Because of the value of the government pension, staying in is the easiest way to get rich. And when I say “staying in” I’m not talking about becoming the Surgeon General of the Navy. I’m talking about doing a reasonable job as an officer for at least 20 years. Let’s look at the most common scenario.
A 20-Year O5
Let’s assume that an officer was commissioned in 1999 at the age of 22, and stayed in 20 years until 2019, making it to O-5. According to the DoD actuarial tables, the value of a 20-year O-5 pension is $1,458,837.
Yes, just by staying in for 20 years you are already a millionaire and you’re only 42 years old. Depending on how much you saved in the TSP, you could be a multi-millionaire or darn close to it.
You Can’t Screw It Up
People try to time the stock market, wind up buying and selling investments at the wrong time, take loans from their retirement accounts, don’t save/invest enough, and find all manner of ways to screw their finances up. But when it comes to the military pension and the value it provides, the best thing about it is that you can’t screw it up.
Stay in for 20+ years…do a reasonable job and promote at the normal times…you’re rich. It’s that easy.