Thursday, August 27, 2015

Cautionary advice for owning a house while in the military

Certainly owning a house is one of most everyone's dream. But military members are unique. They travel. They get transferred. Career military personnel can move quite a bit. Buying a home is a big step, and an even bigger one if done while on active duty.

First, your home is a huge investment. And it might not pay off. If you move in a couple of years, your house probably will not have increased that much. You could have little equity. The costs of selling your house might strip away any gains. If you can't sell it before you have to move, you will still owe payments. Trying to rent might be an iffy proposition. Will you get enough to cover the costs? How will you manage the place while you are overseas, or at best, a domestic base? It's hard being a landlord as it is. You could end up with a big headache. A house left alone without occupants is ripe for vandalism.

Military pay can be supplemented by housing and combat pay, along with other allowances. Those are tax free, so any tax break of owning a home might not be there. Just using the standard deductions, a military family might not owe any tax to begin with. Don't get snookered into buying a home because of some big tax break that might not be there.

On-base housing, if you get it, is the best way. Local rentals are the next option.

If you are in your last years and know for a fact that you have reached your final duty station at home, you might consider buying. But there is a great benefit for veterans. VA home loans.

The best advice perhaps is to just wait.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Pentagon "Jumps the Shark" on new pension plan

The military has been making some very suspect decisions lately, from top to bottom. From ISIS to Iraq, Bergdahl, and everything in between. We can't keep up with the contradictions and questionable actions. Of course it does come from the Commander in Chief, who has been pretty clueless on the world stage anyway. But we digress. Now they propose a radical change in the military retirement system. Now, after 20 years, you retire at 50% of your base pay. In the scheme of things, that's not bad, but not great. Since a lot of military members are young, after 20 years they are still relatively young. So getting another job and retirement gives them a chance at a second career if they need it. Now it's not great, but getting 50% after only 20 years is pretty good. We have to admit that upfront. No, you won't get rich, but it is a carrot dangled in front of you to stick it out for 20 years. Or more. And that's a good thing. We should reward those that stick their necks out for our country. Now the new plan. We'll call it the beginning of the privatization of the military. That's dangerous. It's the first step to treating the military as if it were just another federal agency or private company. The people that work their must probably pay into their own retirement with a contribution from the company. And that is what is being proposed. Having military members contribute from their already meager checks into a retirement system. This will undoubtedly be mandatory. Instead of retiring after 20 years at half pay, a member will now draw on some screw ball annuity, dropping that 50% to 40%. Okay. Perhaps you say still not bad. But we are forgetting the forfeiture of pay for those 20 years. Not only will retired service members get a smaller paycheck while serving, they get a smaller check when retiring. This is a screw ball idea. Of course higher ups think this will be great! Sure. Why would anyone make the military a career, when a private job would probably offer a better retirement? If you force people to pay who have never paid before, at least give them more! But, no. The Pentagon says they will match up to 5% contribution from military paychecks. Now we ask you, can you see military members wanting to give up 5% of their income? How many stories do you read about how military families are struggling? Members who leave early will indeed be able to withdraw it, maybe, but e bet their will be a penalty. And just when you thought it could not get worse, check this detail out. After 20 years, military members will be offered some sort of higher pay IF they stay 8 more years...why? It is hoped that this would help offset the reduced retirement. So now you must stay for 28 years... We fully recognize those that do serve longer than 20 years now. The incentive is that they will get a bigger retirement. But this is without paying one dime. This should scare a lot of people. Can you imagine the steps we would be taking to privatize the military? No more military rules. We'd probably get a union and see a strike. Write your congressmen and women. Tell them to vote no.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bergdahl Charged With Military Crimes

Remember Bowe Bergdahl? The person who President Obama celebrated the release of at The White House? The moment that Obama and others in the administration were championing this as some great feat of diplomacy? Turns out it was as everyone with half of a brain knew: It was a great feat of lunacy.

Make no mistake. This was not about leaving nobody behind. That phrase makes no sense. Every war has deserters, instances of AWOL, being friendly with the enemy, and many stay near the battle theaters. For many reasons, good and bad. We do not risk American lives to bring them back.

We did risk American lives to find Bergdahl. Even at that time the military knew he walked away under questionable circumstances. So why did we trade high level Gitmo detainees? Because it was all about negotiating with terrorists on the premise of emptying Gitmo. Terrific idea, right?

We are supposed to be a country that does not negotiate with terrorists, and members of Congress are supposed to be briefed on matters like this before it happens. But hey, nobody cares much about following all laws in DC, do they? A president seems to be able to pick and choose how and when to follow the laws.

It's a sad day, but on the other hand, it's justice for those who knew this trade was a sham. It shows the brain-dead people working in The White House had no clue this would happen. We can't figure that one out.

Susan Rice just showed that "Susan Rice" should become a verb. The art of speaking stupidly on Sunday news shows.....She championed false statements about Bowe Bergdahl: He served with honor and distinction.

False statements just seem to flow like water.

Here's the saddest part. Members of the military died looking for this fool Bergdahl.

How ironic. Just think about this as you talk around your friends and family on this Bergdahl nonsense. Bowe Bergdahl hopefully will be locked away for a long time, at the same moment that five terrorists are going free.

And America should not be happy.

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