The following is a guest post by Hank Coleman from Money Q&A. Hank is an Army Major on Active Duty with four years left until early retirement.
When I retire from the Army in four years, I don’t plan on getting another job. I don’t plan on coming back to work for the federal government as a GS (government scale…we love our acronyms in the military, right?) employee or even as a contractor like so many of my peers.
After I retire from the military, I plan to move back to my hometown of Charleston, South Carolina, sit on the beach, and maybe write a book. And, I’m not going to write a book because I need the income. I’ll write a book if the subject comes to me in an epiphany because, like many, it’s a bucket list goal and a way to leave a legacy. But, I don’t have to do it.
I’ve set myself up for financial independence and early retirement so I can sit on the beach and write if I want to. I’ll probably keep blogging because I love it. But, I don’t need to take a job after the military. Not bad for early retirement at 42 years-old, right?
There’s no need for an officer in the military (and maybe even an enlisted soldier) to have to work after retirement if he or she doesn’t want to. Here are four ways that you can set yourself up for success and not work another day, if you don’t want to, after hanging up the uniform.
Get a Pension After 20 Years
One of the best financial benefits the military has right now is its pension plan. The government is one of the few industries in America still providing retirement pensions to employees. Currently, in the military, the pension is a defined-benefit plan where you receive 50% of your base salary after you serve for 20 years on active duty. That’s not a bad deal at all if you can last the 20 years in uniform of course.
For example, a brand new second lieutenant that joins the military after college can retire at age 42 (assuming he or she got their degree at age 22). A soldier enlisting out of high school could theoretically retire at the age of 37, earning 50% of his or her salary for the rest of their life. For every year you serve after 20 years, your retirement currently grows by 2.5% each year. So, someone retiring after 21 years of service would receive 52.5% of his or her salary every month after retirement, 55% for 22 years, 57.5% for 23 years, and so on.
Currently, in 2017, a brand new second lieutenant that just joined the army with no prior service as an enlisted soldier earns a base salary of $3,034 per month or about $36,400 per year. There are other special monthly payments, allowances for housing and food, and combat pay that aren’t factored into the retirement equation. The government only uses a service member’s base pay figure when calculating the military’s pension.
To give you another example, a lieutenant colonel, which retires this year after 20 years of service in the military, currently earns $8,798 or $105,576 per year. So, that lieutenant colonel’s pension would be worth approximately $52,788 per year or $4,400 per month.
So, many financial planners and experts use 80% income replacement in retirement as a rule of thumb. So, using our example above with the 50% pension, members of the military would typically only need to have investments for retirement that would replace 30% of your income. In our example above, a lieutenant colonel would need investments that produced approximately $31,672 per year in income in retirement. Needing only 30% income replacement thanks to the pension is a reason that financial independence and early retirement without working another day is truly possible for military retirees.
Recently, the federal government has unveiled its new blended retirement system that is a mix of defined benefits and defined contribution plans that looks to reward members of the military with retirement benefits even if they don’t stay until the 20 year mark. Starting in 2018, the government will invest 1% automatically of new recruits’ salaries into the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), the federal government’s version of a 401(k) retirement plan. The government will also match up to 5% of a service member’s contributions to his or her TSP that vest immediately and in which they can take with them to a new job if they get out of the military.
Under the blended retirement system, the traditional pension accrual rate is reduced to 2% per year of service giving members of the military only 40% of their base pay per month after reaching a full 20 year retirement. Still not a bad deal when you consider the matching TSP contributions that’s currently not available to the military and a 40% pension (or more if you stay past 20 years) for a 37-42 year-old. The military’s pension (and even new blended retirement system) is the cornerstone to retiring early and achieving financial independence as a retired military service member.
Invest in TSP
If you want to retire from the military and have the option of not working another day in your life, you have to max out your retirement investment opportunities. You have to contribute the maximum amount to the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), which as I said before is the federal government’s version of a 401(k) retirement plan. The TSP is a group of index funds overseen by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, an independent government agency that is managed by president appointed board members.
Like a 401(k) plan, investors can contribute up to $18,000 per year in their TSP accounts before taxes, which also reduces your taxable income. And, those over the age of 50 can make additional catch up contributions of $6,000 per year. The TSP invests money before taxes, but in recent years, the TSP has also added a Roth version to allow service members to contribute after-tax dollars to the same allocation of five different index funds they have to choose from in the plan.
