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Navy Chief Petty Officer reporting for duty (or lack off)
Old 05-06-2008, 05:54 PM   #1
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Navy Chief Petty Officer reporting for duty (or lack off)

Hi All,

I have been lurking for a few weeks, and love reading all the good info from others who have been fortunate enough to "pull the plug"
I will be transferring to the Fleet Reserve this December 31 2008 and joining the ranks of the military pension system.
My stats:

- Navy Chief Petty Officer - 20 years 7 months in December 08.

- Operation Enduring Freedom War Veteran - Spent 8 months on the frontlines in Afghanistan helping the Army do some Logistics work. Mortar shelling veteran...NOT FUN...IT MISSED BUT STILL TOO CLOSE!

- Divorced (just fell out of love..but we are great friends and still go out to dinner, watch baseball games, etc..)

- No children

- Ex wife is NOT going after my retirement or TSP

- Currently have $50K in TSP (L 2030 fund) and $6K in IRA. Also have $25K in Money Market account.

- Renting home

- No car payment..still driving a 1997 Toyota 4Runner w/ 168K miles on it.

- No credit card bills (pay them off monthly)

- "Max"ing out my TSP/IRA to meet the maximum for 2008 (ie...$15,500/$5,000)

- Have a Bachelors Degree in Operations Management. I still have ALL of my GI Bill left because I used Tuition Assistance for my schooling. My field in the Navy is Supply/Logistics.

My current plan is to move to NM, where I have a girlfriend (who has 3 teenagers). She rents a home, and I will be paying my fair share. She works (gets about $1K/mo) and gets $2,250/mo in Child support.
I want to just relax and not do anything!!! My ultimate dream would be to just work at the local golf course and umpire High School/Junior High/Little League sports.
I am also looking to go back to school and use my GI Bill to get a Masters in Sports Administration and see what happens.
I am not a big spender. I can be frugal, but I am not overly frugal. I think I can do it!
What do you think?

Looking forward to great conversation!

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Old 05-06-2008, 06:31 PM   #2
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Hey Chief! Welcome to the boards. Sounds like you have a fairly unencumbered life, although 3 teenage kids sounds as if it could be a bit expensive.

It would be helpful if you could provide a little xtra details, such as:

-your age, I am guessing you are in the 40yr neighborhood
-what is your retirement income going to be?
-In NM are you going to be near a military base (for medical)
-What is your "fair share" of the rent
-Do you expect to work (sounds like you do), if so, what type of income are you looking to generate.
-Do you have any concrete expectations of what your actual expenses will look like when you get to NM?

regards, Kevin
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Old 05-06-2008, 06:38 PM   #3
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Hey Kevin,

Thanks for the reply....

1) I am 39, and will be 40 this November

2) Retirement pay is $1975/mo (Gross)

3) I will be near a base (Cannon AFB)

4) My fair share will be approx $500 + utilities

5) Currently, I am gonna take some time off and just chill out and see if going back to school is an option. Also, will be submitting applications for a Govt job at the base. If that doesn't pan out, part time/seasonal work (umpiring/golf course maint) is my plan.

6) Not real sure about the expenses at the moment. I guess I am just gonna take a "sabbatical" and see what happens.

With $40K in GI Bill and 10 years to use it, I might as well try to use it.

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Old 05-06-2008, 07:25 PM   #4
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Welcome to the forum. I grew up in a Navy family and sometimes wish I'd made a career of it, but went in another direction. Thanks for your service. Enjoy the new life!
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Old 05-06-2008, 07:42 PM   #5
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Welcome to the board, Erik.

I guess your challenge would be to spend less than $1975/month, every month, including taxes and occasional lump-sum expenses. Speaking of taxes, you'll have to keep a budget eye on whatever NM charges for state & local taxes.

It's especially critical in your case because you don't have much of a safety net in your TSP, IRA, & savings. You could plug your expenses into FIRECalc and see how you're doing with the occasional new vehicle or blowout vacation, but generally if you spend less than your income then FIRECalc will assign you a 100% success rating. Sabbatical is no problem.

