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Author: rollinstone Date: 11/24/01 2:37 PM Number: 7524
I have been invited to return to active duty for a three year tour. I'll be an O-5 (lieutenant colonel). My base pay using current figures should be $5790/mo. My rough calculation informs me that my retirement will increase by about $500/mo after the three year tour.

I also have an opportunity to the get hired on as a GS-9 with a Federal agency. I have tried to come up with comparative retirement figures, but can't figure out how to accurately calculate the Federal retirement program which has some variables attached to it. Also faced with 5 year vesting under the Federal program...and a lot can happen in 5 years.

So, purely dollar-wise, I have difficulty making a comparison of the best route to go. Of course the non-tangibles such as staying home with the family and friends in an area I love fits into the equation, but I'd like to have a clearer understanding of the financial picture as well.

Since no one else replied to your post, I thought I would make a few comments.

I don't think you have supplied enough information to really answer this question. For instance, how many years do you have in the military? Are you eligible for retirement now? IIRC, 20 years gets you half pay for life?

I don't know what a GS-9 makes, but it's probably a lot less than O-5. I think that if you are eligible for military retirement, and you add the GS-9 pay to it, that would probably be the biggest economic return.

But, I really think the choice you have to make should be driven by what you want to do as opposed to which direction will make you the most money. If you enjoy military life, and don't mind taking a tour in Afghanistan (sans family), then that's what you should do. Otherwise, take the safe GS-9 job and plan for a second retirement income after five years vesting. I doubt if they would make a vesting change that would not have some form of grandfather clause to protect workers who started within the current vesting period. Normally changes like that are effective only with those joining the workforce after a certain date.

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