You also need to supplement your investing in a TSP with additional investments in Roth IRAs to help you active early retirement and financial independence after you leave the service. After maximizing contributions to Roth IRAs and the TSP, I’ve also tried to find the best return on investment with other investments like real estate, peer to peer lending, dividend stocks, and trading stocks in taxable accounts.
Living Off a Captains Salary
For years now, I’ve been living off of a captain’s salary despite being promoted to the rank of major. My wife and I had a balanced monthly budget when I was a captain. So, it was easy to simply ignore the increase in income that came with the promotion.
It was “found money” when I got the promotion in 2011. It was nice to have, but we didn’t have it factored into our current budget. So, why change anything? We just ignored the temptation to spend the hefty new pay raise or let lifestyle creep take hold. By continuing to live off of the old salary, we were able to rapidly increase our contributions to the Thrift Savings Plan and our Roth IRAs.
The difference in salary for me was $506 a month or $6,072 per year initially. For, the past six years, that’s a savings of over $36,000 without having to change a single thing about our lives. Like I said, it was essentially free money. And, it is money that we continue to plow into retirement savings.
Investing Annual Pay Raises
The military typically receives an annual pay increase. It’s a nice perk that the civilian sector doesn’t always see. It’s somewhat meant to keep up with inflation. During the George W. Bush years, the annual pay raise in January was pretty good, averaging 4.1% for the eight years President Bush was in office. The large annual pay raise during those years was often meant to narrow the pay gap the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said existed between the military and civilian sector.
Then, President Obama started tightening the federal purse strings. In fact, the annual pay increase for the military under President Obama routinely sat at 1% or so, the lowest annual increases since the Vietnam War. But, I digress. The annual pay raise for members of the military is creeping back up. This January we saw a 2.1% increase. Proposed legislation for next year’s budget looks to have another 2% or more increase in 2018.
Members of the military also receive what’s called longevity raises. Typically every two years, a service member will receive a slight pay raise even if the military hasn’t promoted him or her. For example, if you’re an Army major with 10 years in service, this year you can expect a $343 monthly raise when you hit the 12-year mark.
Annual pay raises are nice, but financial independence and retiring early come down to what you do with them. Like living off your previous rank’s salary, I’ve found it always best to forget that you even received an annual or longevity pay raise. Every January, I increase my allocation to my Thrift Savings Plan. For our same example of the Army major above with 12 years of service, that 2% annual raise equates to another $144 in investment contributions every month.
If it doesn’t exactly sound like a picnic, you can consider increasing your investment contributions by 1% and raising your lifestyle by the other 1% from your raise. It may not sound like a lot, but that $72 could add an extra date night per month or family outing around town.
Almost Free Healthcare for Life
While a member of the military is on active duty, they have no out-of-pocket costs for healthcare. It’s 100% provided by the Department of Defense, and the military member’s family has very minimal costs. Low cost or no cost healthcare is an incredible benefit for members of the military, and it saves them thousands of dollars per year. The benefits continue with only a few small fees in retirement alleviating military retirees from having a huge financial burden of rising healthcare costs.
As a military retiree, you maintain your full medical coverage, but some of the fees do increase slightly (up from zero). Depending on which medical plan (called Tricare) you choose, your new costs typically include an annual fee of $565.20 per year for your entire family for the top level Tricare Prime, typically less than $30 per visit in copays (depending on which procedure), and a catastrophic cap of $3,000 annually per family (which typically applies to the mid-level Tricare Standard where you choose your own doctor).
While there are always drawbacks to government paid healthcare such as wait times and the lack of choice of doctor, the price is hard to beat for a retiree on a fixed income. Low cost or no cost healthcare help make the dream of retiring in your forties a distinct possibility.
Finding a Second Lease on Life
Not working after retiring from the military isn’t for everyone. A lot of people like to work. Working as a government employee or a contractor for the federal government is a great way to continue to serve our nation even if it’s not in a uniform.
But, members of our military have served our nation at a very trying time. The global war on terrorism continues to be our longest war. Many service members have multiple combat deployments, humanitarian assistance missions, months of training away from home, and countless moves that uproot their families.
If you want to sit on the beach, open your own business, be a stay at home parent, check off items on your bucket list, or turn a hobby into a side hustle after retiring from the military, you should. You’ve earned it. But, it will take some planning to make your early retirement dreams a reality. It’s not impossible. But, the time to start laying the ground work is now, right when you join.
