Author Topic: US Marines on Food Stamps and Welfare - True Story  (Read 1409 times)

A Fella from Stella

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US Marines on Food Stamps and Welfare - True Story
« on: June 28, 2019, 06:40:44 AM »
Not sure if this counts, but I read a book about a veteran who qualified for food stamps, WIC and welfare assistance. That's how low the enlisted servicemen's pay is with a family of 4.

The book is called War Poems [can't figure out hyperlink, so
https://www.amazon.com/War-Poems-Marines-Tour-2003-2008/dp/1576385108.

Libraries have it, obs :-).

Warning: It has a lot of cursing. In the last poem, the author compares going to the Iraq war under false pretenses with being "stealthed" by GW Bush and given AIDS.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2019, 07:39:31 AM by A Fella from Stella »

FIREstache

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Re: US Marines on Food Stamps and Welfare - True Story
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2019, 12:34:56 PM »
Sadly, it seems country cares more about the well-being of illegal aliens these days than it does our own American veterans who have fought for our country and freedom.

driftwood

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Re: US Marines on Food Stamps and Welfare - True Story
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2019, 07:37:11 AM »
Sadly, it seems country cares more about the well-being of illegal aliens these days than it does our own American veterans who have fought for our country and freedom.

Did this veteran use those social services while in, or after they got out of the Marines?

As a prior enlisted Army guy, and current Air Force guy, I think the pay and benefits was and is plenty. The pay charts are public info, so if you bother to google it before you join you know what you'll earn. Health is 100% covered for the member. Dependents are covered as well... with no extra cost. I think I pay $20ish a month for dental for my dependents as well. Also, if you have dependents, the dorms are too full, or you rank high enough to live off base, you get a housing allowance. If you can find a place to rent or a mortgage less than the allowance, you get to pocket the difference.

Now, if you take that low enlisted pay and go out and get the max loan for car, use credit cards to buy the latest gaming systems, have expensive cell phone plans, etc (in short, live a non-mustachian life), then yeah, it's easy for these guys to be have financial hardship.

The most common sorta not outright irresponsible reason for having it so hard that I've seen is if they have a lot of kids... that'll make it harder to feed/clothe/house them all on a military pay.

The VA process for treatment is slow and shitty, so I won't argue with you that it needs drastic improvement. But really, the military got me from poverty and limited options to being able to retire 7 years from now, with guaranteed pension for life on top of my investments.

A Fella from Stella

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Re: US Marines on Food Stamps and Welfare - True Story
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2019, 10:46:50 AM »
Sadly, it seems country cares more about the well-being of illegal aliens these days than it does our own American veterans who have fought for our country and freedom.

Did this veteran use those social services while in, or after they got out of the Marines?

As a prior enlisted Army guy, and current Air Force guy, I think the pay and benefits was and is plenty. The pay charts are public info, so if you bother to google it before you join you know what you'll earn. Health is 100% covered for the member. Dependents are covered as well... with no extra cost. I think I pay $20ish a month for dental for my dependents as well. Also, if you have dependents, the dorms are too full, or you rank high enough to live off base, you get a housing allowance. If you can find a place to rent or a mortgage less than the allowance, you get to pocket the difference.

Now, if you take that low enlisted pay and go out and get the max loan for car, use credit cards to buy the latest gaming systems, have expensive cell phone plans, etc (in short, live a non-mustachian life), then yeah, it's easy for these guys to be have financial hardship.

The most common sorta not outright irresponsible reason for having it so hard that I've seen is if they have a lot of kids... that'll make it harder to feed/clothe/house them all on a military pay.

The VA process for treatment is slow and shitty, so I won't argue with you that it needs drastic improvement. But really, the military got me from poverty and limited options to being able to retire 7 years from now, with guaranteed pension for life on top of my investments.

Hey man, good on you for having a military career. Hope it's treating you well.

