[Sticky] Stay until retirement or get that seniority number?  

 

Lindsey
(@kannol)
Admin
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 39
28/08/2018 9:03 pm  

This is a submission by Mitchell "Taco" Bell who is a former Marine and current American Airlines 737 Captain. Someone was asking about if it is better to stay in another 5 years and retire or jump ship now. Here's what he has to say about it.

Question: I have five years to retire, should I get out or stay in? I have a family of three and the 36K in retirement will help out a ton.
Answer from Taco: If you have two years left, I would advise you to get hired (CJO) by one of the regionals when you have six months left to go on active duty so that you step out of your military uniform into an airline uniform with your retirement helping out. That just makes sense to cross the finish line.
It’s funny though, when I hear guys talking about taking a pay cut from uncle sugar! That makes me laugh because my first year pay at American on probation in 1998 was 18,000, then it went to 40, then went to 80, now as a Capt somewhere North of 270k. It has increased to about 50k or more now as a new hire.
If a guy has five years left, that is a very hard decision as to whether you should get out or stick out the five years to retire. So let me put this out there.

Mil Guy 1 with 5 years left to retire drops his papers and gets hired by Regional Airline X around 33-35 years old. MilGuy1 stays in the reserves and joined a reserve unit to finish out his military time to 20 years and receives his/her retirement/tricare when they turn 60.
Milguy 1 has now gotten hired (say Aug 2018) on to a regional and working their way towards upgrade to Captain with 500 hours jet turbine PIC time which should allow them to get hired anywhere at any major airline or cargo carrier along with their Mil Helo time. Upgrade for them should be inside of a year and a half up to two and a half depending on the airline. Let’s say from DOH in Aug of 18 it takes max 5 years to get hired by American for example because I have the numbers. That lands them in the middle of the biggest hiring frenzy we have ever seen.
What does this mean to them? They will have their base of choice, the seat they want...faster movement to the right seat of the 777/787 or upgrade to Captain faster, vacation dates, days off they want or better bidding depending on the base/seat/aircraft. With 30 years left in their career it looks pretty bright for them.

Milguy2 is 35 and waiting for the retirement in five years before pulling chocks and heading to the airlines. He still has to get hired and like the guy above, still has to work his way up to Capt, get his hours before a Major will look at him. That’s five years from now to retire and maybe another five years to get on to the majors right? 10 years total, maybe they are 45 to 48 when they get hired and ten years behind Milguy 1 when he shows up on the property and gets paired with Milguy 1 on a trip.

MilGuy 1 is a Captain in the left seat, he already has about 6,000 guys behind him and say he makes 250,000K (because he hasn’t hit the over 12 year mark for pay bump yet) a year has made 1,250,000 million in Salary over the last 5 years not to mention what his 401K is worth since the company puts in 16% of your salary in there plus what you max out at (I think it’s 18k under 50). His FO, MilGuy2 has retired from the Military and has made 36K before taxes from his mil retirement and over the last five years he has made 180K from the Gov’t but is on the tail end of the hiring boom and won’t have the same number of years at a higher salary when he retires at 65. They have the same backgrounds but two different careers.

So you have to ask yourself is $36,000 a year worth it in the long run when it determines being an FO on the 737 or being an FO on the 777/787 or Captain and that means the difference between making in one month what you would make in one year’s retirement but that is determined by a seniority number the date you were hired?

Trust me it is a hard decision to make and the fear of the unknown is always there, but you cannot jump a chasm with tiny steps you have to take giant leaps.

Be Indiana Jones and walk off the cliff onto the hidden bridge. If a door is shut in your face, God always gives you three windows to climb through, trust me.