Note – Remember that you shouldn’t misconstrue anything we’ve discussed here as specific financial advice. Everyone’s situation is different even in the military. You should see out the advice of a qualified certified financial planner to help you nail down exactly how much you should save and invest in order to retire from the military and have the option to not work another day in your life.
Mike H says
I appreciate you serving the country during your career and thanks for writing this piece. The retirement benefits in the military are amazing. Is it possible for someone in their mid 40’s who has been already successful in a management career to join the military and do another 20 there or are they not welcome? The health care benefits seem wonderful.
Thanks, Mike! Under federal law, the oldest recruit any military branch can enlist is 42, although each service sets its own policy within that limit. Currently, the Army caps it at 35. There are some opportunities for specialties like doctor, lawyer, cyber, etc. that may be able to enter later. You may also want to check with your local recruiter to see if there are age waviers for the National Guard or Reserve. You can still serve as a government employee (GS) later in life with great benefits as well.
Hank, just want to say thanks for your service. Enjoy the beach in 4 years!
Thanks, Mike. I appreciate that.
I’m curious about the pressure to “retire” imposed on officers once they hit their 20 years. For example, I’ve heard that if you don’t get promoted after three attempts (say from Captain to Major) you pretty much aren’t going to get promoted and will likely find yourself relieved of your commission at 20 years or shortly there after. As I recall it’s not like you can just sit at a rank indefinitely and keep on racking up the years to bulk up your pension percentage.
You’re absolutely right, and it’s worse than what you describe. Under current law and regulations in the Army, you get the boot if you are passed over for promotion TWICE not three times. It will really come into play for an active duty major who graduated from college and joined the military with no prior service as an enlisted Soldier. For example, your first chance at Lieutenant Colonel (the next promotion after Major in the Army) happens at about the 16 year mark. The second and final chance at the 17 year mark. If you don’t make it, you can’t continue serving. Leaving at the 17 year mark will NOT get you a pension.
Does this mean that you either retire as at least a Lt Col or you are forced out before you hit 20 years?
There are a few exceptions for a very small minority of twice-passed-over (or, “2P”) Majors to be ‘continued’ to their 20th year of Active Duty Service, in order to be properly ‘Retired.’ But generally, YES … if a Major is not selected for Lieutenant Colonel, he’ll need to separate from the Service at 18years (service limitation for Majors), without a pension. This is one of the issues which the new ‘Blended-Retirement’ system was intended to remedy. Bear in mind though, the new Retirement system is overall not as good a deal as the old system.
Incremental Millennial says
That isn’t true. The new blended retirement system was meant to ensure everyone got some sort of retirement. It works as designed and in many cases comes out better for the service member.
In most cases, yes. Like everything, there are a few exceptions. If you are at your 18 year mark, you can continue to serve until your hit 20 and retire as a Major. The problem is that most, who are passed over twice, only reach the 17 year mark. They get a severance that is much, much smaller than the retirement would have equated to over their retired life. The new retirement system would allow Soldiers passed over twice at the 17 year mark to keep their matching TSP contributions and a severance package, which still would equal much less than a pension.
In the past, Soldiers passed over twice after 15 years but before 18 years could apply for Temporary Early Retirement Authority (TERA), which would give them a smaller pension commiserate with the number years they’ve served. But, that program was not renewed by Congress and is set to expire in 2018.
So, for guys like me who graduated from college in 2002 are stuck between reaching 20 with a pension or being forced out. We can’t and wouldn’t want to join the new Blended Retirement System, and we can’t retire early because TERA won’t exist in 2019 when we needed unless the law changes.
Wow. That’s rough — a 1 in 3 chance that you won’t get the pension after all that service.
So you must be close to your first opportunity to make Lt Col, correct?
Rob K says
If you can get to 15 years you will get a reduced pension. https://www.dfas.mil/retiredmilitary/plan/retirement-types/2012-18tera.html
Only until 2018. The program wasn’t renewed past 2018.
Rob K says
Expected to be continued to 2025 according to the link below, it’s political fubar to end it so soon as 2018. Do you have a link that shows it wasn’t / won’t be renewed?
Yes, this spring.
Rob K says
Currently as long as you made 15 years you will receive a reduced retirement if forced out due to nor being promoted. I don’t see this changing anytime soon.
That’s good to know. Otherwise it would be kind of a rip off.