Your post reminds me of a comic I saw about how troops are always broke the weekend between paydays. To me, the worst was always when there was a Monday holiday, so we'd get paid on the 12th, and then it was a 31 day month and the 1st was mid-week.

The author was just very patriotic and said he qualified, but never took the benefits. He wrote about welfare in the military on an anti Marine Corps site. https://ihatetheusmc.com/gunnery-sergeant-retirement-pay-below-welfare-threshold/
« Last Edit: July 06, 2019, 01:25:34 PM by A Fella from Stella »

spartana

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Re: US Marines on Food Stamps and Welfare - True Story
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2019, 10:11:36 PM »
Like @driftwood said, there is a big difference between someone on active duty with full military pay and benefits compared to veteran. The pay and benefits of even a low ranking enlisted service member can be pretty decent if you don't blow it all. Especially.when you add in housing and food allowance and dependents. .An E-5 with 5 years in likely gets $5000 a month once you add in everything - and most of it is tax free. Same for a retiree who earns a pension.

A veteran, unless they have a fairly high percentage service-connected disability,  has some potential benefits for some things (like GI benefits for college and possible use of a VA hospital for free or low cost)  but basicly they are like anyone else who did a job for a number of years and then left before earning a pension. They leave with whatever they saved while in and whatever education and training they had to pursue a civilian job. If, like any other civilian, a vet falls on hard times, they can qualify for benefits like Medicaid, food stamps, etc.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2019, 10:19:36 PM by spartana »

A Fella from Stella

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Re: US Marines on Food Stamps and Welfare - True Story
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2019, 06:11:16 AM »
Like @driftwood said, there is a big difference between someone on active duty with full military pay and benefits compared to veteran. The pay and benefits of even a low ranking enlisted service member can be pretty decent if you don't blow it all. Especially.when you add in housing and food allowance and dependents. .An E-5 with 5 years in likely gets $5000 a month once you add in everything - and most of it is tax free. Same for a retiree who earns a pension.

A veteran, unless they have a fairly high percentage service-connected disability,  has some potential benefits for some things (like GI benefits for college and possible use of a VA hospital for free or low cost)  but basicly they are like anyone else who did a job for a number of years and then left before earning a pension. They leave with whatever they saved while in and whatever education and training they had to pursue a civilian job. If, like any other civilian, a vet falls on hard times, they can qualify for benefits like Medicaid, food stamps, etc.

This is all good info esp for anyone who hasn't served, and coincides with the article comparing an E7's pay and benefits that are then something like 1/4 of what he actually received in retirement (qualifying him for welfare if he has 2 kids).

For me, I was just blown away when I heard that any service member is on food stamps while in the service. That has nothing to do with debt, or fiscal irresponsibility. It's strictly based on wages being too low.

EDITED TO ADD: not wanting to start a debate on whether or not poor people should have kids. If that's where this ends up, please just let the thread die. I see a few threads that go off the political rail here.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2019, 06:13:59 AM by A Fella from Stella »

spartana

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Re: US Marines on Food Stamps and Welfare - True Story
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2019, 09:51:03 AM »
 Here is the current "base pay" for enlisted service members who have less then 10.years in. This doesn't include BAH housing allowance (which is location specific and can be a couple thousand extra per month tax free)  or any other special Pay (combat pay, sea pay, hazard duty Pay etc). Throw in free medical for service member, spouse and kids and an E-7 is pretty high income. Yes there have been cases where a new E-1 or E-2 with less than a year or so in and several dependents have qualified for food stamps and other public aid but it is very rare. FYI I'm a veteran and an advocate for homeless Vets and while many are destitute due to a variety of reasons, I've never seen an active duty or retired  E-7 have to resort to welfare. Perhaps @Nords can shed some light on this.

