Author Topic: The Beginning Military Mustache  (Read 7384 times)

Migrator Soul

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The Beginning Military Mustache
« on: May 28, 2015, 03:48:02 PM »
Hello everyone!

As many do, I have been lurking around for about a year or so, trying to soak in wisdom, and getting my financial house in order. However, I have noticed that most of the advice kind of is biased to those in a more.. traditional career path. So, I am about to outline my situation and plan, and would love some peer review, especially if there are other/former military mustaches hanging about.

here goes.

Age: 23
Rank: E-4
Terms of enlistment contract: 6 active, two inactive. on year three
Divorced (My chain of command allowed me to stay off post rather than move me into the barracks, hence the BAH)

I finally finished paying off my car. As in, traded it in for a used car I bought for 4 grand cash.

Base pay: 2238
BAS (its a pay for food) 367
BAH (Housing allowance for my area) 1098
FLPP (Foreign language proficiency pay for speaking russian) 300

total in: 4003 per month.

Expenses:

Rent: 400 per month (I rent a room out from a good friend of mine, covers all utilities, internet, cable, ect.)
Phone: 60 per month
Insurance: (renters, full coverage auto) 128 per month. (high because I had a speeding problem a few years back)
Food: 200 per month, (I am a hard gainer, so I tend to buy protein supplements.)
Entertainment: 200 per month (Bars, clubs, dating... dating is expensive man.)
Transport: 100 per month. (I bike to my main duty area, however, three times a month or so I have to drive to a training area a little ways out of town)

total expenses: 1088 per month (discounting things like having to buy the odd new uniform)

4003 - 1088 = 2915 net

I also contribute 20% of my base pay into a ROTH TSP, which I have set at the lifecycle 2050 program, since it seemed the simplest to understand at the time. That equates out to about $500 per month.

 2915 net - 500 to tsp = 2415, and after taxes, which are about 520, I have come ahead with about 1895 per month extra.

Now, I want to buy a house, and have played with the option of utilizing a VA loan, however, I have to buy with the knowledge that I will be renting it out after I either PCS (move away) or ETS (leave the military) and the best I can get is a +$150 per month after cost of mortgage, estimated insurance, taxes, plus the projected maintenance, vacancy rates, and property management fees. Not something I am super wild about. I can make the margins significantly better if I save for a 20-25% down, but that may take a while.

I have been juggling betterment vs putting some cash into lending club, both have their pros and cons. I feel much more comfortable investing in tangible assets like property however.

Status of Finances:

6013 in savings
1500 in a 2 year CD, required for my secured credit card. (two years ago my credit score was at 540 with 7 accounts in collections, medical bills from before the military. finished paying them all off three months ago.)
1000 buffer in checking at any point in time for emergencies
2431 in my ROTH TSP

Current Net Worth: 10944

I am also currently enrolled in college, the military is paying my way with Tuition assistance. They have already paid for my associates, and I am working on a dual degree program from Oregon State University, a B.S. in Political Science and a B.S. in Sustainability.. My associates is an Associates of Arts in Russian Language and Culture, from a regionally and nationally accredited institute (DLIFLC). So, if it all goes to plan, by the time my first enlistment is up, I will have my education paid for with no debt/cost to me.

Any advice in how I can optimize/tweak/do something different, is welcome. Thanks in advance.

*update*

After taking into consideration my large savings buffer, I have decided to contribute 60% of base pay into the ROTH TSP option, which falls just above 16K per year. After delving through some more forums and bogleheads posts, I have decided on a 40/40/20 SCI split. If I dont feel too cramped after two months of this, I may add some of my allowances as well. However, I am dating, and young, so I try to allow a bit more financial wriggle room for dating and random drinking with friends.

I am holding off on the house, as much as I love the idea of being a homeowner, and love rentals, I can't justify it to myself. I am glad you all agree.

I will update this thread at the end of the month of June with my results.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2015, 08:10:36 PM by Migrator Soul »

MDM

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Re: The Beginning Military Mustache
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2015, 03:54:50 PM »
What do you think about investing a full $18K/yr into the TSP?  Plus another $5.5K into an IRA?


Migrator Soul

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Re: The Beginning Military Mustache
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2015, 04:03:53 PM »
What do you think about investing a full $18K/yr into the TSP?  Plus another $5.5K into an IRA?

