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Old 11-22-2019, 01:23 PM   #21
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How many military retirees are on here?
Here! Well, technically I'm on terminal leave retiring officially 1 Jan 2020 after 20 years.

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Did you work after military retirement? If so, did you realy HAVE to work?
Yes, I will start a new career on December 2nd ("double dipping" for a month). I do not need to do THIS specific job, but I would've needed to supplement my pension and wife's income with about $15,000 per year to cover expenses without touching savings or dividend income. Had I been willing to dip into savings or dividends right now, I would not need to work and we probably would've been fine long term.

I am working because I still have energy to do so, and am excited to try my hand in the business world. A unique opportunity came along for me to run a business with substantial compensation immediately after I left the Navy, so I'm taking it. I will do it for at least a year and then re-evaluate things.

There is a distinct possibility that my wife and I will start our own small business, and this experience will definitely help if we choose to go that route. Military retirees are in a great situation for entrepreneurship with health care and guaranteed income already in place.

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Where did you retire to?
We are staying in San Diego, where I was stationed for 10 of my last 12 years and my wife has lived for 15 years.
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Did your pension and any saving cover your lifestyle?
As mentioned above, it would cover us long term. Our expenses are high right now due to paying for in-home child care for our two young daughters, but we could cover that with my wife's income, my pension income, and dividend income if we had chosen to. Once they start school, we can more than cover expected expenses with just pension and either my wife's income or savings.
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Old 11-22-2019, 01:41 PM   #22
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Did 11 years AD followed by 11 years RD in the Navy. Flew in both AD and RD. Worked for defense industry while in RD and invested all my drill pay into the stock market of of the 90's. Retired as an 0-5. Then worked for Megacorp for another 11 years after that. Retired at 60 once the retirement pay started coming in and got Tricare coverage. Worked out just fine.
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Old 11-22-2019, 02:22 PM   #23
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Retired from the Navy at age 50 after 28.5 years of active duty (+ 3.5 years USNR while in college). Took a "sabbatical" before going to work as a "Beltway Bandit" for about 7 years and retired for good on my 58th birthday. Didn't particularly enjoy my BB career but saved/invested a lot by not letting lifestyle creep consume much of my higher income. (I had also been saving/investing modestly for the last half of my Navy career).

We now live primarily on my USN pension plus an occasional dip into our RMDs and SS checks for extras/travel. No debt, own our house outright. Our lifestyle, while not overly extravagant, is more than well covered by our income sources. We travel a lot and don't scrimp on that. Day-to-day living is more modest.

In retrospect I probably didn't have to work after Navy retirement but the extra cushion is nice, particularly since my wife will be left with lower guaranteed income streams if I depart this earth first.

We moved from Baltimore/Washington DC area to Vermont a couple of years after I stopped working and 6 months after my wife did. Lived there 8 years and then relocated to MA 6.5 years ago. Plan to remain here forever.

As others have mentioned, value of TRICARE (prior to MEDICARE) and MEDICARE w/TRICARE for Life supplement after 65 is tremendous.

I seriously considered retiring at 20 but decided to stay longer to accept the final promotion. That additional 8 years added 20% to my retirement multiplier and was applied to a higher base pay. That has also helped considerably.
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Old 11-22-2019, 02:27 PM   #24
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I seriously considered retiring at 20 but decided to stay longer to accept the final promotion. That additional 8 years added 20% to my retirement multiplier and was applied to a higher base pay. That has also helped considerably.
This is a tough decision for a lot of us. It never was for me. I was still "due course" and almost certain to select for O6 in Jan 2020, but being home for family (wife and two young daughters) as well as no longer suspending the things I love doing to go back to sea were bigger priorities to me. I didn't want the next job at all, and didn't really want the job that likely would've come after that, so it was time... and that's what they tell you - when it's time, you'll know. I knew.

I planned to cover the gap between what I would've gotten had I stuck it out for 4 or 5 more years, and if I work in my bridge career for that long, the difference in our spending power is likely to be about 10% or less. The longer I or my wife works, the less and less impactful the difference in the pension becomes as our savings and income streams from that savings start to overwhelm the pension portion. In the end, the pension itself will make up probably 20-30% of our expected spending. The health care is arguably more important.
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Old 11-22-2019, 04:42 PM   #25
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DW retired in 06 as a MSG. I retired in 07 as a LTC. I worked 54 weeks in civil service before deciding to quit. BRAC was coming wasn't gonna move again. Pensions + VA compensation (DW)) + rental income + mortgage note are primary income streams. DW also has some income from travel agent gig .
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Old 11-22-2019, 10:43 PM   #26
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Retired from AF the year my DH got his graduate degree. Followed his career after that.

