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May 02, 2012


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Hi JR,

It sounds like you have done well for yourself thus far.

When I first got my Masters I received an offer at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, and ended up working for a Blue Chip company instead (Honeywell, formerly Allied Signal)- I wonder if I joined NSWC if my career path would be similar to yours since I was also in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering...

Have you thought about the type of role you'd best be suited for along with the company size and industry?


Sounds like you're doing quite well, JR. I'm confused as to why you haven't invested in the TSP at all?

Why not work in the mechanical engineering field back in the US instead of going back to school?

Are you enjoying life?

You remind me of one of the very best engineers it was my good fortune to work very closely with and to get to know very well. This guy was hired by the aerospace company in California that I worked for after returning from Vietnam and resigning his commission as an Army captain. He was burned out after his unpleasant Vietnam experiences and I think it may have then got to him to then find himself working on a weapon of mass destruction, the re-entry vehicle for a sub-launched ICBM for the US and British Navies. He then decided that he wanted to become a veterinarian. He obtained a full scholarship to Cambridge University in England and then after his education was completed he and his wife moved back to California where he opened his practice near his old alma mater, Stanford University. During a business trip to England, a couple of us visited him where he and his wife had rooms in a centuries old home close to the River Cam. He was the only student I have ever known that rowed himself back and forth to school every day.

You're doing very well financially.

I'm puzzled how you'd manage to save $200k in just four years earning $31k to $55k.

To someone who will have a large nest egg by retirement through their high savings rate, I'd recommend that they invest all equities within their Roth IRA accounts. Leave the bonds, cash, and other investment allocations to your other accounts, accounts that will require an MRD upon retirement. This will reduce your future tax burden.

Seems like you are doing well! Congrats on being able to save up so much money. If you go back to school is the GI bill going to cover you or are you going to have to pay out of pocket?

He saved this much because military officers do not have to pay for housing, thus he can save more than the average person. This coupled with a government retirement plan. Thanks for sharing your story.

Thanks for serving and congratulations! For 26 you are kicking butt. I hope you might consider getting out of bonds completely and pick some stocks or ETF's.
Continued Success!

I think he's doing great. If he keeps saving at even half the pace he is, it won't matter that much whether or not he puts 10-30% in cash or bonds or not.

I second Jim's question of being puzzled how you were able to save 200k over 4 years since you only earned 31k to 55k per year. Assuming you didn't have any other expenditures and saved your entire income, it still doesn't come up to 200k. Did you make a lot through other investments?

@ Luis: Thanks for the feedback, this is the kind of input I was hoping to get in submitting my info. Right now I happen to have some leftover cash in an IRA while waiting to accumulate enough for a minimum initial investment for particular index fund.

@ Jim & AC: I'm a bit curious myself to be honest, especially since it hasn't exactly been a killer market since I began investing in 2006-7. I like to use Quicken because I've gotten used to it by now and it makes lots of pretty graphs - right now it's telling me I've actually been saving about 50% of total income including allowances, but closer to 70-80% on average not including the housing allowance. I think the rest can be attributed to tax savings during deployments (along with an additional imminent danger allowance ~ a couple hundred each month), and some generous parents who provided a $10K graduation gift. This might not be widely known, but there's a good portion of service members that don't mind or even look forward to deployments because of the financial incentives. I actually had a lot of fun working on certain projects - building a vocational school, a dam, a "bridge" if you can call it that - but it was a bit easier for me being single.

@Leigh: Will admit I'm not the most prudent financial planner, still learning. Roth TSP option will supposedly become available in May 2012 and I plan to take advantage of this to the fullest. Yes I'm enjoying Germany tremendously, but being so far away from family for this long has had its toll and I'm ready to go back.

@OldLimey: Your story is humorous, is that a crack at my frugality for driving a Toyota? I'd be lying if said I hadn't considered upgrading to an Audi before leaving Germany... can't beat the engineering over here.

JR - you're doing very well for your age (I'm only a year older and not nearly in the position you are)!

Thank you for your service!

Excellent work by 26! Hopefully your profile motivates others and makes people believer that there is way more money out there than people know.

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