If I were to do that, it would mean I would be sinking most of my base pay into one vehicle.

E4 annual base pay before taxes is 26,856 (which is why I think the fight for 15 stuff going on lately is laughable, but hey) so that would be well over half. that also would not leave much buffer if I suddenly move.. Also, it takes a looong time to correct allotments in the pay system. So, if something happened, and I needed to stop that high of an allotment, it could take a full month.

The other parts of my pay are allowances, so I cannot comfortably assume I can subsist on them. For example, if I get told "hey, you are going to move, and you have to go into the barracks" then I lose both the BAS, and BAH, which negates 1400 or so from my income.

However, were I to forego my plans to look at purchasing a house to live in here with the plan of renting it, I would probably lose no sleep over plopping more into the TSP. I have thought a betterment IRA as well.

MDM

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Re: The Beginning Military Mustache
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2015, 04:17:54 PM »
However, were I to forego my plans to look at purchasing a house to live in here with the plan of renting it, I would probably lose no sleep over plopping more into the TSP. I have thought a betterment IRA as well.
That seems reasonable.  The house didn't appear a good plan (for reasons you described) and given your "Not something I am super wild about" it seemed you would have free cash flow, so....

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Re: The Beginning Military Mustache
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2015, 04:22:52 PM »
What do you think about investing a full $18K/yr into the TSP?  Plus another $5.5K into an IRA?

My thoughts as well. TSP is a great plan (aside from no match), with the lowest expenses you will find anywhere.

Migrator Soul

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Re: The Beginning Military Mustache
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2015, 04:30:15 PM »
What do you think about investing a full $18K/yr into the TSP?  Plus another $5.5K into an IRA?

My thoughts as well. TSP is a great plan (aside from no match), with the lowest expenses you will find anywhere.

Yeah, I know the GS employees I work with get a nice match, which I am totally jealous of, but I can't say I don't like free dental, medical, ect. Getting PRK for free was super nice. I am also juggling whether I want to stay in for 20, and collect the pension/healthcare benefits. I completely realize that I could easily find a better paying job, but strangely enough, I like the military

However, were I to forego my plans to look at purchasing a house to live in here with the plan of renting it, I would probably lose no sleep over plopping more into the TSP. I have thought a betterment IRA as well.
That seems reasonable.  The house didn't appear a good plan (for reasons you described) and given your "Not something I am super wild about" it seemed you would have free cash flow, so....

No, I understand where you are coming from on that angle. Trust me, I see it too. I suppose I should postulate my question more like this; With the likelihood of me being stationed her for a few more years fairly high, would it be worth getting saving for a house, for a higher cashflow margin, or should I continue renting and just plop everything into those tax advantaged acccounts?

Were I to buy a home, I am looking at a 3br 2 bath at around 1500 SF in San Antonio for about 140K. Each spare bedroom would be rented for 500 flat buy other military buddies, who have already expressed interest. That would completely cover PITI plus most utilities, allowing me to live rent free essentially. The concern was utilizing a VA loan rather than a conventional.

the VA Loan would essentially fund the entire purchase, at 3.5 % or so, but the monthly payment would be higher. Giving me a cash flow (if I rented it out completely) of $150

Conventional would take some time to save for, but I could feasibly see a cash flow of about $250 per month, after PITI/management/5% for maintenance and an assumed 5% vacancy rate.

At some point, I am going to go one way or the other. I know rentals, I grew up helping my Dad for years manage/fix/rent them. I suppose I suffer from a case of being overly cautious.

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Re: The Beginning Military Mustache
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2015, 04:37:33 PM »
I am also currently enrolled in college, the military is paying my way with Tuition assistance. They have already paid for my associates, and I am working on a dual degree program from Oregon State University, a B.S. in Political Science and a B.S. in Sustainability.. My associates is an Associates of Arts in Russian Language and Culture, from a regionally and nationally accredited institute (DLIFLC). So, if it all goes to plan, by the time my first enlistment is up, I will have my education paid for with no debt/cost to me.

Any advice in how I can optimize/tweak/do something different, is welcome. Thanks in advance.

