Lifers/ reenlistment — The Bump
Military Families

Lifers/ reenlistment

So DH signed a 5 year contract which is up 2013. If he re-enlists he'll be in for 9 years at that point and I sort of feel like we should then stay for the next 11+ years and be in until he decides to retire. We have to discuss everything still.

But I guess my question is for those who are in for life, at what point did your family decide you were in until retirement? After how many re-enlistments did you decide to stay in?

Re: Lifers/ reenlistment

  • For us we knew he'd be in for life the day he swore in. DH grew up military and I've had military family around my whole life. So it wasn't a hard decision for us to make.
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  • We pretty much knew from the time we got married that we would be in for at least 20 (and that is still the plan now). DH is in the aviation community which requires a long commitment and it did not even start counting towards his commitment until he got his wings at which point DH had already been in for over 2 years. By the time his commitment is fulfilled he will be half way to retirement, so it just makes sense to keep going. 
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  • I meet DH after he was past the 10 yr mark, Once you hit 10 you might as well stay in for 10. I mean after just doing 20 yrs you get a retirement check for the REST OF YOUR LIFE. And a spouse draws money too id something were to happen to the retiree. It's a no brainer to me. Then you can get another job that gives you a pension after 20 yrs, like a police officer or other government job and then you will  recieveTWO retirement checks!
  • DH's minimum commitment ends 10 years from now (ROTC scholarship for 4 years plus medical school) so chances are quite good we'll be in for 20 simply because getting out at that point will likely make less long-term financial sense than staying in.  That said, our boys will be 13 and 10 years old at the time, and their needs have to come first.  If chances are good that we won't be able to stay at our current duty station (or move back to one where we've previously lived and been happy), and if additional deployments are likely, we're out. 
  • My husband was in the Guard for 2 years before we met and then went active duty about  a year after we married.  He knew at that point that he wanted to stay in until retirement, but always said that we would discuss it together at each re-enlistement.  Well he already has 6 years in now and has signed for another 3.  We both think it would be stupid to get out now.  He can retire at 38 years of age with full benefits.  No way we would ever pass that up!
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  • Like some of the others have mentioned, once you hit or near the 10 year mark it kind of just makes sense to stay in at that point. My DH told me up front when we met that he planned on staying in for at least the full 20 (he was already at 8 1/2 years then) and while every once in a while when he gets frustrated we talk about him getting out, we know that ultimately he'll stay in and go until retirement. Then he'll get out and find something he loves doing. Whether or not that uses his skills that he has from the Army or not there's no telling!
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  • DH has done 25 years and we have 2+ more to go till retirement.  We have stayed in past the 20 mark because you have to stay in 3 years to retire at grade...and the retirment for an E-9 at 28 years is nothing to sneeze at. 

    While we were not together at the time (my dad retired after 24 years too DH originally was only going to do one 4-year enlistment and be done.  But he married and had a kid and got stationed in Germany. 

    At that point (even with going off to war) he fell in love with the perks of the military.  While the base pay sucks and the other official benes do not really make up for it, the "perks" have. 

    • He spent most of his career overseas and now speaks German fluently and is learning French and remembers a bit of his Korean. 
    • He used the Air Forces and overall DOD programs to pay for his undergraduate, graduate and phr, leaving a lot of his GI Bill for the kids
    • we have travelled all over the world, both in Europe and Asia (he has been to over 50 different countries)
    • we have met some amazing people - all who remain great friends.
    • he has job satisfaction.  Even in the most mundane jobs, at the end of the day, the overall mission meant something to him.  Not many people can say that.

    Now, I always joke about marrying him for his TRICARE For Life....but damn it even Congress do not get the TFL Medicare wrap around that we do.  Nor will we ever have to worry about the Part D Donut Hole (sure they attempted to fix this with the new hc bill, but until it actually goes into effect, I wont believe it).

    This alone is a benefit to stay in for.  If I could have, I woud have. 

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  • image JoBieger05:
    For us we knew he'd be in for life the day he swore in.

    same for us.

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  • Since the day I enlisted I knew I was a lifer. My DH was in for 10 years when we met, so it was obvious he was also a lifer.
  • Thanks ladies. I've been with DH since he went in, he wanted to be in for life, then in boot camp his MOS changed and now he isn't sure if he wants to stay in. I felt like if he re-enlists then we should just stick it out for the rest of the time since we put so much time into it already. Thanks again for the input.
  • I guess we're the exception to the rule.  DH had served 9 years and had been back in civilian life for over 3 years when we met.  It wasn't until well after we had DS1 (DH had been out almost 10 years by then) that we even discussed it as an option.  For DH it was more for the comradarie, a retirement plan, and better insurance that lured him back which turned out to be a good thing since we have had DS2 and expecting DS3 three years later.  If it wasn't for the military we would be scamblilng to put kids in daycare (don't know how we could afford that) just so I could work to help pay for health insurance.

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  • I agree with all of the PP's. Once you make it to the near or 10 year mark its near stupid to go ahead and get out. DH and I have already talked and if he re-enlists again then he is a lifer. Once his commitment is up in 2013 he will have been in right around 8 years, 4+ more years puts him at 12. After that it would be stupid to get out. Basically this is his chance to get out if he wants or else he is making the decision to stay in until retirement. 
  • My DH already had 15 years in when I met him and we are now at 22 years with 35 more months to go until the 25 year mark and he is done. The only reason we are doing 25 years is because he became a Warrant Officer at the 19 year mark. So we knew we had to do at least 2 years to get the officer retirement pay. Well then a year later he got picked up for direct commission and was promoted to JG (junior grade LT.). As a JG you are automatically promoted to LT at 30 months (which happens in Jan. for DH), so we have to do 2 years from that date to get his retirement pay at LT. But since he has to transfer before the 2 years is up, he has to do 1 year at his new duty station before retirement package can be put in.

    I asked my DH what made him stay in past 10 years (once past that point you might as well stay in to get the retirement check). He was going to get out at 9 years (he was in the Navy at the time) and applied for the US Marshalls and was not picked up because he didn't have his Bachelors degree. He wanted to get out of the Navy because they were going to send him to an AirCraft Carrier and he didn't want to deploy for those long periods of time again. He had been in the submarines for 3 years and he knew what that was like. So he approached the Coast Guard and they said they would take him in and get him back to FL to be near family. He has been in the Coast guard for the past 12 years and loves it. It was the best decision he could have ever made. He has completed his Bachelors through the Coast Guard and his Masters last summer. He is now working on some certifications in Homeland Security and Cyber Crimes. He probably never would have gotten this much education without all the military programs to pay for school, not even using his GI Bill money.

    So now he will retire at 25 years and collect that check each month and he plans on seeking a job with I.C.E or C.B.P near our home area. These are high paying postions, but because he is already part of Homeland Security in the Coast Guard and has his degrees and certifications he has a good shot of getting one of this jobs and then do another years in the civil service and collect a second check when we do finally retire in our early 60's.

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  • DH had been in for 3 years when I married him and he told me when we were just dating that he was going to be a lifer. 
    *Amber* *Proud momma to my two boys*
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