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Subject:  Re: Situation Date:  9/14/2003  1:20 AM
Author:  TMFDj111 Number:  751 of 5091

I think it's a WONDERFUL opportunity but I LOVE what I do, but I can RETIRE in 8 to 10 years, with a very good salary as well as our investments.

Military retirement is not the lucrative retirement many people imagine. Retirement pay is taxable income. Additionally you must pay for SBP, TriCare for Life, and VGLI from your retirement proceeds. The bottom line is net retirement pay is generally 1/3 to 1/4 net pre-retirement pay. There are excellent non-financial incentives to military careers, but the financial rewards are slim.

The Air Force has an excellent retirement calculator for military members who retire form active duty on their personnel web site, but you must access the web site from a .mil computer. I'm not personally aware of a similar calculator for military members who retire from the Reserves or National Guards, but I would expect there're appropriate calculators on the Reserve and Guard web sites.

- Surf to:

- Under the "Officer" or "Enlisted" headings, select "Retirement". The calculator is the same for both corps.

- Look for Retirement Calculator.

- To use the calculator, you'll need to know several dates from your personnel file. Those dates include 1405 Date, Date of Initial Entry into Military Service (DIEMS), pay date, promotion date. The calculator has links to explanations of each of these dates. You should be able to get the dates from your Leave and Earnings Statement. If they're not listed there, then a personnel specialist can help you dig through your records to find them.

(NOTE: The 1405 Date is difficult to find for military members with service in the Reserves and National Guards. It's roughly the date of the last day of the last calendar month before you entered onto active duty, but there are adjustments made to account for Reserve and Guard time.)

Regardless whether you decide to commit yourself to the military or to remain in the commercial world, the key to a timely, secure, comfortable retirement is to save more and spend less. By saving more, you'll have more money to support yourself in retirement. By spending less you'll accustom yourself to a lifestyle you'll be able to support through retirement.

To enjoy a comfortable, timely, secure retirement, most investors must save at least 15% of their gross incomes every year starting in their early 20s. Investors who start late, want to retire early, or want to retire in luxury must save more. If you look through posts on TMF's retirement discussion boards, you'll discover many TMF subscribers claim to save 25% of their annual gross incomes, and a few claim to save over 50% of their annual gross incomes -- in a