Then it's Green to Gold, Green to Gold, Green to Gold.
Also, I moved my TSP 100% to S fund.  Not something I would recommend compared to a S C I split, but I want to be more aggressive in my allocation.

Until then you should be close to E5, so max that APFT and get to the board. 

Migrator Soul

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Re: The Beginning Military Mustache
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2015, 04:45:50 PM »
I am also currently enrolled in college, the military is paying my way with Tuition assistance. They have already paid for my associates, and I am working on a dual degree program from Oregon State University, a B.S. in Political Science and a B.S. in Sustainability.. My associates is an Associates of Arts in Russian Language and Culture, from a regionally and nationally accredited institute (DLIFLC). So, if it all goes to plan, by the time my first enlistment is up, I will have my education paid for with no debt/cost to me.

Any advice in how I can optimize/tweak/do something different, is welcome. Thanks in advance.

Then it's Green to Gold, Green to Gold, Green to Gold.
Also, I moved my TSP 100% to S fund.  Not something I would recommend compared to a S C I split, but I want to be more aggressive in my allocation.

Until then you should be close to E5, so max that APFT and get to the board.

E4 Promotable, 300 APFT, Max correspondence courses. I'm kind of a shitty shot though, only hit 30 out of 40 on average. 1SG keeps throwing me on each range though, so I am working to get that up there. Problem is, points have been at 798 for the past year or so. I do have WLC coming up in September though, so If I keep my pt up, which isn't an issue, and study a bit, I should do well.

I am not too bad on awards either. What is hurting me is deployment time, which I have none due to my language/mos/first duty station, no Airborne, and few resident courses. (CLS, Combatives, that's all that is availiable to us at the moment)

G2G is something I have been looking into seriously. I think I may go talk to my CO about it, though if I do that I would want Active Duty option. What is holding me back is that I have worked so hard to become and NCO, I feel like it would be cutting a corner to bypass that. (I realize that's irrational, and given the chance I would go g2g without becoming an NCO no problem, but hey, people are people.)

curler

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Re: The Beginning Military Mustache
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2015, 04:48:04 PM »

E4 annual base pay before taxes is 26,856 (which is why I think the fight for 15 stuff going on lately is laughable, but hey) so that would be well over half. that also would not leave much buffer if I suddenly move.. Also, it takes a looong time to correct allotments in the pay system. So, if something happened, and I needed to stop that high of an allotment, it could take a full month.


With your current pay/expense ratio, you should be able to accumulate a $4,000 emergency fund (3-months of spending) that should cause the delay in changing the pay system to not be an issue.

More generally, I'd agree that buying property doesn't sound like a good idea for you.  Long distance landlording isn't worth it, and buying and selling quickly is expensive.

Migrator Soul

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Re: The Beginning Military Mustache
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2015, 04:49:42 PM »

E4 annual base pay before taxes is 26,856 (which is why I think the fight for 15 stuff going on lately is laughable, but hey) so that would be well over half. that also would not leave much buffer if I suddenly move.. Also, it takes a looong time to correct allotments in the pay system. So, if something happened, and I needed to stop that high of an allotment, it could take a full month.


With your current pay/expense ratio, you should be able to accumulate a $4,000 emergency fund (3-months of spending) that should cause the delay in changing the pay system to not be an issue.

More generally, I'd agree that buying property doesn't sound like a good idea for you.  Long distance landlording isn't worth it, and buying and selling quickly is expensive.

I already have 6K in a savings account, which functions as my emergency/general savings. It has to be a dire/legit emergency for me to dip into it.

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Re: The Beginning Military Mustache
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2015, 08:34:25 AM »
Congrats on taking the right path to FI and on taking full advantage of the education benefits.  Good to hear you decided against buying the house.  If you have any deployments coming up, you should look into the Savings Deposit Program, as well as your ability to up your TSP contributions as you can. Keep us posted.

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Re: The Beginning Military Mustache
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2015, 10:36:12 AM »
Congrats on making good moves.  You're on the right track.  Being in the military provides some of the best opportunities for good financial moves.  It's unfortunate more don't take advantage of it the way you are.

Also be sure to take advantage of savings provided by field time or deployments.  Those add up REAL fast.

