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Command Post What is this?
Posted on Sep 17, 2014
RallyPoint Team
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SFC Mark Merino
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Edited 8 y ago
I did not save anything remotely close to what is recommended. I would have lost it all in the divorce anyway...lol. I always wanted to serve in the military as a career since I was a baby SFC/E-7 still running around outside with a stick playing Army. No one joined the military to get rich. It may have been the best choice for a great number of people, but no one joined to be mentioned in Forbes. I heard it again, and again, and again from other veterans growing up....."I should have stayed in! I'd be retired by now." My mind thinks back to Audie Murphy's mentor in "To Hell and Back" who said again and again "Biggest mistake I made was getting out............Why I'd be a General by now making more than I ever would working on the farm!"
Not all of us feel a strong calling to make the military a career. I have no idea what the percentage is that make it to retirement status, but it must be pretty low. It's a hard life for the service member and can be even harder for the rest of the family. "Honey, I'm going to work. Thanks for the coffee and see you in 15 months." Good luck getting anyone outside of a military family to be able to think that is normal. But there are benefits to a career in the military that are astounding as well. 30 days a year we can see if our beloved Air Force has some empty seats on a flight going to Hawaii, Germany, S. Korea, Guam, Italy, England, etc., and take the entire family round trip for free. During our time in we get $4,500 a year for education and reduced tuition. It is realistic to leave the service with a masters degree upon retirement. Medical coverage! Do you know what civilians pay for family insurance??!! My girlfriend pays over $400 just for herself every month! There are many "behind the scene" benefits to a career of service. Save your money for retirement. Look out for your family. There is life after the military, that is for sure! But for this kid, I wouldn't have done it any other way. There is no price tag on the camaraderie that we have as brothers and sisters of service.
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GySgt Carl Rumbolo
GySgt Carl Rumbolo
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Your comment on military health care is spot on - my son separated from the arm voluntarily after 8 years with a wife and child - the cost of health care was a surprise (they never listen).

That being said, I have noted elsewhere in this thread that with some planning, military health care options for retirees, when part of an overall plan that includes private health care can provide significant financial savings.

Saving money, particularly with a family while on active duty can be hard, investing for future retirement can be difficult. But having a long term financial plan, with post service employment plans and savings can lead to a comfortable retirement.
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Maj Security Forces
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Edited 8 y ago
We are living very comfortably in retirement thanks to my military retirement and social security. Additionally, after I decided to retire we put away money for housing expenses, utilities, taxes, insurance and travel so that doesn't come out of our monthly income. I have to admit I didn't really save anything while I was in the military but since military retirement more than caught up. All of our real investments came after I joined the civilian work force. If you are going to continue to work after military retirement, recommend you try to hook up with a company who contributes the max matching for 401k and has a good bonus plan.
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CW5 Desk Officer
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I stayed in for 30 years because I was enjoying it and the time just seemed to roll on by. I didn't save what is recommended either (like SFC Mark Merino), but I'm working on that now.

My plan (/hope) is to live a long and healthy life after retiring from the military. The retirement pay just keeps coming, so the longer I can draw it, the better. And military retirement allows you to adjust what the financial experts say about how much money you should have in an emergency fund. Retirement pay is part of the calculation.
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