Pay Grade   2 or less   Over 2   Over 3   Over 4   Over 6   Over 8   Over 10
E-9(*3)   -   -   -   -   -   -   5,308.32
E-8   -   -   -   -   -   4,345.52   4,537.59
E-7   3,020.75   3,296.85   3,423.35   3,590.18   3,720.99   3,945.07   4,071.58
E-6   2,612.61   2,875.16   3,001.97   3,125.40   3,254.06   3,543.39   3,656.36
E-5   2,393.45   2,554.74   2,678.17   2,804.37   3,001.36   3,206.97   3,376.26
E-4   2,194.61   2,306.96   2,431.93   2,555.36   2,664.01   2,664.01   2,664.01
E-3   1,981.31   2,105.66   2,233.40   2,233.40   2,233.40   2,233.40   2,233.40
E-2   1,884.04   1,884.04   1,884.04   1,884.04   1,884.04   1,884.04   1,884.04

spartana

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Re: US Marines on Food Stamps and Welfare - True Story
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2019, 11:14:33 AM »
I just looked up BAH for 2019 and compared NC to CA. An E-7 in LCOL NC with a dependent would get approx $1500/month or more BAH and in HCOL Calif it is about $3700/month.

A Fella from Stella

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Re: US Marines on Food Stamps and Welfare - True Story
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2019, 12:30:07 PM »
I just looked up BAH for 2019 and compared NC to CA. An E-7 in LCOL NC with a dependent would get approx $1500/month or more BAH and in HCOL Calif it is about $3700/month.

My BIL is in CA right now and moving from LA to SF wasn't much of a help for him. However, if he was somewhere like Montana he'd be living large.

I always wonder if someone was just terrible with spending when they are broke, but when it comes to military service some people jump in without thinking about any of the finances. They're just serving their country.

Thanks for the chart above. Sadly, pay has only about doubled in 20 years [ chart: https://www.navycs.com/charts/1999-military-pay-chart.html ]

If the numbers in that article are correct, though, then a E7 can actually qualify for welfare upon retiring. Of course, he wouldn't because he'd work or go to school, but could, which I think it pretty terrible.

spartana

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Re: US Marines on Food Stamps and Welfare - True Story
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2019, 12:52:48 PM »
I think an E-7 with 20 years in earns close to $5k/ month for base pay (not counting housing or other pay). So they would get about 50% of that amount for a pension plus very low cost medical for themselves and dependents for life. And the longer you stay in the higher your retirement benefit.  Of course they could also be a 38 year old retiree so likely able to continue working if $30k /year isn't enough income. Some government job (fed and state) let you combine your military time with their pension. Plus most can save a substantial amount in tax deferred TSP and IRAs thru out their careers. And then there is the GI education benefits which pay for housing plus college costs for Vets and retirees. If you have a disability your receive a VA benefit based on its severity. No reason for any active duty or younger healthy Vet or retiree to need welfare.

A Fella from Stella

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Re: US Marines on Food Stamps and Welfare - True Story
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2019, 07:03:41 PM »
I think an E-7 with 20 years in earns close to $5k/ month for base pay (not counting housing or other pay). So they would get about 50%.......

The article linked to above says the new retirement system is 40% after 20 years and 60% after 30 years, so the $28k previously received for an E7 in retirement is now like $22k. That's where the welfare ref comes from. That's what that's about. Back end benefits have been cut by a fifth.

EDITED TO ADD: thanks for your service in the military. When were you in? What was you job?
« Last Edit: July 08, 2019, 07:09:32 PM by A Fella from Stella »

spartana

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Re: US Marines on Food Stamps and Welfare - True Story
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2019, 12:07:39 PM »
I forgot about the new retirement plan. @Nords  is probably up on that better than I am.

 But, whether $22k or $28k annual pension at a young age , I guess the bottom line is that after 20 years in the military earning money why didn't he save any? If someone enlists at 18 (or 20) and retired at 38 (or 40) with a $22k annual pension they are far ahead financially compared to most  38 or 40 year olds with family who don't have a pension, medical or free education opportunities.  If a civilian with dependents quit their job at an early age they would be entitled to welfare too - at least in some states. Even FIREd people who have tons of assets in non-taxable things can take advantage of many welfare programs meant for low income people. The ACA and expanded Medicaid is a good example of that. That doesn't mean that someone on expanded Medicaid is poor, just that they have a low taxable income. Most military retirees (at least the non-mustashian kind) plan for a full time civilian career once they leave the military as most assume they can't live solely off their pensions until SS or IRA/TSP age and most haven't saved anything or very little during their 20 years in.