You might prefer Bob Clyatt's semi-retirement lifestyle of "Work Less, Live More". I'm not sure how much of a stipend (if anything) the GI Bill will pay during your master's degree but that's still a great deal. The best reference I've ever found for that is Chris Michel's "Your Military Advantage" (he's the founder of and there's probably a copy at the local Navy Campus office. Once you have your master's you'd be surprised how many places will hire you at a higher paygrade for your advanced degree, including public high schools and private schools. Of course the civil-service work could also lead to a second pension, and a master's degree could boost you a grade or two there as well.

An shipmate retired in 2000 as an E-6 with essentially your savings and your divorce/significant other experience. He's been working part-time (not so hard, not so much) and he's had no problems.

A couple things... you're under High Three and not Final Pay, right? If you had enough broken or Reserve service to be Final Pay then hanging around until the January pay raise could put an extra buck or two in your pension. But the High Three difference is negligible.

If you have the option to leave your money in the TSP then do so. You'll never have a lower expense ratio, not even at Vanguard. Since you're getting a pension and probably not touching the TSP for a few years (like 20 or 30!) you might want to consider shifting your allocation to more stocks. Your balance will be more volatile but your returns over the long term will probably be higher. But if the volatility would mess with your peace of mind then L2030 is just fine.

Is there something in your divorce decree that would keep ex-spouse from coming back after you someday, or are you at the mercy of her sense of fair play? The reason I ask is because if she had a healthcare/financial disaster then she could reluctantly conclude that your pension is her only salvation. Many states, California being among the worst, might agree with her. If you've been stationed in CA (or if NM has a similar legal position) then you could be under jeopardy. I don't have a good answer but I've seen too many breakups start out amicably and then head south.

Since you're retiring near a military base, you'll want to check in with the VA as soon as you have your new residency/driver's license. Your pension might be low enough to entitle you to freebies, or they might even find you eligible for disability. Just getting a VA certificate of 0% (yes, zero percent) disability used to be worth a free college tuition in CA, and similar benefits might exist in NM. Regardless you'll want to register with the VA (even if you get nothing from them) because their funding depends on the number of veterans living in their service area.

If you sell back a bunch of leave you'll want to make sure you have taxes withheld or that you pay estimated taxes on 15 Jan. The IRS snaps up a lot of retired veterans on this.

Co-author (with my daughter) of “Raising Your Money-Savvy Family For Next Generation Financial Independence.”
Author of the book written on "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement."

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Old 05-07-2008, 01:28 AM   #6
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Welcome to the board.
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Old 05-31-2008, 09:46 AM   #7
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I have scanned that book at the bookstore and will be ordering it. Looks like a great book and might fit me well. As of right now, I am starting terminal leave in October with Dec 31 as my official date. I will be finishing up my last 6 semester hours for my Bachelor's Degree right after the 1st of 2009, and then seeing what happens with my Master's. I also have been in contact with the local golf course and they have said they might have some part time work..TALK ABOUT THE LIFE!!! I also am going to begin umpiring high school baseball games and then other sports. I would love to get a Master's in Sports Administration or similar. You know as well as I...doing something you HAVE to do for 20+ years seems alot different that doing something you WANT to do! NO morning quarters, NO advancement exams, NO selection boards, NO underway, NO sleeping in tents, etc... I am so ready for that!

Yes, I am under High Three and the difference for staying another month is only $17. Considering my unit will be prepping up for a deployment, the earlier I get out of there, the better. I want them to realize I am out of the picture!

I am not touching my TSP. It will stay in there till 59 1/2 at the earliest. It is cheaper than alot of portfolio management companies, and I am trying to put the max in it till December. I had it in 2040 for most of the last 3 years, but recently moved it to 2030. After doing some research, it fits me a little better. But I am aggressive not passive when it comes to that. I like taking challenges..

My divorce decree does state that we can't touch each others retirements. She is a Nurse Practitioner with vested retirement options. She has her own benefits, so she will be fine. Her family is also very well off, so no worries there. She won't need Tricare, etc.. We are very good friends and still see each other for dinner, baseball games and help each other out if we need a ride to the airport, etc.. Why fight? We just grew apart, but still good friends.

