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Old 11-27-2021, 03:16 PM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by lancejohnson View Post
Thank you for the response and insight.
One last question. Would your analysis change if I had a legacy CJO upon separating at 17?
Right now? Absolutely. The seniority growth potential that's available for those starting right now is unprecedented. It would be worth some pain and risk to grab a big handful of that. Primary risk being some medical problem which grounds you long-term, then you'd be doing 9-5 white collar without the AD retirement.

You can finish the last three years in the reserves easily in a non-flying unit, or try to jump through the hoops to get a flying gig. If you're not an O5 (or prior enlisted), make sure you don't have a lot of dead time before you start participating in the reserves... the rules are convoluted and it's possible that you could end up hitting 20 commissioned with only 19 qualifying years. Your retirement would then depend on a HYT waiver to finish that last year (which they have always granted in my experience, but why take a chance). I've seen O4's and even an O5 screw up the reserve retirement math/planning badly, get separated on HYT and end up driving a truck in the Mississippi National Guard to get the ball the last yard or two into the end zone (they get retirement pay for their highest rank in that case).

Also I've observed multiple helo guys in my reserve units get called by the bigs after 6-18 months at a regional (pre-pandemic).

*Caveat: random black swans such as asteroid impact, war, global pandemic, etc can always screw up the best-laid plans in this industry.
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Old 11-27-2021, 05:05 PM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by lancejohnson View Post
Thank you for the response and insight.
One last question. Would your analysis change if I had a legacy CJO upon separating at 17?
You have a very healthy nest egg that can effectively fund your retirement already (assuming your investment doubles at least twice between now and then). So this is really is about your income needs until then. If you can leave active duty directly to a legacy or UPS/FedEx, absolutely do so. The legacies are a small gamble right now due to unpredictable government responses to the spread of Covid-19 variants. I would highly recommend grabbing a Guard/Reserve gig as a backup and to take advantage of the pension.
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Old 11-29-2021, 10:49 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by lancejohnson View Post
I'm considering jumping ship at 17 years and finishing out in the reserves in order to make a run at the majors.
-Obtaining a AD retirement in the reserves is most likely not an option for me.
-I'm a helo guy with 1000hrs of FW multiengine turbine. I may or may not be able to pick up another FW flying tour to finish out my 20 but would likely fly less than 500 hours during that tour.
-I'm way over active duty for the same reasons everyone is and should have gotten out earlier.
-Financially I have a low 7 figures in the bank and have young kids with a wife who works.
My concern with staying in:
-My main concern is putting up with 3 more years of crappy active duty QOL to then transition to the airlines on the backside of the wave in 2025 and then have crappy airline QOL due to low seniority.
My concerns with getting out:
-It ends up taking me 3 years to get to a major anyway with my current low FW hours
-COVID or another event disrupts hiring again.
Interested in hearing any and all perspectives. Thank you
I don't see the airline hiring landscape changing significantly in the next three years. Demand will be high at many airlines. I would stay in and get the active duty retirement. That will make the transition so much easier and it will change how you pick your airlines. No matter where you go you will have enough money. You should then pick airlines based on quality of life and the location you and your wife want to retire in. My two cents.
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Old 11-29-2021, 11:43 AM
  #14  
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I echo above. I waited until I locked in that 05 active retirement then went to airlines. Did it cost me a few years at the airlines? For sure but this ensured I am financially set (I was about same net worth as you at the time) and now my life is stress free.

As a side note, I’ve noticed when people do the “total earnings” math they don’t really account for time value of money. Like “missing” three years at wide body captain pay from age 62-65 makes a huge number. But if you are already financially secure, that isn’t going to matter. Making $400k vs $200k for three years at the end of your career actually shouldn’t move the needle much at all. $4k+ a month guaranteed starting at 20 years active duty in your 40s? That moves the needle a lot.
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Old 11-29-2021, 07:13 PM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by lancejohnson View Post
I'm considering jumping ship at 17 years and finishing out in the reserves in order to make a run at the majors.
-Obtaining a AD retirement in the reserves is most likely not an option for me.
-I'm a helo guy with 1000hrs of FW multiengine turbine. I may or may not be able to pick up another FW flying tour to finish out my 20 but would likely fly less than 500 hours during that tour.
-I'm way over active duty for the same reasons everyone is and should have gotten out earlier.
-Financially I have a low 7 figures in the bank and have young kids with a wife who works.
My concern with staying in:
-My main concern is putting up with 3 more years of crappy active duty QOL to then transition to the airlines on the backside of the wave in 2025 and then have crappy airline QOL due to low seniority.
My concerns with getting out:
-It ends up taking me 3 years to get to a major anyway with my current low FW hours
-COVID or another event disrupts hiring again.
Interested in hearing any and all perspectives. Thank you
Oh man, I just saw this. lancejohnson as a reservist myself, I have a few words of caution for you. Please PM me if you want to talk about this in more detail - I don't want to pry publicly if you aren't willing to discuss, but entering the SELRES with 17 years TIS is brutal. I understand you think you won't make it to retirement, but have you heard of "sanctuary"? It's an actual law, Title 10 United States Code. It basically means that once you get to year 18 of active duty, you can't be forced out prior to retirement short of some type of disciplinary related event. You are within a year of this so if you can just make it one more year without RELADing, you will be protected and will be able to get an AD retirement.