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Re: The Beginning Military Mustache
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2015, 11:03:13 AM »
I just wanted to speak to that whole idea of green to gold vs becoming an NCO.  Digital facepunch coming here, so look out.

Any peer pressure you are getting to not "sell out" and become an officer is bovine fecal matter.  Yes, 2LT's suck and don't know what they are doing (been there) but so did being a private, right?  You will get there, you will grow, and if you really want to be a good leader, you take care of your peoples.  Its really that simple.  By holding yourself back to be an NCO, you are giving your future self the shaft.  Turn in your damn packet now soldier, and go earn yourself a butter bar!

You are doing amazing things with your finances and showing a remarkable amount of forethought.  Now imagine how well you could guide your own platoon, or company...get on it and go get your commission.

Oh, and don't get anyone knocked up. 

UltraRunning

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Re: The Beginning Military Mustache
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2015, 11:15:15 AM »
I am an e-3 about to sew on e-4 myself in the airforce.  22 about to turn 23. if you ever want to talk feel free to pm.

neo von retorch

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Re: The Beginning Military Mustache
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2015, 11:17:11 AM »
Have you read this guy's blog?

http://the-military-guide.com/2011/01/03/how-many-years-does-it-take-to-become-financially-independent-2/

Great stuff (whether or not you are military, but might be particularly useful to you!)

NorCal

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Re: The Beginning Military Mustache
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2015, 02:57:12 PM »
I just wanted to speak to that whole idea of green to gold vs becoming an NCO.  Digital facepunch coming here, so look out.

Any peer pressure you are getting to not "sell out" and become an officer is bovine fecal matter.  Yes, 2LT's suck and don't know what they are doing (been there) but so did being a private, right?  You will get there, you will grow, and if you really want to be a good leader, you take care of your peoples.  Its really that simple.  By holding yourself back to be an NCO, you are giving your future self the shaft.  Turn in your damn packet now soldier, and go earn yourself a butter bar!

You are doing amazing things with your finances and showing a remarkable amount of forethought.  Now imagine how well you could guide your own platoon, or company...get on it and go get your commission.

Oh, and don't get anyone knocked up.

Well put.  I started enlisted and eventually became an officer.  Contrary to popular opinion, I worked a TON more as an officer than I did as enlisted.  It was just a different type of work.

Becoming an officer is worth it, but only if your heart is in it.  If you're only doing it for career advancement or a bigger check, you'll be a shitty officer with no good options.  But if it's something you'd truly like to do, it is rewarding on a personal, professional, and financial level.

Most of the career options I have today are because of my time as an officer.  My enlisted time doesn't even go on my resume anymore.  It's just what employers care about.

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Re: The Beginning Military Mustache
« Reply #16 on: May 30, 2015, 08:12:21 PM »
I am an e-3 about to sew on e-4 myself in the airforce.  22 about to turn 23. if you ever want to talk feel free to pm.

For sure bro. I actually work with plenty of AF everyday, congrats on making SrA!

d
I just wanted to speak to that whole idea of green to gold vs becoming an NCO.  Digital facepunch coming here, so look out.

Any peer pressure you are getting to not "sell out" and become an officer is bovine fecal matter.  Yes, 2LT's suck and don't know what they are doing (been there) but so did being a private, right?  You will get there, you will grow, and if you really want to be a good leader, you take care of your peoples.  Its really that simple.  By holding yourself back to be an NCO, you are giving your future self the shaft.  Turn in your damn packet now soldier, and go earn yourself a butter bar!

You are doing amazing things with your finances and showing a remarkable amount of forethought.  Now imagine how well you could guide your own platoon, or company...get on it and go get your commission.

Oh, and don't get anyone knocked up. 

I do indeed intend to become an officer. Ultimately I want to follow down the path of a Major I studied with at DLI who was becoming a Foreign Area Officer, and work in an embassy. And yes, I joined as a hungry poor newly married E-1, I remember well how being a PVT sucked. It was a good kind of suck though, I appreciated my subsequent ranks more than those that came in at the grade.

Good news on the unwanted children front, I don't exactly do well with the ladies because I don't spend money on them. Unfortunately, my peers tend to have given the military a reputation with women here in town that they can just get everything they want because PFC Joe Snuffy will spend his whole paycheck on them. lol

Have you read this guy's blog?

http://the-military-guide.com/2011/01/03/how-many-years-does-it-take-to-become-financially-independent-2/

Great stuff (whether or not you are military, but might be particularly useful to you!)

