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View Poll Results: Stay in, or throw in the towel?
Stay in until retirement, the benefits alone are worth it. 4 57.14%
GTFO now, take the 80 grand and run... 3 42.86%
Voters: 7. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 04-26-2012, 09:59 AM
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Default Should ArmyofOne Stay in the Army, or get out?

I have a choice to make here, and I want some of your opinions. I am a Specialist (E4-P) In an MOS with exremely high promotion points. My High Year Tenure is 8 years, I have 7 years time in service right now.

What HYT means, is that if I have not made E5 by 8 years, The army will cut my contract short and Honorably Discharge me, zeroing out all pay and allowances for up to 18 months of service not completed. I would receive a check for nearly $80,000 (before taxes), for my 18 months I have left on my contract, and get told to GTFO. The only benefits would be whatever VA benefits I get, my GI Bill, etc, things a veteran is normally entitled to upon Ending Term of Service (ETS-Leaving the Army). Points for E5 are high...but...

I was just given a Date for the Warrior Leader's Course (WLC). Warrior Leader's Course will give me the last 80 Promotion points I need to make E5. Once I make E5, I can re-enlist, I can go to the E6 board a year or so later, and from that point on, any promotion is gravy, as long as I have that E5-P (Promotable), I can retire at 20 years if it comes to that.

So...Its now or never. If I do not get out now, I WILL NOT get out after 10 years. My current contract ends 17 Oct 2014.

My other choice is to try to make E5, and stay in till 20, to collect a pension and medical benefits.


It should be noted, I have saved every paycheck, bonus, I have gotten the last 7 years, deployment pay...everything. The only time I got into it was to buy the Ram. We are living off of my wife's disability pay. My truck is paid for, I have enough to buy a house cash (2 if I wanted to), and have no children or debt. So, if I am going to get out. Now is the time. 3 combat deployments, numerous training deployments, and several awards. I have stalled out in my career because I got hurt in OIF 06, and put on weight. Was flagged for 2 years and missed several opportunities for promotion because I was blocked from promotion (Flagged). I always pass the Army Physical Fitness test and Body Fat Standards now though.

So what do you guys think? If I am going to make the switch...now is the time.
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Last edited by ArmyofOne; 04-26-2012 at 10:07 AM.
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Old 04-26-2012, 10:46 AM
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That is a tough choice. I can not speak from personal experience but can tell that my cousin, whom I roomed with in college, was a lifetime Marine. From high school until recently (over 25 years). He did everything they asked in hopes of getting promoted to full bird one day. They kept blocking (flagging) him for one reason or another even though he was a stand-up soldier. He retired as a major with nothing but the basic benefits (which are not bad by any means). He does not regret being a Marine at all but wishes he had not stayed in so long.

That being said, the real world is a completely different battle. Jobs are scarce in some areas. I think you should give some very thoughtful consideration (if you haven't already) to what you want to do once you get out. It sounds like you have been great at saving your money which is a good thing. But it can be depleted quickly. If you choose to take the money and GTFO, I recommend you either teach yourself to be a wise investor or pay someone to do it for you. That nest egg of yours can grow exponentially and make for a very comfortable future for you and your wife. Don't pay cash for a house. Rates are around 4% and you get to deduct the interest on your taxes so it is practically free money. It is okay to make a sizable down payment but the remaining cash could be invested and easily earn an APR of 8-10% if not more. Remember, we are on the back side of a recession so as the economy continues to improve, the markets will come back. There is money to be made for those who invest wisely.

Also, if you leave and find a good job that you enjoy, chances are they will provide a 401K match. With your saving habits and young age, merely saving the maximum allowable amount each year (currently around $16K) and having your employer match a small percentage of that, should add up to millions when you retire. And that's without ever touching your current cash assets, which could also be invested.