My biggest regret is not staying on AD until retirement. I made a lot of super important career decisions almost a decade ago as a knee jerk reaction to a few really bad years during the recession when many were getting passed over twice, OOS for anything beyond O-3 was depressingly low, and budget cuts/sequestration were ruining the military. I had probably some of the same complaints you do right now and was very disillusioned. I even laterally transferred to another branch of the military for more opportunities. I eventually went into the SELRES as a JO and took a lot of ADOS/T10/T14 orders to build points but it just wasn't the same. It's only now in middle age that I see what a difference in QOL it is among my civilian 121 co-workers who are retired AD and collect their pension already while I have to wait until age 60, which is still quite a ways away for me.

I don't want to be a buzzkill but I normally recommend anyone over 15 years AD TIS just stay on AD until sanctuary and retirement, even if you do consecutive shore tours and have to pay for stick and rudder time at your local flight school. Spend the next 3 years using your VA Chapter 33/Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to get more fixed wing time and tickets while you finish up so that when you do retire, you don't need to do a rotor transition program with a regional. You've spent 17 years taking it from the green phallic symbol that is the military and you're less than a year away from guaranteed check of the month club for the rest of your life starting almost immediately, not at 60 like the rest of us schmucks in the reserves. Either way, good luck brother.
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Old 11-30-2021, 06:37 PM
  #16  
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Thank you all for the responses. I truly appreciate everyones perspective. Decision doesnt have to be made for another few months so I'm going to get my apps out and see if there are any nibbles while at the same time try to negotiate a set of orders that I'm comfortable with executing. In the mean time I'll continue to pull my hair out trying to determine the best path in the epic struggle of money vs time.
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Old 12-01-2021, 05:50 AM
  #17  
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"Normally" finishing off the AD retirement in the home stretch is a no-brainer. And I've counseled people to that effect over the years.

Always a no-brainer if you're particularly risk-averse.

But at this moment in time, there is a case to be made for grabbing the seniority. The risk of bailing on the AD retirement is mitigated by the fact that you can get the reserve version. Probable worst case is having to make a living to age 60 without the retirement safety net, but that's what most normal people do and ex-mil officers usually don't struggle to find and hold jobs.

A "typical" medical problem which grounds you for FAA purposes would *probably* still allow you to drill (non-flying) and finish 20 in the reserves. Even with a DQ medical issue in the reserves, there is a medical retirement or paid disability (retirement I think is assured after 18 years). I would research the reserve medical retirement rules so you know what your worst case would be.
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Old 12-02-2021, 01:26 PM
  #18  
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lancejohnson if you're already tracking then disregard, but if not, highly recommend you follow the RTAG page on FB and get in touch with them personally. As you can probably see from recent posts, they even had an army helo bro go from AD straight to Frontier recently. https://www.facebook.com/rtagnation/
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Old 12-04-2021, 12:53 AM
  #19  
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Another consideration on top of retirement pay is that Tricare is about $60/month with some low copays vs “civilian” monthly medical payments of $500+ whatever nonsense math for FSA, catastrophic caps, etc

thats worth thousands per year, and if you lose your job, you still have medical coverage.
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Old 12-04-2021, 01:26 PM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by JTwift View Post
Another consideration on top of retirement pay is that Tricare is about $60/month with some low copays vs “civilian” monthly medical payments of $500+ whatever nonsense math for FSA, catastrophic caps, etc

thats worth thousands per year, and if you lose your job, you still have medical coverage.
Civilian employer medical in general is a poop-show, but top-tier majors are typically better than that.

Also it doesn't really matter if your monthly premium is $60 or $600 if you can pick up an OT trip and make $6K in a few days.
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