Just my thoughts. Here is a Pay stub from one good month of flying on the 787 as an FO with 12 year’s seniority [see attachment]

Question 2: What is your advice to the guy who gets on with the airlines?
Answer: I live by the advice given to me by the Pizza delivery guy when I was hired. The old man said If you are single, stay single. If you are married, never get divorced, she will take you for half and the international flight attendant you get remarried with will give you five years and take the other half. Live where you are based if you can. You will have a better quality of life (not commuting to work and stressing over the weather and loads) this will allow you to pick up Premium trips that the commuters are unable to get because they live out of base.
Always live in a modest FO’s house. Use your GI bill, that’s awesome
Save your money like the company is going out of business and never put your retirement in the company stock.
“Pizza man X former Captain at Eastern Airlines…out of a job in 1989”

Question 3: Do you like your job?
Answer: Yes I love it, are you an idiot?

Question 4: which Company (major) should I apply to when I get the hours?
Answer: ALL OF THEM! I would first consider how many pilots have they hired in the last five years and how many are scheduled to retire in the next ten years. Then what bases do they have because if you can live next to the family and be out of a large base…bonus. Hell, I’d make the parents come visit you at your house or let your wife fly for free to take the kids and go visit.

Question 5: How many days do you work?
Answer: That depends…Widebody FO, I worked about 8 days a month and made anywhere from 18 to 35K a month depending on how much I wanted to be on the road and what extra trips I picked up. As a Captain between 22 to 26K a month on reserve flying about 15 to 17 days a month and getting 76 hours of pay with maybe some OG or Premium flying on top of my 76 hours of pay.

Hope this helps and if you have any questions, PM me and I’ll include them as I spew more madness.

Semper Fi,
Taco

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Kylerossi
(@kylerossi)
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Posts: 4
29/09/2018 6:58 am  

Loved this post ☝🏻


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Wedge Antilles
(@wedge-antilles)
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 19
30/09/2018 3:23 pm  

Everyone who is at 15+ years of service needs to really conduct a full assessment. Here are some things I thought about as I was approaching 20 years a few years ago and weighing a job offer that I had (not Aviation). The actual retirement dollar amount was not even near the top of my list. Some things not in any specific order of importance to consider.

Gi Bill: What is the status of your Post 9/11 GI Bill (who's using it, you or a dependent). If it is a dependant have you met the obligation requirement.

Tricare: Tricare for a Retiree and their family is extremely cheap and only has a $3k catastrophic cap. I have a child with a preexisting condition which will more than likely cause me to hit that cap every year. I am able to calculate and budget that my family healthcare will only cost the cap plus enrollment fee. Civilian health insurance would cost an astronomically higher amount based on the quotes I received.

Concurrent Disability Retirement Pay: Once you have 20 years of AFS you are eligible for CDRP. As long as you are at least 50% disabled you will receive an additional payment every month. This can be anywhere from $1k to more than $3,500 depending on the percentage and dependants. 

Now the flip side. You can finish your time in the Reserves or National Guard. Depending on the age of your children you will hopefully be making so much $$ that you can just pay cash for their college education (or they will receive scholarships). Maybe your spouse has income to offset the pay cut, you have been fiscally responsible during your career, etc. 

Everyone's situation is completely different. Such is life all you can do is make the best decision with the information you have and hindsight is always 20/20. 

 


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schoolio
(@schoolio)
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 7
06/10/2018 2:04 pm  
Posted by: Wedge Antilles

Everyone who is at 15+ years of service needs to really conduct a full assessment. Here are some things I thought about as I was approaching 20 years a few years ago and weighing a job offer that I had (not Aviation). The actual retirement dollar amount was not even near the top of my list. Some things not in any specific order of importance to consider.

Gi Bill: What is the status of your Post 9/11 GI Bill (who's using it, you or a dependent). If it is a dependant have you met the obligation requirement.

Tricare: Tricare for a Retiree and their family is extremely cheap and only has a $3k catastrophic cap. I have a child with a preexisting condition which will more than likely cause me to hit that cap every year. I am able to calculate and budget that my family healthcare will only cost the cap plus enrollment fee. Civilian health insurance would cost an astronomically higher amount based on the quotes I received.

Concurrent Disability Retirement Pay: Once you have 20 years of AFS you are eligible for CDRP. As long as you are at least 50% disabled you will receive an additional payment every month. This can be anywhere from $1k to more than $3,500 depending on the percentage and dependants. 