It's not for any of us to tell you what to do. I think you just have to go where your heart tells you. Either way, it sounds like you will land on your feet. What does your wife want you to do? I am guessing she would like to see you home more often. Do you want to start a family in the next few years? Those are the things that matter. Regardless of the decision you make, you have served your country well and I, for one, am incredibly grateful for that sacrifice. Good luck. I wish you the very best.
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Old 04-26-2012, 10:46 AM
wvcoolvinilla wvcoolvinilla is offline
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I voted stay in but it is a very hard call.. went thru the same thing myself.. stayed 6 years and got out.. It was the Jimmy Carter years and we were gutting the military.. I was an e-4 and getting e-5 was very hard at the time.. I had issues because I had lost hearing (total) in my left ear and was going to have to change my job in the AF. No more flight status.. supply, cook so on and so forth.. the only reason I say stay is because I don't think the job market is the best out here right now.. Good Luck with your choice but at the end of the day it is all going to be on you brother
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Old 04-26-2012, 10:49 AM
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Razorbass has given you some very good advice on the finicial end.. listen to what he says..
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Old 04-26-2012, 10:59 AM
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You have a very big decision that is for sure. I can see positives for both sides if you get out you will be home more and with your wife and and will get that lump sum check of around 80K. If you stay in and go to 20 you will still only be 40. With the amount of money you have saved and being able to buy a house or two with Cash ( wow up here that means you have about 1.2 million in the bank for an average home here in my city) you could not have to work after age 40 bu is there enough to keep you busy and not go crazy. As well will it be harder to find a job at 40 then it is if you were to get out now and find one. So many things to consider and wish you all the best in your choice and thank you for the service you have provided!
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Old 04-26-2012, 11:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Razorbass View Post
That is a tough choice. I can not speak from personal experience but can tell that my cousin, whom I roomed with in college, was a lifetime Marine. From high school until recently (over 25 years). He did everything they asked in hopes of getting promoted to full bird one day. They kept blocking (flagging) him for one reason or another even though he was a stand-up soldier. He retired as a major with nothing but the basic benefits (which are not bad by any means). He does not regret being a Marine at all but wishes he had not stayed in so long.

That being said, the real world is a completely different battle. Jobs are scarce in some areas. I think you should give some very thoughtful consideration (if you haven't already) to what you want to do once you get out. It sounds like you have been great at saving your money which is a good thing. But it can be depleted quickly. If you choose to take the money and GTFO, I recommend you either teach yourself to be a wise investor or pay someone to do it for you. That nest egg of yours can grow exponentially and make for a very comfortable future for you and your wife. Don't pay cash for a house. Rates are around 4% and you get to deduct the interest on your taxes so it is practically free money. It is okay to make a sizable down payment but the remaining cash could be invested and easily earn an APR of 8-10% if not more. Remember, we are on the back side of a recession so as the economy continues to improve, the markets will come back. There is money to be made for those who invest wisely.

Also, if you leave and find a good job that you enjoy, chances are they will provide a 401K match. With your saving habits and young age, merely saving the maximum allowable amount each year (currently around $16K) and having your employer match a small percentage of that, should add up to millions when you retire. And that's without ever touching your current cash assets, which could also be invested.

It's not for any of us to tell you what to do. I think you just have to go where your heart tells you. Either way, it sounds like you will land on your feet. What does your wife want you to do? I am guessing she would like to see you home more often. Do you want to start a family in the next few years? Those are the things that matter. Regardless of the decision you make, you have served your country well and I, for one, am incredibly grateful for that sacrifice. Good luck. I wish you the very best.
Its my pleasure, really. I have nearly all of my money invested in the Military Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). It is collecting interest/making dividends. I also have some in the Savings Deposit Program which matches 100% of your contribution, up to 10k a year. So if I put in 10k, so does the army. I take that money at the end of the year and roll it into the TSP, so it can make more money. Its a cycle. At the end of FY '11, I had put another 20k into the TSP, on top of all the money I put in there throughout the year (currently about $2,300 a month).