ETA: If the book is mostly talking about Vets rather than military retirees I agree that they often suffer a lot. Many have great difficulty transitioning to civilian life and jobs (civilian life and jobs seem sooo cushy, boring and mundane in comparison), or don't have easily transferable skills and may not be able to go to school even if it is paid for (have kids and spouse to support, etc), and. depending on what they did while in, it can leave them with lots of emotional trauma which may go untreated.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2019, 02:37:32 PM by spartana »

Nords

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Re: US Marines on Food Stamps and Welfare - True Story
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2019, 11:40:18 AM »
Thanks for the tag, @spartana!  You make great points about military pay & benefits.

The author was just very patriotic and said he qualified, but never took the benefits. He wrote about welfare in the military on an anti Marine Corps site. https://ihatetheusmc.com/gunnery-sergeant-retirement-pay-below-welfare-threshold/
That’s certainly possible, just like any entry-level job.  Nobody is surprised when a civilian minimum-wage employee is able to qualify for those benefits.

The military difference is that the services’ ranks are set up to enable most to promote fairly quickly to a higher pay scale.  It’s unusual for people with families to join (or to marry and start families right after recruit training), although it certainly happens.  In that situation (a pay scale and military benefits set up for unmarried/childless teenagers) then some military families qualify for welfare benefits.  It’s an edge case.

He might also be missing the point.  The military (like any other large corporation) pays just enough to get the people they need (but not enough to get the people they want).  It’s all recruiting & retention.  The military’s initial pay & benefits are set up for a starter salary for unskilled labor, and easily 80% of servicemembers at his E-3 rank are living above the poverty line... maybe even a middle-class standard. 

I’m speculating on his warfare specialty, but if he was in an overstaffed MOS then he also would’ve had a tough time promoting. 

There’s no guarantee that *everyone* in the military will be paid more than the welfare standards.  DoD doesn’t have to comply with whatever part of the federal govt sets the numbers for welfare benefits.  If DoD did, that would effectively be an incentive to raise your pay by not only getting married (and out of the barracks, which has been an issue since Roman legions) but by having large families.

In effect, because this E-3 was at the edge of the bell curve in a system designed for childless singletons, he’s angry.  He’s also showing an external locus of control (“It’s the military’s fault”) instead of an internal locus of control.  (“I can take action to change my situation.”)  Maybe a more pragmatic solution would’ve been getting qualified to switch to a different specialty (with faster promotions) and taking the food stamps for his family while he’s working on getting higher pay.

Thanks for the chart above. Sadly, pay has only about doubled in 20 years [ chart: https://www.navycs.com/charts/1999-military-pay-chart.html ]
It’s an isolated statistic.  How does that compare to civilian compensation?  How much has the average civilian salary risen in the last 20 years? 

At one point Congress actually committed to military pay raises coupled to the Employer Cost Index, or even more.  That’s no longer the case.

Meanwhile the military seems to be paying market wages (recruiting & retention) in a force which has shrunk during the last five years and which has been heavily automating for the last 75 years.  DoD is paying for people with needed skills, while the unskilled labor has been largely outsourced to the civil service and contractors. 

This is all good info esp for anyone who hasn't served, and coincides with the article comparing an E7's pay and benefits that are then something like 1/4 of what he actually received in retirement (qualifying him for welfare if he has 2 kids).
If the numbers in that article are correct, though, then a E7 can actually qualify for welfare upon retiring. Of course, he wouldn't because he'd work or go to school, but could, which I think it pretty terrible.
Again, I’m not sure why a society should expect a military pension to be the equivalent of Universal Basic Income.  If that was the case then the military would have eager volunteers lined up outside the recruit training commands.  Instead, the military is simply paying retention wages.