I have not, but I will now :D

I just wanted to speak to that whole idea of green to gold vs becoming an NCO.  Digital facepunch coming here, so look out.

Any peer pressure you are getting to not "sell out" and become an officer is bovine fecal matter.  Yes, 2LT's suck and don't know what they are doing (been there) but so did being a private, right?  You will get there, you will grow, and if you really want to be a good leader, you take care of your peoples.  Its really that simple.  By holding yourself back to be an NCO, you are giving your future self the shaft.  Turn in your damn packet now soldier, and go earn yourself a butter bar!

You are doing amazing things with your finances and showing a remarkable amount of forethought.  Now imagine how well you could guide your own platoon, or company...get on it and go get your commission.

Oh, and don't get anyone knocked up.

Well put.  I started enlisted and eventually became an officer.  Contrary to popular opinion, I worked a TON more as an officer than I did as enlisted.  It was just a different type of work.

Becoming an officer is worth it, but only if your heart is in it.  If you're only doing it for career advancement or a bigger check, you'll be a shitty officer with no good options.  But if it's something you'd truly like to do, it is rewarding on a personal, professional, and financial level.

Most of the career options I have today are because of my time as an officer.  My enlisted time doesn't even go on my resume anymore.  It's just what employers care about.

That is something commonly I hear. My CO and I talked, and he was actually a mustang himself. He is all about me going G2G, he believes a two year college experience would be beneficial to me, rather than going his route with OCS and University of Phoenix. He had said that he recommends the Active Duty option, after a lengthy discussion of my goals, taking into account I plan on retiring after 20 years, at 39

Nords

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Re: The Beginning Military Mustache
« Reply #17 on: May 30, 2015, 08:56:44 PM »
Welcome to the forums, MS. 
Were I to buy a home, I am looking at a 3br 2 bath at around 1500 SF in San Antonio for about 140K. Each spare bedroom would be rented for 500 flat buy other military buddies, who have already expressed interest. That would completely cover PITI plus most utilities, allowing me to live rent free essentially. The concern was utilizing a VA loan rather than a conventional.
San Antonio has a huge military population, so you would probably be able to cover your expenses, but as a long-term investment it would appreciate at about the rate of inflation.  If you're planning to return to SA after the military that's one thing, but if you're planning to invest in real estate then you'd want to buy cheap, rehab, and hold for as long as possible.

You might want to read these posts as well:
http://the-military-guide.com/2010/12/29/real-estate-rent-or-buy/
http://the-military-guide.com/2013/07/01/book-review-rent-vs-own/
http://the-military-guide.com/2015/01/01/dont-buy-home-active-duty/

That is something commonly I hear. My CO and I talked, and he was actually a mustang himself. He is all about me going G2G, he believes a two year college experience would be beneficial to me, rather than going his route with OCS and University of Phoenix. He had said that he recommends the Active Duty option, after a lengthy discussion of my goals, taking into account I plan on retiring after 20 years, at 39
Either way you'll have a college degree and the path to a commission. 

If you want to effect more change among more people, though, I think you'll have a broader reach (and leave a longer legacy) as an officer.  There are exceptions to every generalization, but you'll have a lot more control over the results.

Migrator Soul

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Re: The Beginning Military Mustache
« Reply #18 on: May 31, 2015, 05:35:42 PM »
Welcome to the forums, MS. 
Were I to buy a home, I am looking at a 3br 2 bath at around 1500 SF in San Antonio for about 140K. Each spare bedroom would be rented for 500 flat buy other military buddies, who have already expressed interest. That would completely cover PITI plus most utilities, allowing me to live rent free essentially. The concern was utilizing a VA loan rather than a conventional.
San Antonio has a huge military population, so you would probably be able to cover your expenses, but as a long-term investment it would appreciate at about the rate of inflation.  If you're planning to return to SA after the military that's one thing, but if you're planning to invest in real estate then you'd want to buy cheap, rehab, and hold for as long as possible.