Quote:
Originally Posted by wvcoolvinilla View Post
I voted stay in but it is a very hard call.. went thru the same thing myself.. stayed 6 years and got out.. It was the Jimmy Carter years and we were gutting the military.. I was an e-4 and getting e-5 was very hard at the time.. I had issues because I had lost hearing (total) in my left ear and was going to have to change my job in the AF. No more flight status.. supply, cook so on and so forth.. the only reason I say stay is because I don't think the job market is the best out here right now.. Good Luck with your choice but at the end of the day it is all going to be on you brother
That's what I am facing. They are gutting the military again, supposed to be 80,000 troops out by the end of '13. E5 is nearly unattainable in my job.

Either way, Uncle Sam (at a minimum) will be buying a new truck for me every year for the rest of my life. I have been Diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury on 5 occasions, Functioning Post Traumatic Stress-Disorder (I get the flashbacks, bad dreams, and other symptoms, but the anxiety attacks are manageable with meds), my left hip is royally ****ed from an IED strike and then a Humvee falling off of a jackstand 2 years later on the same hip, my back is a little messed up doesnt hurt, just gets stiff, and I have 60% hearing loss in the left ear, and 40% in the right, mostly attributed to 25 IED strikes on various Route Clearance Patrols-My VA rep says due to all of that, if I were to get out now, I would be clearing at least $600 a month, maybe more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShawnC13 View Post
You have a very big decision that is for sure. I can see positives for both sides if you get out you will be home more and with your wife and and will get that lump sum check of around 80K. If you stay in and go to 20 you will still only be 40. With the amount of money you have saved and being able to buy a house or two with Cash ( wow up here that means you have about 1.2 million in the bank for an average home here in my city) you could not have to work after age 40 bu is there enough to keep you busy and not go crazy. As well will it be harder to find a job at 40 then it is if you were to get out now and find one. So many things to consider and wish you all the best in your choice and thank you for the service you have provided!
Nowhere near 1.2 million. While I am not comfortable divulging an exact number over the internet on an open forum, I will say where I am from, a NICE home (2500+ Sq.Ft., pool, 3 car garage) goes for under $250,000 USD. Using $250,000 USD as a base number, you can do the math.


As far as family goes, we will have to adopt. My wife is not capable of bearing children, and unfortunately it was a result of a car accident after we were already engaged to be married. Even so, I love her...I would never leave her over this, I wouldn't be able to live with myself. But this has been one of the many reasons our marriage has been strained. We are still in litigation with the state of NY over it (over 6 years later) and hope to have a rather large settlement come out of it. (those who want details, PM please...again...not for the interwebs.)

Regardless of all of the above, my wife's reaction was pretty much what I expected. From her email:

"It's your choice. I have every confidence in you and we will be fine, whatever you decide. We have always found a way to have everything we need and save more than I ever thought possible. We have each other, and what you do for a living doesn't matter. If you are ready to move on, then its time, if not, thats fine too, just make sure its what you want. I will go wherever we have to go and do whatever we have to do to be with you, and I don't care if you are a greeter at wal-mart, flipping burgers at mcdonald's, or the CEO of a multi-billion dollar corporation. You are my husband, and whether you get out now, or in 20 years, you did great things for this country. Don't you ever doubt that.

All my love,
Meghan."

Shit. I was kind of hoping she would make this decision for me.
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Old 04-26-2012, 12:52 PM
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Wow, that is a tough decision.

I attempted to enlist when I was younger and due to medical conditions I wasn't even aware of I was denied. I look back on it and am sure the government made the wrong decision. There seems to be a part of my life and dedication to my country I was denied.

That is one regret you will never have to make.

There are quite a few things I noticed reading over the posts that should probably be taken into consideration. Due to the future withdrawals there is going to be an increased influx into the job community that is already struggling at best.