Rob K is correct but only until 2018. As I mentioned in an earlier comment, Soldiers passed over twice after 15 years but before 18 years could apply for Temporary Early Retirement Authority (TERA), which would give them a smaller pension commiserate with the number years they’ve served. But, that program was not renewed by Congress and is set to expire in 2018. It is changing soon….2018….leaving some out in the cold with no pension.
Lance @ My Strategic Dollar says
This further illustrated that you don’t need a high income to be smart with your money and make the right choices. I think being in the military could be one of the best paths towards FI. You made a decent income with a generous amount of extra pay. You’ll be keeping your expenses low and could maybe purchase a new income producing home in each city you move to. Almost like the military creates the perfect storm for getting to FI.
That was always my dream Lance…to buy a home at every duty station and then rent them out after I moved on to the next. I would have had 8 by now. But, it turns out that my wife and I didn’t have the stomach for the ups and downs of long distance landlord life. Great point though. And, the VA lon is another great benefit for service members.
Dads Dollars Debts says
Great post Hank. Thank you for your service. While I have not served, I have a fair number of friends at year 18 or 19 of service. They are all pushing for the 20 year mark to get that sweet pension. Also interesting is that many of the Military track astronauts stay in the military for 20 years (to get their pension) but then switch into a civilian role. I suspect it makes financial sense to do so…so lots of options within the military.
A lot of astronauts are general service (GS) government employees as well.
Great post!!! Thanks for getting this out there!
A few other military-specific issues – as Lance alluded to, there are other “pays” and “allowances” that are not included in the retiretment calculations, but really affect your ability to save:
Housing is either provided or a non-taxed allowance is given that varies by locale – mine in HI is many $thousands per month. Overseas (yes, HI is “overseas”) has a Cost of Living Allowance – also not taxed.
Aside from allowances, most military additional pay is taxed, but not subject to FICA – the “hidden tax”. Of course once you pass $127K in base pay, this advantage is very small, but every extra 1.34% counts, right?
Lastly – the pension is AWESOME for planning, but will fill your lower tax brackets in retirement, so a Roth conversion ladder can be problematic or impossible depending on how large the pension is before you bail out and retire.
This can affect whether you want to contribute to traditional or Roth TSP, as your retirement “marginal tax bracket” for plan withdrawals is higher because of your pension.
You are absolutely right. These are all great points. Like with all careers, there are a lot of factors that you must take into consideration when planning and calculating your retirement. And, of course, the government likes to make things a little more complicated with things like allowances that aren’t taxed or considered in the retirement calculations.
This really interests me:
“A lieutenant colonel, which retires this year after 20 years of service in the military, currently earns $8,798 or $105,576 per year.”
That seems really low to me for the caliber of person a Lt Col needs to be and the responsibility he has.
A couple points of reference:
*The top MBA schools (and when I say “top” I mean top 50, so not that “top”) earn $100k right out of school (they do have a few years of experience). Source: https://www.usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools/articles/2017-03-23/us-news-data-salary-prospects-job-rates-for-mba-grads
*I earned $100k when I was 30 in the mid 90’s — when $100k was worth $100k. And I was just a “kid” still with little responsibility (relatively) and fewer than 10 people reporting to me.
*Someone in business who has the responsibility and authority equivalent to that of a Lt Col is probably either a senior executive, a C-level executive, ot the president of a company and is making WAY more than $100k per year.
Any thoughts on this?
Your comparison may be a little bit like apples to oranges (Civilian vs. Military). Lieutenant Colonels are definitely not considered senior executive, a C-level executive, or the president of a company. C-level in the Army’s eyes would be the generals in charge of thousands of soldiers in a division, corps, or higher. The chief of staff of the Army (4-Star General) is our equivalent to the Army’s CEO. The beauty of military pay is that it is 100% public. Everyone knows what anyone earns because it’s a math formula based on rank and how many years you’ve served (location for housing).
Here are a few things to consider about the comparison that you mentioned. A brand new Second Lieutenant in the Army earns $36,400 in base salary + $20,000 or so per year for housing & food allowances (assuming married and living off base) just starting out from college. For that salary, typically in the Army, a brand new 22 year-old with a bachelor’s degree is a platoon leader responsible for about 40 Soldiers. While everything that happens or fails to happen in the platoon is the responsibility of the young lieutenant, he or she really only has about 4-5 direct reports. It’s very hierarchical and based on a span of control of about 4 people who report directly to someone and those 4 typically have 4 who report to them and so on down the line.