You might want to read these posts as well:
http://the-military-guide.com/2010/12/29/real-estate-rent-or-buy/
http://the-military-guide.com/2013/07/01/book-review-rent-vs-own/
http://the-military-guide.com/2015/01/01/dont-buy-home-active-duty/

That is something commonly I hear. My CO and I talked, and he was actually a mustang himself. He is all about me going G2G, he believes a two year college experience would be beneficial to me, rather than going his route with OCS and University of Phoenix. He had said that he recommends the Active Duty option, after a lengthy discussion of my goals, taking into account I plan on retiring after 20 years, at 39
Either way you'll have a college degree and the path to a commission. 

If you want to effect more change among more people, though, I think you'll have a broader reach (and leave a longer legacy) as an officer.  There are exceptions to every generalization, but you'll have a lot more control over the results.

Nords, I took a look through your site last night, and I have to say, it is fairly impressive. I appreciate you taking the time to put it up.

I think the path to commission is my path, it is just choosing the right road to attain it. I agree with you regarding the broader reach and longer legacy. Though, in the current climate of the draw down, I know I have to be hot shit to get picked up for OCS. I am looking at the packet as we speak, and it is fairly involved.

Nords

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Re: The Beginning Military Mustache
« Reply #19 on: May 31, 2015, 08:44:39 PM »
Nords, I took a look through your site last night, and I have to say, it is fairly impressive. I appreciate you taking the time to put it up.
Thanks.  It grew out of a discussion over a decade ago on Early-Retirement.org about how more military retirees should be FI, and someone made some brash comment along the lines of "Somebody should write a book"... so we did.

Most of the blog's new material comes from answering reader questions.  I wish that when I was in uniform I'd known even half of what I've learned from researching those answers.  So now I'm paying it forward.

I think the path to commission is my path, it is just choosing the right road to attain it. I agree with you regarding the broader reach and longer legacy. Though, in the current climate of the draw down, I know I have to be hot shit to get picked up for OCS. I am looking at the packet as we speak, and it is fairly involved.
Think of it as a long-term project designed to assess whether you're worthy of elevating your skills to the next level.  (It will cause you to do your own self-assessment, too.)  Break it down into bite-sized assignments and give it 20-60 minutes per week.  (Kinda like writing a book.)  It also helps to find a mustang mentor either at your command or on RallyPoint or on Linkedin, preferably one who has gone through OCS during this millennium. 

Every couple of years, every military service suddenly runs out of a certain officer specialty and goes crazy trying to fill the empty billets with just about anyone.  Applying to OCS is mainly a function of persistence, flexibility, and handling rejection with grace.  When you get a "No", ask the chain of command what you need to improve in your application to turn the response into "Yes".  Kinda like finding a publisher.

I've had three submariners get their college degrees and go into the Air Force (which evoked much envy from their shipmates), a nuclear-trained submarine electrician become an Intelligence officer (he has been mercilessly teased for over two decades), and a knuckle-dragging submarine Auxiliary Machinist Mate become an F/A-18 pilot (which caused all of us submariners to wonder about the aviation community). 

Sea story:  When I was at Monterey in the 1980s, DLI students used to work out in the gym at the Naval Postgraduate School.  I still remember their t-shirts reading on the front:  "We're learning Russian..." and on the back: "... so that you don't have to".
« Last Edit: May 31, 2015, 08:46:48 PM by Nords »

Migrator Soul

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Re: The Beginning Military Mustache
« Reply #20 on: June 01, 2015, 04:41:17 PM »
Sea story:  When I was at Monterey in the 1980s, DLI students used to work out in the gym at the Naval Postgraduate School.  I still remember their t-shirts reading on the front:  "We're learning Russian..." and on the back: "... so that you don't have to".

I have one of those exact shirts... And may have checked out the NPS once or twice. Nice place..

What vastly boggles my mind is how there are NCO's in my unit that are in mounds of debt, and yet in the perfect position to start taking steps to FIRE... The military literally spoon feeds you so you can have what you need to live, and comfortably, while still having plenty left over.

*edit for spelling*
« Last Edit: June 01, 2015, 05:55:51 PM by Migrator Soul »

Nords

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Re: The Beginning Military Mustache
« Reply #21 on: June 01, 2015, 05:15:03 PM »
What vastly boggles my mind is how there are NCO's in my unit that are in mounds of debt, and yet in the perfect position to start taking steps to FIRE... The military literally spoon feeds you so you can have what you need to live, and comfortably, while still having plenty left over.
Yep-- "blissfully ignorant".