Now the flip side. You can finish your time in the Reserves or National Guard. Depending on the age of your children you will hopefully be making so much $$ that you can just pay cash for their college education (or they will receive scholarships). Maybe your spouse has income to offset the pay cut, you have been fiscally responsible during your career, etc. 

Everyone's situation is completely different. Such is life all you can do is make the best decision with the information you have and hindsight is always 20/20. 

 

Completely agree with this post. Everyone's situation is different. My situation is completely different than yours. I have 3.5 years left to get a 20 yr AFS retirement, and I'm up for O6 this year. Jumping now would not be smart given the fact that I could walk away in 3.5 years with a $70K retirement, Tricare, and all the rest. However, if I were a W3, it would be a completely different story.

Don't forget about the Reserve and Guard. For some of you, if you're between 15-17 yrs AFS, you could make the jump, join a guard unit, have your major airline seniority, and then take an AGR job to finish your 20 all while your seniority still ticks up. Then go back to your major with 3-5 years more seniority AND your military retirement.

 

Bottom line- do your own analysis and see what will be best for you. Good luck.

Terry Schooler
AH-64D/UH-60L/C-12/UC-35
XJT CA ORD (on military leave)


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Lindsey
(@lindsey)
Admin
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 177
06/10/2018 2:08 pm  
Posted by: schoolio
Posted by: Wedge Antilles

Everyone who is at 15+ years of service needs to really conduct a full assessment. Here are some things I thought about as I was approaching 20 years a few years ago and weighing a job offer that I had (not Aviation). The actual retirement dollar amount was not even near the top of my list. Some things not in any specific order of importance to consider.

Gi Bill: What is the status of your Post 9/11 GI Bill (who's using it, you or a dependent). If it is a dependant have you met the obligation requirement.

Tricare: Tricare for a Retiree and their family is extremely cheap and only has a $3k catastrophic cap. I have a child with a preexisting condition which will more than likely cause me to hit that cap every year. I am able to calculate and budget that my family healthcare will only cost the cap plus enrollment fee. Civilian health insurance would cost an astronomically higher amount based on the quotes I received.

Concurrent Disability Retirement Pay: Once you have 20 years of AFS you are eligible for CDRP. As long as you are at least 50% disabled you will receive an additional payment every month. This can be anywhere from $1k to more than $3,500 depending on the percentage and dependants. 

Now the flip side. You can finish your time in the Reserves or National Guard. Depending on the age of your children you will hopefully be making so much $$ that you can just pay cash for their college education (or they will receive scholarships). Maybe your spouse has income to offset the pay cut, you have been fiscally responsible during your career, etc. 

Everyone's situation is completely different. Such is life all you can do is make the best decision with the information you have and hindsight is always 20/20. 

 

Completely agree with this post. Everyone's situation is different. My situation is completely different than yours. I have 3.5 years left to get a 20 yr AFS retirement, and I'm up for O6 this year. Jumping now would not be smart given the fact that I could walk away in 3.5 years with a $70K retirement, Tricare, and all the rest. However, if I were a W3, it would be a completely different story.

Don't forget about the Reserve and Guard. For some of you, if you're between 15-17 yrs AFS, you could make the jump, join a guard unit, have your major airline seniority, and then take an AGR job to finish your 20 all while your seniority still ticks up. Then go back to your major with 3-5 years more seniority AND your military retirement.

 

Bottom line- do your own analysis and see what will be best for you. Good luck.

Terry, it is great to see you on the forums! @Dustoff showed me what you'd written on LinkedIn about your support for RTAG and more importantly, your request for some to come to your unit. Please feel more than free to post something in the Military Aviation subforum if you still need pilots! That's another reason we made these forums, is for RTAGers who may be interested in the Guard/Reserve to connect with those units that welcome guys/gals who are also pursuing the airlines. @schoolio

This post was modified 1 year ago by Lindsey

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