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Thanks for the info.
On the CA issue, for CA state law, if you are active military but outside the state, then you are exempt from state tax, which is currently the case. That's why I stated that I believe I will be exempt from that portion. Obviously I'll have to do my homework first on that.

I agree with not putting everything in one basket. I've been following Motley for a few years now, but figured I would defer to people who are better versed in this subject. Always lots to learn.
Several years back, I started buying stocks, and have some minor spread as you have described.
My concern is using this money as wisely as possible. The counter argument from everyone on NOT taking the bonus is that I could lose around 180k over the lifetime of my retirement, if I took the reduction.
But I know from reading and follwing motley that there has to be a better way, and that this could be a good opportunity to act on it.
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