This Marine veteran also uses a number of strawman arguments and manipulates the compound math to suit his conclusions. 

For example, he refuses to take welfare benefits (“I was a man and I should have been able to take care of my family”) but he readily takes the Earned Income Tax Credit.  It’s a different form of income assistance, but apparently it’s not “welfare”. 

He repeatedly describes his miserably deprived lifestyle:
“My wife and I did not buy alcohol once in the 5 years I served. We only took two vacations (once camping a few hours away, and once staying in a family timeshare) and only after I was an NCO. We didn’t smoke, or have cable or car payments. And the margin was razor thin. Every year we slowly racked up credit card debt, then paid it off with our tax refund.”
Yet did he (or his spouse) ever consult a free financial counselor at his base, or attend any of their financial literacy classes?  He might have his income-tax withholding set too high, and either of those options could’ve helped him identify that and fix it.

He says that the traditional pension for retirees is reduced by 1/5.  (He uses the word “dictate”.  Interesting vocabulary for an all-volunteer force.)  He makes that statement without acknowledging the 401(k) matching aspect of the latest pension plan.  He completely ignores the Continuation Pay bonus (which retirees would’ve signed up for at 12 years of service).  It’s a Blended Retirement System, not a traditional pension. 

Oh, and he’s complaining about a pension too!  How many civilian corporations offer a pension?  Why does the military even have to offer a pension?  It's only there for retention, and I'm living proof of that policy.

He observes that other federal employees get a 5% match on their TSP, which is correct, but he ignores that they also have a vesting period.  That federal vesting period is one of the reasons that the TSP’s expense ratios are low-- the TSP recoups the contributions of federal employees who leave before vesting.

He has an E-7 retiring in a higher cost-of-living area (“excellent public high schools and colleges”) in a high-tax area (Long Island NY).  People don’t have to live in a high COL area (and pay high taxes) to send their kids to excellent colleges.

He claims that the retiree is worse off for renting (or base housing) instead of “secure a home and build equity”.  Meanwhile thousands of other servicemembers (and retirees) manage to handle the math of rent versus buy.  Fewer than two-thirds of civilians own their homes.  Why does a military retiree have to own a home? 

Other servicemembers & vets (just like civilians) buy investment rental properties in areas across the nation where the math makes sense, instead of at their duty stations.

The retiree would have to “move homes the same month he leaves his career to start a new one”, yet that happens for the vast majority of civilians who go where the jobs are.

He uses a Dave Ramsey calculator, for gosh’s sake, to estimate the compounding of the TSP.  (He could’ve used the historical returns of the TSP.)  He’s also ignorant of the numerous ways to tap a 401(k) before age 59.5.

He says “While the TSP could reasonably grow to more than that, it is only the result of the GySgt having sacrificed 5% of his pay on the front end, and then giving up 1/5 of his retirement pension on the back end.”  He calls that 5% “sacrificed”, but I see it as investing for retirement.

He lacks objectivity.  The good news is that this vitriol can help call attention to military pay and benefits.  Speaking as an author, I suspect that his angry copy writing also sells books too.

I forgot about the new retirement plan. @Nords  is probably up on that better than I am.
There are actually five different military pension systems now, based on when people joined or whether they’re disabled.  There are even a few of the Final Pay servicemembers still in uniform, and they entered the military before 8 September 1980. 

Here are summaries of the first four:
https://militarypay.defense.gov/Pay/Retirement/

And here’s an overview of the Blended Retirement System, with a comparison to the legacy High Three system:
http://www.dodlive.mil/2018/06/12/brs-vs-high-3-legacy-everything-to-know-about-your-retirement-choices/

For those who really want to dig into the details, this policy memo links to the federal law:
https://militarypay.defense.gov/Portals/3/Documents/Blended%20Retirement/Combined%20BRS%20Policy%20Document.pdf?ver=2018-09-19-094018-610
If you're a BRS servicemember then the answers to your questions are in this densely-worded milspeak.

