retire Early!
Old 07-06-2005, 08:32 PM   #15
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Re: Vacation in Iraq! Retire Early!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ER@40
HONKIE:
How did you set about locating work in those parts?
ER@40 - I applied to all the companies that were awarded contracts, likely to be awarded contracts or in the industries that were generally involved in rebuilidng / rehabilitation work. Then basically took the first job that was offered and got on a plane. Once there, the other jobs followed on through local knowledge and contacts in the region met through work. The situation in post war Kuwait was very very different from the current situation in Iraq (and Afghanistan).
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Re: Vacation in Iraq! Retire Early!
Old 07-06-2005, 09:28 PM   #16
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Re: Vacation in Iraq! Retire Early!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords

Gosh, it must be great to have a combat-immune zone in the middle of the firefight.* I wonder, did the insurgents guarantee that "green zone" thing?* Or does the military promise to sternly admonish the insurgents if somebody mistakenly attacks the green zone and you're hurt/killed?

I know a Halliburton employee who's an oilfield troubleshooter.* He's considered experienced & expensive enough that he goes in-country with a bodyguard and a team of shooters.*
I am by no means an expert on the area, but I had a buddy that just got back from a 6 month stint in the Green zone.* He pretty much said you stay where you are supposed to be and the ride from the airport to the compound was the most exciting few min of his life.*

He sent me video clips of* some of the shooters outside the greenzone*riding down the road in big SUVs.* IEDs are going off and these guys are calm as can be.* Car parts are raining down on the vehicles.* It was like something out of Mad Max.*

He talked about the occasional mortor or rocket attack in the greenzone and he actually wants to go back.* Most of the attacks now appear to be between the Sunnis and the Shiites trying to plunge the country into a civil war.*

JDW

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Re: Vacation in Iraq! Retire Early!
Old 07-06-2005, 09:36 PM   #17
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Re: Vacation in Iraq! Retire Early!

Quote:
Originally Posted by tozz


Has anyone ever considered war-zone employment as an ER strategy?
No chance, besides the danger element what are you going to do when you are not working? I doubt if there is going to be much of interest there.*
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Re: Vacation in Iraq! Retire Early!
Old 07-06-2005, 10:28 PM   #18
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Re: Vacation in Iraq! Retire Early!

Quote:
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IOW, man, there's a reason that the military is paying suckers highly-motivated civilians like you to do that job. Unless you're a veteran with infantry combat experience who can join a team of similarly-experienced mercenaries to cover your backside, I'd advise keeping your day job.
The only person I know of who has made this work is just such a person - the friend-of-a-friend who is a retired Special Forces with 25+ years combat experience.

Disability would be a major concern for me. I know a few military guys who have been seriously wounded in Iraq and they are receiving good care and lifetime compensation. As disabled veterans they also have the backing of powerful lobbying groups to ensure those benefits stay put. No guarantees, even for veterans, but I don't see people getting too sentimental over wounded contractors making 6 figures either.

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Re: Vacation in Iraq! Retire Early!
Old 07-07-2005, 07:45 AM   #19
 
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IOW, man, there's a reason that the military is paying suckers highly-motivated civilians like you to do that job.
Thanks for the expression of concern, Nords.* I'm toying with different options, that's all.* Several current co-workers have performed repeat details in Iraq, and I'm under no illusions.* And they did it for GS-14/15 pay.* They might bristle a bit at being called suckers, rather than incredibly dedicated individuals.* The particular position is in a relatively secure zone, with the main excitement getting from the airport to the green zone.* *
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Re: Vacation in Iraq! Retire Early!
Old 07-07-2005, 08:03 AM   #20
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Re: Vacation in Iraq! Retire Early!

Guess what? There is no right answer - inform yourself as best you can - bet on red, or bet on black, or pass.

Relative to 'staying down on the farm so to speak' - the retiree's I talk to - have generally postive comments - admitedly we dealing with survivorship bias here.

One older retiree I know has a 40 something son - reservist over there - and his small business(he is a chef/caterer) is suffering mightily.

Soooo - sort thru the nuts and bolts - let us know what you decide.

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