5-Year Plan BEFORE retirement

This advice won't be for everyone, but for some of you, this is the way to go...

1. Five years before you plan to retire, you better accept the fact that retirement pay is not going to be anywhere near Active Duty pay (with the benefits). I know it's a simple, obvious, duh! statement, but too many don't take this seriously.

2. Downsize! With kids off to college or out on their own, do you (and Spouse) and the dogs really need 4 bedrooms and 3 1/2 baths? It doesn't matter how much you pumped into your "dream house". If you really plan to stay retired, you won't be able to afford to properly maintain your "castle". You wanna keep a couple of bedrooms for "the kids" when they come home for the Holidays? Wake up! Short visits are the way to go. This way everybody has a nice visit and nobody hangs around too long. The same advice goes for your fleet of gas-guzzling V-8s & watercraft/ATVs/etc. in that 3 car garage. Consider the insurance, maintenance & fuel for your toys. Replace your older appliances with Energy Star/Energy Saver items. This should include everything from light bulbs to the entire HVAC system. $$$ will be limited soon...spend it now while you're still gainfully employed.

3. Don't fret about staying Active Duty or "working a GS job" to put your kids thru college...or to support your grandkids. Wake up! It's your turn to enjoy life. You should've prepared for this day a loooong time ago. (See #1) Hand-in-hand with this is follow your Doctor(s) recommendations. You do want to live a long life...right?

4. Get a hobby. Look into hobbies. Volunteer at the Food Bank. Volunteer at the hostipal. Get a hobby. Go back and get your Master's degree. Expand your veggie garden. Restore a 1943 Harley Military WLA. Get a couple of hobbies. You have your interests and she has hers...don't horn in on the others' hobby. Am I getting thru here?

5. Tough Love. It's okay to help out the kids or grandkids every one in a great while, but Mommy & Daddy Ain't the Bank Anymore...Get used to it! Need a new car? Buy a used one & fix it. Need to get braces for Junior? Join the Military and get everyone's teeth done. Freshly divorced and need a place to stay? 3 months max to get on your feet again, then out again. You can forever supply Love, Moral Support and Verbal Encouragement.

6. If you work on these first five items prior to retiring, I promise you less stress, fewer ulcers, reduced anxiety and finally...coffee on the porch in the mornings with your loved one and/or cold beer on the back deck in the evenings with your loved one (Dogs, if you're single).

I know these things will work. I started in 1997. I retired in 2003. I'm in the best health of my life, my Wife shares all this with me, our grown kids understand us now, 2 motorcycles & 2 vehicles are paid off, finances are completely manageable, overall health is great and our Home is our Sanctuary.

I wish the very Best of Luck to all of you!

"Just Another U.S. Army Retiree"
Original Post
First off, there isn't a reason to be shitty to someone offering advice. If you've got it figured out, feel free to share with the class any time.

I think this is fairly sound advice, although I do think this is intended for older soldiers.

I think many people have a false sense of what retiring (and/or getting older) will mean. I often hear how shocked people are when they get out and have to pay for medical and dental, because it's not something they've deal with for most of their adult life.

I also agree with downsizing when you get older. There isn't a reason to pay for so much house when it isn't used. Don't want to? That is completely your prerogative.

I think the heart of what he's saying is to give you more leeway for you to decide what you want to do, so you don't feel the squeeze and struggle because you HAVE to work just to get by.

That said, I'm a little over 5 years from retirement (although I don't plan on retiring)I don't have grown children or grandchildren; I have a 2 1/2 yr old and a one week old.

I did an NCOPD with the former SMA and he had similar advice. He also said that no soldier should ever retire without $100k in savings.

Being younger, I see it as a time to start a second career. I'm going to try to get into law school and go that route. It's still good food for thought!
I'm sorry I didn't put it more eloquently for "the class". As I stated bluntly it is a good plan if you retire as a SSG and don't plan on working anymore, and resign yourself to living of 1500 dollars a month give or take. I'm sorry I didn't jump and down and clap as you felt I should have.
Here are a couple of suggestions to help people before they retire. I will be 37 and have 2 kids in school when I retire, so there is no way I am done working after the Army. Plus I have invested too much time in school to call it quits at that age.

- Roth IRA (stocks & mutual funds)
- Annuity
- Savings Bonds
- systematic stock buying (monthly buying stocks usually 100 a month) Edward Jones is pretty good with this
- life insurance
- 529 college accounts for kids
- finish school while you are in and give college money to wife or kids (I gave mine to my kids since I will have Masters Degree and I will pay for my wifes. Plus my kids going to school later in life will be an investment since prices will be more expensive later in the future)
- buy property (duplex, 4-plex, houses while you are in)

That is just a couple that I can think of off my head. Hope this helps every one else out.
I agree that having a lot of kids absolutely annihilates you prospective retirement.

Kids=forget about you money and free time. F'k that.

I think people who "plan" on retiring from the "Army" have a false sense of retirement. 20 years passes way too quick and it's unrealistic to be a bona fide retiree at 37-40. Especially not with the Army's crappy pay.

It's merely a chapter in you life; stop depending so damn much on the military.

Army used to spoon feed you while on active duty. Really? You think it will continue after you get out?

By the way, I work with two SSGs who are retiring in February-March. It's not very attractive to retire as a junior NCO. IMHO. They are old, crusty and wonder why they didn't make SFC before getting out.

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