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Potential for Joining Reserves from Active Duty

Veteran

Jabari Turner Colorado Springs, CO

I'm currently working on my transition out of the Army and considering joining the national guard. Primary reasons are health insurance and salary. Heading into the civilian world with the uncertainty of finding jobs with good health benefits, insurance cost and financial stability can be tricky so I'm feeling that I may really need to take this option into consideration.

I've even took into consideration that I may land a career that comes with health benefits and isn't insanely expensive. If that was to happen, I could easily put what little pay I do receive from the reserves into savings.

However, I'm wondering based on those reasons is it REALLY worth it? Are there small details I'm overlooking? Like anything else there are pros & cons but, I'm trying to get as much guidance as possible to make a calculated decision.

Thank you all for your time and all who care to help.

V/R

Turner

21 February 2020 3 replies Mentoring

Answers

Advisor

Robert Jurasek Hollywood, FL

Dear Jabari,

Federal positions come with many of the benefits you desire; however, one trade-off is sometimes the salary, which could be significantly higher in a civilian job market—depending on the job.

With your four years of military time, in a Federal position, you would automatically start accruing annual leave at six hours per pay period. This equates to four weeks of vacation per year, not including ten Federal holidays. You also would accrue four hours of sick leave, per pay period, which is standard regardless of how long anyone has been with an agency. And you can even take up to two weeks of “advanced” sick leave or annual leave (in advance of you actually accruing the hours.)

Work-life balance (teleworking—defined by me as working from home) depends a lot on the agency and your specific job. You may have a compressed schedule of four 10-hour days, with one or two of those days teleworking from home. And while there are minor differences between agencies and the offices within those agencies, in my office it is absolutely clear that family comes first. If you have any kind of family emergency, you address the situation and keep your manager informed.

The government pays approximately 72-74% of your medical insurance premium for you and the eligible members of your family. When you retire, you continue with the same health insurance plan and premium, and with the same government contribution, for the rest of your life (generally less expensive than Medicare Part B.) There also are excellent group life insurance benefits, although some civilian policies might be less expensive depending on your health.

Federal employees have a Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), the equivalent of a civilian 401(k), with matching funds up to the first 5%. Along with that comes a defined pension plan that is computed as your salary for the highest three consecutive years, times the number of years in the Federal position, times 1%. (You can “buy back” your military time to add those years to your Federal time.) Think of your retirement income as a combination of your Social Security, your pension, and your TSP (the TSP is payable as an annuity, lump sum, or however you choose.)

I know you are looking for a company with financial stability. And I believe the US Government is relatively stable, despite our $23+ Trillion dollar debt.

The non-inclusive list of benefits that I described above may mean little if some company offers you $50K more per year plus a $25K sign-on bonus. You will have to do a cost-benefit analysis to determine what is best for you and your family. And it may come down to a higher-paying civilian job for the next 10-15 years then a transition to a Federal position as you get closer to retirement.

Good luck with your transition and thank you for your Service!

Sincerely
Bob Jurasek

Advisor

Yasmina Madeira New York, NY

Hi Jabari,

Thank you so much for your service and question!

I don't have prior service experience, but I have a couple of suggestions.

1. Sign up for our mentoring program: https://mentoring.acp-usa.org/apply/protege/auth -- you'll be able to talk with someone that can explain to you what a good benefits package looks like ( 30% of our mentors are prior service btw)

2. Take a look at our community tab-- Connect with advisers and pick their brains about the questions you have.

Hope you have a great weekend and feel free to reach out to me if you need anything!

Best,

Yasmina

Advisor

Yasmina Madeira New York, NY

Hi Jabari,

Thank you so much for your service and question!

I don't have prior service experience, but I have a couple of suggestions.

1. Sign up for our mentoring program: https://mentoring.acp-usa.org/apply/protege/auth -- you'll be able to talk with someone that can explain to you what a good benefits package looks like ( 30% of our mentors are prior service btw)

2. Take a look at our community tab-- Connect with advisers and pick their brains about the questions you have.

Hope you have a great weekend and feel free to reach out to me if you need anything!

Best,

Yasmina

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