I’ll point out that any discussion of pensions versus BRS (especially in this thread) should also offer a comparison to trends in civilian corporate retirement systems.  And any commentary on military financial literacy should also reflect on the financial literacy programs at civilian corporations like Google or GM or Wal-Mart.

Chris Pascale

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Re: US Marines on Food Stamps and Welfare - True Story
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2019, 08:00:23 PM »
First, I have to say that it's quite an honor to be discussed on the MMM forum. Thanks.

I'll try to be brief but want to respect all of the points made.

If you don't want to read everything below, just know that:

  • My book is a unique, personal story out of millions
  • The article about the pension reduction is an attempt to make sure more people know that military pensions were reduced by 20%, and troops are being asked to make up the shortfall, but their match is worse than other federal employees

Having said that...


@spartana, asked "why didn't this E7 save while in?"

Sorry for the confusion. I am not retired from the service. I did a 5-year AD contract from '03-'08. The article I wrote was in response to the changes in the pension system, which I feel is a step toward full privatization, which has been voted on more than once, and was heavily supported by Senator John McCain. Knowing all that we give in just one contract, I can't bear the idea that our career troops could get stuck with more of the bill from these wars.

@Nords, your reply brought up some great points that I can clarify. I've enjoyed your interviews and other work, and think it's pretty cool to have a chance to talk with you, even if just here.


This Marine was on the fringe that he qualified for welfare

Absolutely, and I was surprised that this barely-mentioned reference in War Poems sparked a discussion, because it's actually from a poem about my wife's birthday when I was in Falluja. She was worried about money and asked me not to send her a present. I discuss many things, mostly about our life together, briefly noting that we qualified for these benefits, but didn't take them.


Why stand on ceremony for food stamps, but take the Earned Income Credit?

The quote where I say "I'm a man yada-yada-yada" is one of prideful ignorance. Pride in that I wanted to provide for my wife and children, but ignorant in that I did not even know what the Earned Income Credit, Child Tax Credit, Child Care Credit, etc. were. I knew to file my taxes, but had no idea why I got such a large refund.


Why did he get such a large tax refund?

You hit the nail on the head. When I filled out my W-4, I put down Single and Zero. Why? Because a wealthy boss I'd had before the military said that's what he did.


Did he take advantage of free financial services on base?

For my first 3.5 years I was generally in the field, deployed, or on a special assignment. Thankfully, as we prepared to buy a home at my 4.5 year mark, we had to see someone to lock in a rate of 5.75% (in 2007) promoted by Onslow County for 1st Time Home Buyers. This terrific guy was a retired Marine who not only helped us with the paperwork, but explained the W-4 to me. That simple change added $250 to my monthly income. It was an incredible help.


Your UBI reference

A military pension is nothing like UBI, though I have heard some people refer to veterans as "getting" their pensions, like it was for free. But when I think of my wife's tinnitus and other ailments, she'd probably trade them all for the $2,001.69 she received on the 1st. When I think of my PTSD, COPD, trauma-induced ADD (this is apparently a thing), I can only imagine what someone with 20 years leaves with.


My reference to not buying alcohol or cigarettes, or taking lavish trips

If I'd been a reader of the tirade I wrote, I'd wonder where the money went, so wanted to be clear that we weren't wasteful. After all, you get base housing and healthcare, so how can you fall short? Did you buy a giant pickup truck when gas was $4+ a gallon? We were very fortunate to have stayed away from things like alcohol and smoking, and also not to have had car payments, cable, Internet, or video games. We did subscribe to the Jacksonville Daily News and The Economist, and my oldest had private music lessons.

Where we really fell short was that we didn't budget, and I was a LCpl with 2 little kids wanting to have more.