SummerLovin

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Re: The Beginning Military Mustache
« Reply #22 on: June 01, 2015, 05:45:21 PM »
Congratulations on being squared away and thinking and planning your future today.  You've got a much better head-start than many of your peers.  Here's my advice aka, "what I would tell my 24 y/o self",  in order of impact to your financial heath:
   1. Future spouse: Please, please, please, try to find someone who thinks that FI is important and has the same mindset that you do, as well as how many children you plan to have( if any).  I know you've been married before, but clear and open communication around financial goals and spending are critical to FI and a long & healthy marriage:)
   2. Career:You're on track for a degree,don't stop now! Think about and decide what you want to do, and where you want to be in 5-10 years. Do you want to go "corporate" to use you language skills, or be a contractor? Do you want to make a career in the military, if so definitely go the OCS route, or at least go warrant.  I know it's not all about the money, but if you're going to have a degree and plan to stick around you should be compensated for it.  ( Also, when it's time to retire or move onto the civilian sector, former officers are generally more recruited and better compensated in the corporate world, YRMV)  Also, consider a career in the Active Guard/Reserve where you may be able to stay in a certain location longer where home buying is worthwhile.
   3.  Home Ownership: It's much more work than most people talk about, and since you get BHA/BAS, to cover your rent  don't bother until you get to a point that you "need" a house. (Settled down Wife, children ,etc)  Kudos for staying well below BAH, and parking the excess in savings or investments.  Don't get fooled into believing that it's an "investment", it's a roof over your head.  Time will decide if it's an investment.

Migrator Soul

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Re: The Beginning Military Mustache
« Reply #23 on: June 01, 2015, 06:05:38 PM »
   1. Future spouse: Please, please, please, try to find someone who thinks that FI is important and has the same mindset that you do, as well as how many children you plan to have( if any).  I know you've been married before, but clear and open communication around financial goals and spending are critical to FI and a long & healthy marriage:)
   2. Career:You're on track for a degree,don't stop now! Think about and decide what you want to do, and where you want to be in 5-10 years. Do you want to go "corporate" to use you language skills, or be a contractor? Do you want to make a career in the military, if so definitely go the OCS route, or at least go warrant.  I know it's not all about the money, but if you're going to have a degree and plan to stick around you should be compensated for it.  ( Also, when it's time to retire or move onto the civilian sector, former officers are generally more recruited and better compensated in the corporate world, YRMV)  Also, consider a career in the Active Guard/Reserve where you may be able to stay in a certain location longer where home buying is worthwhile.
   3.  Home Ownership: It's much more work than most people talk about, and since you get BHA/BAS, to cover your rent  don't bother until you get to a point that you "need" a house. (Settled down Wife, children ,etc)  Kudos for staying well below BAH, and parking the excess in savings or investments.  Don't get fooled into believing that it's an "investment", it's a roof over your head.  Time will decide if it's an investment.

1. Again, why I am still single after my divorce. I don't desire children until I am at least thirty, and finding women my age with my mentality towards early retirement is almost unheard of. The first time the conversation comes up they are stunned, as to why I would "deprive myself of a good time" for the future. I'll continue things for a bit after that, but typically they end up calling me a cheap bastard and leaving. Am I a bit bitter, maybe. But, I totally agree with you, so maybe someday the right one will meander on in. My Ex-Wife spent every last dime I had, while we were together. I know all about the perils of an irresponsible spouse.

2. I love the Russian language. I also love the Army. The plan is to become a Foreign Area Officer and work in an embassy. Warrant is a backup plan... I always have wanted to show up to formation with a coffee mug in hand, and then vanish for the rest of the day. (joking, I know that is quite the myth)

3. I so want a house though. However, I know I will end up being a long distance landlord, which, while not impossible, is a pain. I grew up assisting my family with their own rental units, so I am fairly informed, handy, and knowledgeable in that aspect. If I did buy a house, I would only buy one I know for sure that I could turn into a profitable rental. However, considering how risk averse I am when it comes to real estate, it will be a one in a million find.