Sadly, the cost of housing in our location means that my pension is about equal to the amount we pay for mortgage + prop tax + insurance.

Lucky for me that DH is still working...or else I'd need to find another source to pay for utilities, house repairs ... and food!
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Old 11-22-2019, 11:14 PM   #27
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How many military retirees are on here?
Back in 2008 (when I was still drafting The Military Guide) we had 78 servicemembers, vets, & family members sign up for the book’s private group. Not all were retirees, and a few were not veterans. Statistically perhaps about 10 of them are retirees.

(Note to new members: that social group is inactive & archived. There’s no need to join it.)

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Did you work after military retirement?
No. My spouse and I were financially independent and had zero interest in working for paychecks.

We maintained a high savings rate (~40%) for most of our dual-military career. In retrospect, we reached FI on our savings & investments in 1999 but we didn’t realize it. (To be fair, everyone else in the stock market that year also reached FI... unless they stayed invested for the next year.) In 1999 I was at the 17-year point with a great billet and a good chain of command. Life did not suck so badly by then and I retired in 2002.

While I never worked after retiring from the military, I was surprised to get unsolicited job offers every year for the first few years. Even today they roll in every 3-4 years.

DoD actuarial statistics show that only 15% of the U.S. military force serves until retirement. It’s broken down at about 19% active duty and 14% Reserves/National Guard. I haven’t seen any recent statistical breakdown by service or by officer/enlisted/MOS, but the highly credible rumor is that Air Force officers have the highest retirement rate while enlisted Marines have the lowest.

According to a 2004 thesis survey by a PhD who’s retired military, 85% of military retirees immediately start bridge careers. (For various reasons.) There was a weak correlation (insufficient data) between higher ranks and higher likelihood of starting a bridge career.

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Where did you retire to?
We stayed on Oahu, where (at the time) we’d already been for 13 years.

Today it’s >30 years... more than half of my life. I’ve also lived at the same address here (>19 years) for longer than I’ve lived anywhere.

Perhaps more to your point, I'd recommend the website TheEarthAwaits.com to help you identify your criteria and a list of places to check out.

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Did your pension and any saving cover your lifestyle?
Yes.

Again (in retrospect) our analysis showed that I should have left active duty at the 12-year point (where I dropped off the submariner career track) and gone to the Reserves. I would’ve taken a civilian contractor or consulting job (or lots of Reserve duty). The finances would’ve worked out about the same but our quality of life would’ve been much better. For those who haven’t seen this yet:
https://the-military-guide.com/dont-...ational-guard/

After 17 years of active-duty retirement, my pension has risen over 40% despite three years of zero COLAs. Our investments have grown much faster, and that growth has slashed their necessary withdrawal rate. We spent 16 of those 17 years converting our TSPs and IRAs to Roth IRAs, and today we won’t need to touch our Roth IRAs. We barely touch our taxable account.

Life is very good and it’s become clear that we’re not spending it fast enough. In 1999 we could have given up either the military pension or a million dollars, and we’d still be FI with a lifetime-sustainable withdrawal rate.
https://the-military-guide.com/hey-n...ows-net-worth/


Thread hijack:
While I have the attention of the U.S. military retirees, I’d like to make sure you’re aware of military Space A flights. If you haven’t taken a Space A flight in the last decade, they’re much better today. Stephanie Montague at Poppin’ Smoke has everything you need to know, and there are several other sites like SpaceA.net and Facebook groups.
https://www.poppinsmoke.com/
In our military retirement, my spouse and I have flown more miles on military aircraft than commercial ones.

Vets with a 100% VA disability rating are also eligible to fly Space A, although there are no special accommodations and family members are not eligible. This is a very recent change. Air Mobility Command agrees that this is not the way it could be, and they’re working with the VA & Congress to make it better.
https://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/606...lable-flights/
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Old 11-23-2019, 06:40 AM   #28
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I'll hit my 20 years in two months. All of it has been National Guard, but with four deployments, I've got over 5 years of active duty time. The pension won't be enough for me to live off, and I never planned it would, but will certainly reduce the amount of savings I need for retirement. I still owe the Army National Guard 12 more years due to student loan repayment and incentives I took while in school, so I'll end up retiring with between 30-35 years, depending on how I feel in ten years.