For the lieutenant colonel, who retires after 20 years of service in the military and earns $105,576 per year in base salary (and about $30k in annual housing and food allowances), he or she is typically a battalion commander or high-level staff officer for a larger Army unit. A battalion commander is typically responsible for the lives of about 600 Soldiers or so. But, again it’s very pyramid hierarchy…a lieutenant colonel who is a battalion commander only has about 10 direct reports or so. Those 10 have 4-10 underneath them, and so on and so on.
So, is a mid-level manager with 20 years (who also has MBA as well) who has 10 direct reports underpaid when compared to the civilian sector? Maybe…maybe not. It’s hard to quantify responsibility into a salary, and the military has a very analytic approach to it’s salary system.
Here’s some perspective:
*When I was president of a $100 million company, there were 800 people in the entire company.
*I had six direct reports.
*I made over three times what a Lt Col makes.
This is why I said the pay seems very low for the level of responsibility.
LOL….it looks like I picked the wrong career path. Thanks for the perspective. I always find learning these figures fascinating.
Rob K says
But they get more job security (generally speaking). Also the author is seriously downplaying BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) which usually makes up at least 30% or more of your pay (meaning INCREASING the Base Pay that the author keeps mentioning). Also the basically free family medical & dental care and other perks. And of course the pension if you can make it that far……not saying that equates to the civilian equivalent, just stuff to keep in mind
Thanks for sharing this information. My father was in the Army for 4 years. Under the Montgomery G.I., he earned an accounting degree and worked as a GS employee for the DOD for 37 years. The military has a generous retirement and benefit plan, but you guys deserve it and more. I imagine it is not easy to serve for 20 years. Thanks for your service.
Thanks for the kind words, Dave. I appreciate it.
My 20 year old son is an active duty soldier who recently finished his second year of service. He contributes 20% of his E4 base pay to the Roth TSP which is about $5200/year. What are the benefits of putting his retirement in the Roth TSP instead of a Roth IRA especially since he is saving less than $5500/year? Also, he is deploying to Afghanistan in 4 days and is interested in participating in the savings deposit program where he can earn 10% interest on up to $10,000 while deployed. He has the money in an online savings account but is unsure of how to get the money into the (SDP). Do you have any insight? Do you have any other words of wisdom for him?
Rob K says
He can usually sign up for SDP (Savings Deposit Program) once he is actually deployed. I am pretty sure that he has to actually be deployed for 30 days first before he can start the SDP. Also, note he can only put in his base pay amount (after deductions are subtracted) each month, so he should keep that in mind as well. So he probably won’t be able to do a lump sum for $10,000.00. Usually he will get a chance to see the Army Finance people while he is deployed, this is when he can do the SDP (again with the exceptions I noted above).
Do you know what retirement system your son falls under? The only real benefit of the Roth TSP over a Roth IRA would be the matching funds (depending on your son’s retirement system). Otherwise a benefit would be ease of starting it under the Roth TSP, and extremely low fees (supposed to be lower than even a Vanguard, but I don’t have a link for that). Although a downside to the Roth TSP would be it would be hard to access the funds, whereas with a “regular” Roth IRA you can take out your principal (contributions you made) any time (as long as the money been in the account for 5 years)–Note you can’t take out the interest earned from a Roth IRA (or else you have to pay a penalty)
Thanks for the information. My son has a hard time finding someone to have meaningful financial/investment discussions with. Most of the soldiers his age only care about their car loans and are amazed he paid cash for his vehicle.
He does not get a match with his Roth TSP but it is easy for him (direct deposit and easy to understand funds to choose from–perfect for a 20 year old).
I have another question. While he is in a combat zone, he does not pay federal income tax on his pay. Is he still eligible to contribute to the Roth TSP as that would mean he never paid income tax on the money.
Rob K says
Yes, typical Soldiers do NOT care about money and spend it faster than they receive it. One deployment, I saw Soldiers about to deploy (BEFORE DEPLOYMENT) with their cars in storage, they had all new rims and do-dads, some had new cars. When I asked them- why? how are they going to pay for that? they explained “from my EXTRA deployment pays.”–I asked, “…and what are you going to do if you break a leg or something after 1 month and get sent back (thus ending the deployment pays)?”…..”uhm…” <>
Anyways, I am a retired Army Finance Officer so I have some knowledge (some knowledge is dated however)–however, always do research / request back up documents (in my experience).