Federal employees have to vest before getting their match

Completely true, but at least they get a match on day 1. Troops under the new plan are not getting any match for 2 years. Going back to my argument, Marines serving as White House guards can't get a match, but all other White House employees do. Now, federal employees forfeit the match if they don't stick around, but the new troops with a reduced pension don't even have the match to lose.


Calling 5% withholding a "sacrifice"

I don't personally think of "sacrifice" as a negative thing, but to think someone isn't going to feel the $100 coming out of a $2,000 income is just incorrect. I know this because I opted to put another $600 into the Montgomery GI Bill, and while it was a very worthy trade, it was still a sacrifice where I gave up some money up front to get more later on, just as one does with a "sacrifice" in baseball.

Despite my positive outlook on sacrifices, the changes to the pensions are extremely negative. The old school military pension was cut by 20%, and to make up for it, troops need to put in 5% of their own pay, which from year 3 onward, they'll get matched.


Compare military pensions to those in the corporate world

No.

The businesses I worked for never needed me to extract someone from their home at 3:00AM. And if they had, I'd have made much more than the $3,000 I took home with a housing allowance in Jacksonville, NC in 2008. I know this from offers I had from Triple Canopy and General Dynamics.


The E-7 retires on Long Island

Suffolk County, NY is home to the largest population of veterans in the US. There is a large Army base in Brooklyn, multiple reserve units, and Kings Point Academy. Because of our trading ports, we have many Coast Guard stations. Also, we are not far from West Point and other large installations. There are also many recruiting offices because of the dense population.


The E-7 has to move when he retires

If he lives on base, this is obviously true, and many people choose base housing to initially get to know an area, or because they don't want to be bothered with the annoyances of home ownership. Even some of the annoyances with renting can be avoided by being on base.


My vitriol sells books

I wish! It took me 15 years to publish a book - War Poems was not my first by a long shot - and commercial success has not yet come. I'm currently trying to find a publisher for the next book, which might be another 15 years and 5+ manuscripts from now. When I give a keynote address, as I did at the 2018 Iowa State Veterans Conference, I pay my own way, because while [I'm told] I'm very good, and do a great job of interacting with as many attendees as I can, I am simply not worth paying. I once tested this by asking an event coordinator to forward my travel itinerary, and she said I had to get myself there, or they'd have a local colonel fill in. The bright side was that I took one of my daughters, and we had a terrific mini vacation that she still talks about.

As a complete commercial failure, I am free to express myself as I wish, because the work is the payment. So when veterans get fucked on their pensions, I'm not afraid to say it just like that, or to get blackballed from The Journal of Accountancy for an article unrelated to this one.

Perhaps this freedom will lead to something that will hit, but if it doesn't, it doesn't.


He uses the Dave Ramsey calculator

I do. It's simplest calculator out there. To be conservative, I always use a 7% ROR, especially since there might be some G Fund in the mix, or the reitree might pull funds out during an economic downturn. Additionally, for the audience at iHateTheUSMC.com, it's the right tool because it helps them crawl before they walk.


A separate note about iHateTheUSMC.com

The site where the pension article is posted is a destination usually found by someone who Googles the phrase "I hate the USMC." He is typically a 21-year-old enlisted troop with a year left, and is thinking of quitting, even if it means a General or OTH discharge. The former Marines and I who respond to people on this site are basically trying to keep them in. Sometimes we also talk to family members who are suffering because of something related to someone's service. Some guys have written in just to say that reading the stories on the site made their last months a little more bearable.


Again, everyone, thanks for reading my work at all. If anyone wants a copy of the book (hardcover or pdf) shoot me a message, and I'll gladly send you one.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2019, 08:07:27 PM by Chris Pascale »

Nords

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Re: US Marines on Food Stamps and Welfare - True Story
« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2019, 09:20:54 PM »
We've spent more than two years (on this forum and other venues) discussing the Blended Retirement System and its advantages & drawbacks.  I've addressed the issues that the OP brought up and I'm not going to rehash the BRS debate any further.