I suspect I'll be chasing promotions, which will keep me in closer to the 15 year time frame from now, even though I'm mentally ready to hang it up now. I spent ten years enlisted before commissioning. Currently I'm O-3 waiting on O-4 promotion to process. I'm hoping to retire an O-6, which is fairly automatic for physicians if you're in long enough in the National Guard... But I could honestly see retiring at O-5 and retiring earlier and paying back some of the benefits. It will largely depend upon the deployment situation at that time. These deployments are getting harder and harder mentally the longer I'm in and the more of them I do. And not just hard on me, but hard on my family. In fact, I think they're often harder on the family at home.
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Old 11-23-2019, 06:49 AM   #29
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How many military retirees are on here? HaloFIRE is. 32 years.

Did you work after military retirement? If so, did you realy HAVE to work? No and No. Plus i resigned when he retired bc I wanted to play, too. Put HHG in storage and traveled 18 mos. Spent SPring summer in Europe in Airbnbs. Took about 7 cruises. Did alot of our bucket list. Then grew up and bought a house bc i missed my creature comforts.

Where did you retire to? San Antonio

Did your pension and any saving cover your lifestyle? yes
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Old 11-23-2019, 02:32 PM   #30
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Retired with 19 yrs with special early provision in 1994. No way I could have retired ... I wanted to the busy and have fun ...work hard, travel, meet people, work with smart folks, etc.

Also had younger kids so stayed around till it wasn’t fun anymore ... left job at 62 ... no issues with finances except need to spend more.
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Old 11-23-2019, 02:54 PM   #31
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(For one, I think I remember Gumby being military retired?)
Sorry to disappoint. I left active duty on the day my 5 year commitment was up (actually 58 days before that due to all my unused leave time), which had been my plan since my first day at USNA.

I was in a drilling Reserve unit for about a year after that, then another 5 years in the Individual Ready Reserve.
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Old 11-23-2019, 05:04 PM   #32
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Sometimes things work out very differently from what you expected.

I was planning a 30 year career since I was single and always enjoyed what I did. Being good at it was a bonus.

As it happened, I met DW by chance when I had 19 years in, and she expressed extreme trepidation, if not outright fear at the thought of being a military officer's wife. So I weighed the balance of staying in and making her move from her lifetime home into an utterly foreign environment, or putting in my papers and moving out here to flyover country.

A real no-brainer. I took about four months off to decompress, then got a civilian job which I absolutely loved. Stayed with that second career (various companies and a bunch of contracting) for another 12 years before finally hanging it up for good at the ripe old age of 55.
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Old 11-23-2019, 07:08 PM   #33
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Add another retired vet to the tally. I retired from a 30yr USAF career in 2016, when we moved from an overseas post to our current location. When I was commissioned in 1985, the thought that I would do 30 years never crossed my mind. After a series of overwhelmingly positive assignments, getting married and having children, the years flew by and retirement snuck up on us. Joined this site in August 2019 and have found the content extremely helpful.

Did I work after retirement? Yes - currently in year 3 of what will be a 4 year post retirement job; currently at the OMY point right now.

Did I really HAVE to work? No, but we chose to in order to continue to grow our retirement assets.

Did your pension and any savings cover your lifestyle? They could have, but I enjoyed the job (boss is phenomenal and a pleasure to work for…wouldn’t have lasted as long as I have if it was anyone less capable) and the financial compensation. A career of living well below our means enabled DW and I to amass a sizeable nest egg. Our pension, Tricare medical coverage and New GI Bill benefit (paid for 4yrs of DD’s in state university), contributed to our solid financial situation.

Straying a little off topic, it was only in the past 6 months or so that we turned our attention from accumulating wealth to serious consideration of how to manage our assets in retirement. The good news is that this site has been invaluable to DW and I in identifying the fact that we DO NOT need to work anymore - Firecalc, ORP, New Retirement, Flexible Retirement Planner and Fidelity’s planning tools all confirm we are going to be able to live very comfortably and securely into our late 90s and beyond should we be so lucky. Travel, volunteering, and time with family and friends will fill up our days after we finish up our work life.