Defintely reporting to the VA when I get to NM. I have RETAP this coming week, so I am sure alot more information will be beneficial with regards to that.

Not selling back any leave. I am taking approx 60 days leave and 20 days permissive TDY (house/job hunting).

I just am burned out from doing this for 20+ years. I love the Navy, but when I got back from Afghanistan and my mother passing away soon as I got back and didn't make E-8 for the 5th time, I realized my motivation isn't there anymore to do what I needed to do to advance and have fun. I think I just need a little time off to get my feet back on solid ground and have some fun doing what I longed to do in my life....PLAY GOLF AND ENJOY SPORTS..

What could be better than working at a golf course, umpiring games, taking online courses for a Master's in Sports Administration?

Heck, I have $40K in GI Bill money and medical/dental/exchange/commissary privileges for life...
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Old 05-31-2008, 05:11 PM   #8
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Dont' rule out going into the reserves. I'm an Air Force reservist, rank of E-7. I did 4 1/2 yrs active duty, then went civil service and AF reserves, which means I'll get both pensions. A prior service, retired enlisted person can go into the reserves, and potentially progress further in rank. I know a guy who retired E-7 from the Air Force, and came back into our reserve unit and made E-8. I don't know the details about what he might have to give up in the short term, but I do know it will be more than made up when he retires again.

As for a civil service job, that's a great way to go if you're so inclined. What I want to convey to you, though is this: You may have to initially take a job that you feel is way less than your qualifications, just to get your foot in the door. There are lots of civil service jobs out there, and many times more applicants for most of them. Everybody who comes out of active duty feeling highly qualified expects to land a job comensurate with what they were doing/earning in the military.

Sometimes it works out that way, but from what I've seen more times not so. It may seem demeaning for you to condiser accepting a job at, for instance, an Air Force Base commissary, but I'm telling you, with all seriousness, that can be your springboard to anyplace within government service that you want to go. That's just an example, but it's an example of one of the easier doors to enter through. Your mileage may vary....I'm just saying if you put in applications for GS-11 & higher jobs for awhile because you feel qualified, and it's not working out, consider taking a look at the lower end of the scale, just to get started. It's not hard to move up once you have career status, provided you have something to offer.

I'm currently getting referrals to DCMA, the Defense Contracting Management Agency, looking for an upward movement from my current position. When I get a job with them, it will be my last assignment because I intend to retire in 4 1/2 years. I'm simply looking to increase my high-three average so my retirement check will be a lil' healthier. Also, when I get to the big 6-0, that military retirement check will kick in as well. Best of luck to you.
“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”
-John F. Kennedy

“Hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance?” - Edgar Bergen
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Old 05-31-2008, 06:49 PM   #9
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I would check the dental benefits - I think they only go for a year (unless deemed service connected problems exist). Go over your medical records carefully and bring up any and all past problems at the exit physical - it can impact your future (as Nords has already indicated one possibility). IMO you should go for the post-AD education benefits - you may even want to get a second bachelors degree before heading for the Masters. You are young enough to spend a few years going to school and hopefully you will find a Government position in which it will benefit you greatly. Anyway, welcome to the board, and I wish you good luck in your post-AD life.
Vietnam Veteran, CW4 USA, Retired 1979
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Old 06-01-2008, 02:32 PM   #10
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Something to consider:
- If you don't get a govt job at the AF base, see what contractors provide services to the base. It sounds like your combination of logistics experience plus your bachelors degree would make you attractive to a contractor who provides logistics support to the base.
- Generally speaking, many contractor jobs are very much like govt jobs with a few exceptions (which I'll note below). Just be sure, if you're trying to keep your life low-stress, you take the type of job where you're direct labor (performing a task for which the govt is paying the contractor for your skill/time) as opposed to indirect labor (where you'd have to market, prepare proposals, develop new business, etc.)
- Depending on what the contract scene is there, you might be able to work for a year or two, take a hiatus and get hired by another contractor or hired back by the first contractor. Also, if you impress the govt client, contract work can also be a foot in the door for govt employment.
- Contractors generally get higher pay than the civil service types doing the same job, but have far less job security. Contractors get fewer overall bennies (only two weeks vacation, for example). But it can be a great way to sock money away for a few years if you find you need to by maxing out the 401K. Plus, since you will have either TRICARE or medical care at the base, you won't have to worry about getting health insurance through the contractor plan.