@Nords, your reply brought up some great points that I can clarify. I've enjoyed your interviews and other work, and think it's pretty cool to have a chance to talk with you, even if just here.
If you haven't already bought a ticket, I'll just point out that if you can attend the Military Influencer Conference in Washington DC on 8-10 September then we'll be able to have a longer (better) conversation in person.  (It's probably cheaper than a plane ticket to Hawaii.)  More importantly, you'll be around 400+ other servicemembers, military spouses, and vets who are working on similar entrepreneurial goals.

At MIC you can also get in touch with several authors, publishers, self-publishing entrepreneurs, and at least two coaches who can help you ramp up your public-speaking career.  We can analyze the "Why?" of finding a publisher, and then move on to the "How" and "Who".

https://militaryinfluencer.com/
and some scholarship funds are available here:
https://militarymoneymanual.com/mic-2019-mil-spouse-giveaway/
You might also want to contact Curtez Riggs through https://militaryinfluencer.com/contact-us/ or directly by e-mailing CurtezRiggs at Gmail.


A Fella from Stella

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Re: US Marines on Food Stamps and Welfare - True Story
« Reply #15 on: July 16, 2019, 07:45:46 AM »
I do not know why that stood out to me so much. Maybe because I read it in both places. I'm glad it was an outlier type situation.

grantmeaname

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Re: US Marines on Food Stamps and Welfare - True Story
« Reply #16 on: July 17, 2019, 04:07:50 PM »
First, I have to say that it's quite an honor to be discussed on the MMM forum. Thanks.

What an upstanding, good dude. I couldn't come into a thread as critical as this one with this much equanimity and willingness to admit where I was wrong or my views have changed. Bravo, Chris.

spartana

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Re: US Marines on Food Stamps and Welfare - True Story
« Reply #17 on: Today at 12:37:05 PM »
Thanks for taking the time to respond @Chris Pascale (and of course @Nords always insightful and informative input). I haven't read your book so I'm not qualified to give any input based on anything but my own experiences and from Vets and military retirees that I know. Obviously everyone's experience and situation is different so our views will likely be slanted differently concerning military life, finances and benefits.

I personally see lots of advantages for military service members and their families that aren't common in civilian life. Pay is known ahead of enlistment as is BAH and such for singles and those with dependents. The ability to use things like commisaries and exchanges can greatly reduce COL in higher prices areas. And of course zero medical costs for family and member is pretty huge. I do understand the added financial hardship those with kids face as my Dad was a 30 year career enlisted military with a SAHW and 3 kids when he was low ranking. Finances were tight in his early years but my parents seemed to manage on an E-3 to E-6 salary until he advanced higher. But that is why those with depends get increased COLA and, if deployed for a month or longer, FSH. It's really that's no different from a civilian with a low paying job. At least military with dependents get higher BAH and COLA allowance or free Mitary housing. Even Vets with rated disabities are paid more if they have dependents - even if a "dependent" is earning $300k a year. Not too many civilian jobs pay you extra for a spouse and kids.

As a single enlisted person (eventually married to another enlisted service member after my second hitch) I found it incredibly easy to save most of my pay. Probably helped that I went straight from boot camp to a ship to "A" school to another ship etc... so where the heck was I going to spend money ;-)? Lived and ate aboard my various Units, didn't own a car, etc. That's how most younger enlisted lived. Most didn't have dependents and did have the ability to save money, even those with kids, but most didn't. Why? I don't know but I don't consider it the fault of the military pay and benefit system.

Yes the job is hard (and even extremely dangerous for someone in your situation) deployments are hard and months and years go by without ever seeing "home" or family, there is no nights and weekends and holidays off  (I was never once at home or with spouse during holidays in 12 years in - same with my government civilian LEO job...for less pay and crappier benefits!)), you never know where you're going next or how long you'll be gone, and depending on your service and MOS, what kind of danger you'll be facing everyday. But that's the job and sometimes it sucks.
« Last Edit: Today at 12:59:37 PM by spartana »