I'm not a gambling man but your situation does pose some paradoxes. To leave now and take your chances in a struggling economy could in fact be a detriment to your situation. Then on the other hand, the 80k is a sure thing at this time. No gamble.

If you're interested in the big picture, then I'd say that the 80k is minimal if the military is matching your savings exponentially. That being said...if you're paid a penny the first day of work and it's doubled every day for the next 30, then $10,737,418.24 using the equation of 0.01x2^30 is the result.

That would indicate that your decision isn't based on the cash value at this time.

Therefore I believe that you're skirting around the personal aspects of your situation. The military has structure and your looking for Meghan or someone else to make the decision for you may be an indication of your desire to maintain that structure. And on a personal note, if you truly desire the structure of the military, there may be other options, or considerations that can be made.

Are there any other branches of the military that would accommodate you and accept your current status with the possibility of future promotion?

It's all too inherent in our nature to become complacent. However, there is also the desire to investigate the unknown.

Maybe it would help to get a professional opinion of your particular personality. I agree that it is a potentially life altering decision and since you brought it to our attention, my advise is to leave no stone unturned.

I may have approached your situation from an alternative view of the others, but it's just my alternative view.

(that was purely speculation and not intended to offend you if it was worded incorrectly)

Last edited by Warlock III; 04-26-2012 at 01:06 PM.
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Old 04-26-2012, 01:29 PM
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I know nothing of service life so that I cannot comment. What does appear is that you have a wonderful wife and that you love each other dearly, God bless you both for that. What does concern me is not your financial situation because you seem to have enough about you to make a success what ever choice you make, but your health as well as your wife's and how you take care of that is of major importance at 27 and what you say about your body and your mind probably needs to be looked at independently by outside specialist. I will add that some times fate helps makes decisions for us so don't worry to much.
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Old 04-26-2012, 01:40 PM
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Wow! That is a tough decision. I agree with some of those above, it's pretty much your and Meghan's decision to make. All we can do is offer advice.

Is there a possibility of you getting medically retired? It sounds like you've gone through hell for those of us sitting back on our butts while you endure the dangers of combat. Someone that I work with has told me that they're retiring soldiers medically for a lot less than what you've gone through....There is only so much a body can take before enough is enough. Thank you for your sacrifice, I'm not sure I would have been able to endure all that you've been through.

How about making a lateral move to either the Reserves or the National Guard? You should be able to keep your current rank, possibly even negotiate a promotion, and if you can get in, you won't lose the time that you've already invested, and will still be able to retire in 20 (though I think you'll need to wait until 65 to collect a check).

As someone else suggested, is it possible to make a move to one of the other services? One where you'll have a better chance of promotion, less deployment, etc....

One of the biggest regrets I've made is my decision to get out of the Coast Guard when I did.. Everything has worked out for the best for me, I never would have met my wife, my son wouldn't have been born, etc. But I will always be asking myself...... What if I'd stayed in? Would I have achieved my goal of chief (E-7) within 20? Would I have be a different person than I am now?

From what I understand you're an ASE certified mechanic, so as dismal as the job market is, you shouldn't have too much trouble finding employment. I think between your savings, what you've been through, and your marketable skills you'd be Okay if you did decide to get out...

I'm voting to stay in, but that is mainly because of my own regrets. You've been through hell and back. I know they say something along the lines of that which doesn't kill us, makes us stronger, but eventually you've got to say enough is enough.

Thanks again for your sacrifices, good luck, and please keep us informed

Exco
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Old 04-26-2012, 01:50 PM
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Wow that's a tough one. Personally, if I could live off of what they'd pay me and still get out, then I would. If I couldn't then I don't know, I'd have to find some other job and that would be a situation to really weigh. I have no experience with military so can't really provide much feedback. All I know is that if I had no debt and my company offered me $600/month and I could get a job at jiffylube to make ends meet then I'd do it in a heartbeat and I'd live a simple life
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