I worked, on and off, for contractors for 6 years after retiring from the Navy. I was always a "manager" of some sort and I didn't really like the work that much. But I always thought my guys who had the "deckplate level" jobs had a good deal.

Best of luck. The fact that you have an inflation-adjusted lifetime pension and very inexpensive (or free) medical care puts you in a position the majority of early retirement aspirants would kill for.
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Old 06-01-2008, 03:07 PM   #11
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I'd look very close at the reserve option in your new location. Wish I had done it when I separated from the Navy. The Navy tried really hard to talk be into it. but new employer discouraged it, and foolish me listen to new employer instead of my gut. And shot, I could have had a boat ride every year! Messed up on that one and many others too along the way.

I know a guy who retired to help at the golf course. He enjoys it most of the time I think, but he's much older than you. Their is very little stress in his "job", but the income is insignificant: golf privileges, priceless.

I like the idea of a low-level civil service position on the base. Nothing like a double government pension to make ends meet.

Welcome aboard, and think through it all carefully.
Can't you see yourself in the nursing home saying, " Darn! Wish I'd spent more time at the office instead of wasting time with family and friends."
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Old 06-01-2008, 03:44 PM   #12
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I'm not Boxkicker, but a couple posters have commented on retiring from the Navy and/or going into the Reserves.

I'd never heard of being able to retire from the military into the Reserves, but the Air Force does have a program for it. As far as I know the Navy does not. I've heard of one (and only one) Marine who retired from active duty (22 years) and then was able to volunteer for mobilization-- but he's an electrical utility engineer who was put in charge of dropping the Fallujah electrical grid before the battle started, and then in charge of putting it back together again afterward. And when I was in college with the guy he made Chesty Puller look like a slacker.

As the Chief knows all too well, any Navy guy who knows anything about logistics is immediately mobilized for the desert to backfill a Marine or soldier. Retiring or separating from active duty and going Reserve IRR is the only way that I'm aware of to minimize that risk.

"Minimize", not avoid. A Navy transfer to the Fleet Reserve (instead of a 30-year retirement) or to the Reserve IRR is still no guarantee against being mobilized. Heck, even my retirement orders have a "at the pleasure of the President" clause...

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Old 06-01-2008, 08:22 PM   #13
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Nords, you are correct...You can't go back in the Reserves once you Fleet Reserve. I know all about Reserves since I have been TAR/FTS for the last 16 years of my 20 years. Tell your wife..."DAMN RESERVISTS..they always kept me from the football games once a month" Thank gosh I had TV in my office

I will definitely apply for a base job. I have scanned the usajobs website and will be getting more information this week in RETAP.

I am gonna find the job I want...not have to have.
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Old 06-02-2008, 09:49 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Boxkicker View Post
Tell your wife..."DAMN RESERVISTS..they always kept me from the football games once a month" Thank gosh I had TV in my office
Don't even get me started. Spouse spent most of her Reserve time in a PACOM unit whose (relatively senior) drilling members mostly fly here from the Mainland. Messing with drill weekend dates was a major political affair and the PACOM flags felt free to tinker with it whenever they got lonely needed more people for exercises or crisis-action-team watchstanding.

Did you hear about the TAR E-6 personnel specialist Sailor of the Year who was helping her (civilian) spouse run a meth lab in base housing? That was our Honolulu Rerserve Center, I mean NOSC. Very articulate & charming lady. She's probably running PSD Leavenworth by now.

Originally Posted by Boxkicker View Post
I will definitely apply for a base job. I have scanned the usajobs website and will be getting more information this week in RETAP.
It's been a few years since my TAP, and I look forward to hearing your impressions of this week. Please post them for us or PM me! I quickly learned to bring my service & medical records to give me something to do during the briefs, to keep my head down, and to keep my mouth shut. You can probably get all your questions answered during the breaks or after class...

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Author of the book written on "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement."

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