The bad news is that our previous fixation on asset accumulation skewed our assets heavily towards tIRAs (TSP and Vanguard), creating the first world problem of managing our assets, particularly our large tIRA balance. Since our pension takes us into the current 22% MFJ bracket before any distributions or other income, were still mulling over whether, when, and how much of our tIRA we should roll over into a Roth or not. We also have considerable Roth IRAs, but with hindsight being 20/20, we would have beefed up our Roth savings in lieu of tIRA savings in our earlier years when our tax bracket was lower.
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Old 05-15-2020, 02:55 PM   #34
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Interesting thread. I plan to retire as an O4 in 2022 with 23yrs service, and my wife will retire in 2027 as an O5 with 20yrs service.

I would like to work until my wife retires in 2027 (I will be 47, and she will be 42), and be FI. One of us may still work at that point, but if we are FI then we only have to if we like doing it.

Appreciate there is a forum that allows us to search and find so much quality advice.
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Old 05-15-2020, 02:58 PM   #35
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Appreciate there is a forum that allows us to search and find so much quality advice.
Along with the other kind, but I'm sure you can tell the difference.

Welcome!
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Old 05-16-2020, 08:17 AM   #36
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I have an approved retirement for December after 28 years, 6 months, and 26 days of active duty Army time. Enlisted type.

I plan on going to northern New England and NOT working. My pension + the most conservative estimation of VA disability will more than cover expenses. My taxable investments will cover real estate purchases and then some. I credit my Mom for getting me into saving money.

My largest hurdle will not be the finances, it is the logistics of getting settled in up there. I doubt I will find the "perfect" place from 2K miles away, so I will either buy an OK place to live for a few years before buying something else, or I will rent while searching for a place to buy. The average rent seems to be north of 2K dollars for mediocre places, so buying may be the way.


After I get settled in, I may pick up a part time job doing something just for the social aspect.
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Old 05-16-2020, 08:26 AM   #37
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My largest hurdle will not be the finances, it is the logistics of getting settled in up there. I doubt I will find the "perfect" place from 2K miles away, so I will either buy an OK place to live for a few years before buying something else, or I will rent. The average rent seems to be north of 2K dollars for mediocre places, so buying may be the way.
I would advise you to think that through very carefully. What is commonly recommended when moving to a new area is to rent until you're sure you know where and how you want to live. It's easy to make a mistake buying too soon in an unfamiliar place, and such a mistake can be both costly and very unpleasant.
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Old 05-16-2020, 08:46 AM   #38
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I would advise you to think that through very carefully. What is commonly recommended when moving to a new area is to rent until you're sure you know where and how you want to live. It's easy to make a mistake buying too soon in an unfamiliar place, and such a mistake can be both costly and very unpleasant.

Oh, I know. I would prefer to rent as I can just wash my hands of a place after my lease is up. I'm just picky about what I live in. The rental inventory there sucks. I would be willing to lose money to sit in a decent "bridge" house for a few years. At the end of the day it will come down to whether or not I want to cough up $2K to $2.5K a month for a rental vs something slightly more permanent.
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Old 05-16-2020, 08:46 AM   #39
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Feeling Blessed

I retired 22 years ago from the AF. Continued working various jobs until I landed my current job in 2005. Leaning towards retiring next year. Net worth is over $900K. Started saving seriously in the past ten years. Doing a lot of catch up. Projected annual income in retirement not counting retirement accounts will be over $81K. We have estimated that our living expenses will be approximately $1400 monthly. we have no mortgage. Plenty of money left over to travel, invest and share with our kids. I feel we are blessed to have a military pension and Tricare. My only concern in retirement would be how to fill in all those extra hours that I will have once I retire. Scared of boredom and of nothing to do.

How have you guys filled in your new found free time? Are you bored? Do you travel? What recommendations would you have for us?

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Old 05-16-2020, 09:30 AM   #40
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I think there is a period of 'stir crazy' after 20+ years of service. I found a few good volunteer opportunities, though it did take some searching to find the right fit. I also discovered that I need to do a physical fitness program, yet very different from the military style--more focused on health vs. performance. The problem isn't boredom as much as actually having the time and freedom to decide what YOU want to do. It can be unsettling at first, but I recommend embracing it.
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