To answer your question–Your son can do Roth IRA while deployed–“There is another difference regarding taxes on a Roth TSP and traditional TSP unique to uniformed services members. Uniformed services members who make contributions to their Roth TSP from tax-exempt combat zone pay never have to pay taxes on those contributions or the investment earnings from those contributions if the withdrawals are qualified.”–https://www.sec.gov/oiea/investor-alerts-bulletins/ib_rothtsp.html
Thanks, we called TSP to get clarification about the above question and the person we spoke to had no idea what we were talking about. Speaking of cars, my son is putting his car in storage. He is unsure of what kind of insurance coverage he needs. He was going to only have comprehensive but is unsure if that is enough. He has to leave a key to the car and doesn’t trust that it won’t be driven or moved. He has a paid for 2013 Subaru Impreza. Our current options are comprehensive (cost $90/9 months or full coverage with my 20 year old removed from the policy and low mileage $550/9 months. He usual pays $900/ 6 month-the joys of being a young male. Any suggestions what he should do?
We appreciate your advice, the army has not been helpful with preparing for deployment, it seems that most of the information applies to married soldiers with families.
Rob K says
I assume he is putting the car in government storage / storage on base provided by his unit / the Army? I would recommend he talk with his insurance provider to explain what he is doing and what he wants to protect the car for (he should explain what kind of possible issues he is concerned about).
By the way, USAA has great customer service. Sometimes their insurance rates may not be the best (to be honest), but they can insure cars no matter where you are in the world (Germany, etc.) and make a lot of things easier and are very familiar with the military lifestyle / issues.
Yes, his car will be stored at JBER. He contacted USAA but it was more expensive than using the company we have been with for years.
We will continue to look at the cost vs risk.
Rob K says
note, a few weeks before his deployment his unit should go through a SRP (Soldier Readiness Program) where he will go through a bunch of stations to ensure he has the opportunity to get a will made up, power of attorney, all his medical shots, dental screening, etc. I recommend you ask him if his unit has this on it’s training calendar / training schedule yet? (depending how close he is to deployment).
Also a point to note about SGLI (Servicemember’s Group Life Insurance) which is life insurance that he can get through the Army–
“The John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 (Public Law 109-364) authorized reimbursement of premium deductions for SGLI for service members who have SGLI coverage, and who serve in the theater of operations for Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) or Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). Effective September 1, 2010, OIF was changed to Operation New Dawn (OND) and authorization was provided to continue to pay all entitlements authorized for OIF to service members deployed in support of OND.”
“What this means to affected service members is that when you deploy for OEF or OND, and you have elected less than the maximum level of SGLI, you may increase your SGLI coverage amount to the maximum $400,000 and your premiums will increase as well (submit SGLV 8286 to your Personnel Office). HOWEVER, although you will see an increase in your premium on your Leave and Earnings Statement, you will also see a credit in an equal amount posted monthly (Air Force, Army, Marine Corps) or bi-monthly (Navy) as reimbursement by your Service. If you do not see the increase in your premiums or the reimbursement from your service on your LES within two months of your deployment, bring it to the attention of your Personnel Office immediately.” —
Thanks, that was helpful. He increased his SGLI but I didn’t know he would be reimbursed.
Rob K says
SDP info: https://www.dfas.mil/militarymembers/payentitlements/sdp.html
Seems like there are some good benefits from being in the military if you can stick it out. Interesting that you’ll get kicked out if you get passed over for a promotion twice. How hard is it to get promoted? I would think it can’t be too bad or there would likely be a lot of experienced people getting kicked out all the time. How often does that happen?
Arrgo, in the Army, the promotion rate from Major to Lieutenant Colonel has typically been around 60% for the past few years. It varies a little bit based on their job, but it’s typcially around 60% during your primary promotion year, and about 10% or so the second year. So, about 30% don’t make it and are forced out.
Hi Hank very interesting post. I am a GS employee for a federal agency 32 and have been with government for 8 years. I was happy to see that a lot of the things that you mentioned in your article. I also do, while government employment (in your case military service) pays less you can still save and ultimately match peers in the private sector. It may just take a little longer.
If you are deployed for 14 months and ask to leave and retire early and have served since you have been 18 and now you are 48 . Does the military require you to hire an attorney and pay the fees prior to leaving to make sure you receive all your benefits?
No, the military never “requires” you to hire an attorney and pay fees.