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Pajaro last won the day on February 28 2014

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About Pajaro

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  1. Thanks. Congrats on 20 yourself. No, there's no calculator (that I know of anyway). I just have a big spreadsheet that I update with a new row every month. It has a column for each type of pay. It also has a column for how much I invested/saved that month, so I have a good visual of investments vs income over time. I started the spreadsheet about 10 years ago, so the first day of building it was tedious. Doing the monthly input since then takes about a minute. Its also a good way to double check the LES. I find that my LES is wrong at least 4 months a year, mainly due to changes in language pay.
  2. I'm basically 48% of base pay or 32% of base pay and allowances. Spending lots of time overseas is a huge benefit to saving money due to the COLA and utility allowance. OHA is use/lose, but the utility allowance is flat rate, so you can save a lot.
  3. I'm a European FAO (we are called that now instead of RAS), so I get paid for any European language. I'm primarily Spanish, but I can fake my way through reading other Romance languages, so I get paid for them as well. Max of $1000 per month. That gravy train is about to end because the French, Italian, and Portuguese DLPTs just got harder.
  4. I hit 20 years last month, all as an officer and all promoted on time. I thought you might be interested in some gee whiz numbers from my 20-year career earning totals: Base Pay: $1,254,900 BAH/OHA: $411,531 BAS: $47,787 Language Pay: $80,573 OCONUS COLA: $120,740 Total: $1,915,530 The BAS really surprised me. That $250/month added up over 20 years. I also never got flight pay. My net worth is now $1,370,779. I’ve never had a 2nd job, my wife has never worked outside the home, I’ve never owned a house, and I didn’t inherit anything. That’s all from investing my military income, basically in S&P 500 index funds. Here are my totals: TSP: $380K Taxable index funds: $558K IRAs: $296K Cash, bonds, CDs: $137K I’ll add that I haven’t sold any investments since 2008, and that was only $4K of stock to fund a honeymoon. Everything else has been buy & hold for my entire career.
  5. Back in 2002 the CSRB for 33S (what 17Ds used to be) was $10K a year for 4 years. I think that lasted all of 2 months or so. If you actually get it, $15K a year is more buying power in today's dollars according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI Inflation Calculator (it says $13.4K is the equivalent). So, I took the money and put it all in TSP tax free. In 2005, just 3 weeks after getting the 4th and final installment, VSB came out and offered me $114K to walk away from the USAF. I stayed in, but couldn't help thinking that these programs aren't thought out very well.
  6. Not there yet, but Zabel and Higby grew up in Cyber and have the right mindset. My money's on Higby as the 1st Cyber 4 star http://www.af.mil/AboutUs/Biographies/Display/tabid/225/Article/467026/brig-gen-patrick-c-higby.aspx http://www.af.mil/AboutUs/Biographies/Display/tabid/225/Article/108886/brigadier-general-sarah-e-zabel.aspx
  7. Pajaro

    Tax info

    Sorry, I just now see that TurboTax Deluxe Federal does not include Schedule D. Looks like I'll change to H&R this year.
  8. Pajaro

    Tax info

    TurboTax Deluxe Federal is free from USAA ( https://www.usaa.com/inet/pages/advice_tax_center_main?akredirect=true ): USAA active-duty military and reservists can get TurboTax Deluxe Online Federal at no charge. I've used them the last few years and have been happy, but I have reasonably simple taxes.
  9. The loophole is still open, but hard to find. The "old" Amex Blue still exists: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/manufactured-spending/1535970-old-amex-blue.html It gives unlimited 5% cash back at grocery stores, gas stations, and major pharmacies. There are reports that Amex will shut you down after spending $50K, but I'm still going strong past that for my anniversary year. As far as fees, I pay $5.95 to activate a $500 Visa gift card. Walmart charges $.70 for a $1000 money order. So, for $1000 of gift cards at a grocery store, I'm making $38 in profit after fees. It's more if I need gift cards for Amazon, Home Depot, etc that don't charge activation fees.
  10. I make $400 to $500 per month on credit card cash back. I have the "old" Amex blue card that gives 5% cash back on groceries (including the Commissary). I buy about $1000 per week of Visa gift cards at my local grocery store, then use the gift cards to buy money orders at Wal-Mart. I deposit the money orders in my bank, pay Amex, and wait for the cash back to arrive. I also buy all non-groceries exclusively in Visa gift cards. That gives me about 3.8% cash back on things that aren't groceries. It seems pretty elaborate, but I have it down to a process that fits with my daily life.
  11. Pajaro

    FY2015 NDAA

    I've often heard the rumor that large MTFs will do breast augmentation for dependents if the implants themselves are paid for by the member, so it's no cost to the government. Anyone able to confirm?
  12. In case you have not seen it, the 2015 TSP contribution limit has been raised to $18,000 (same for 401k plans) https://www.tsp.gov/planparticipation/eligibility/contributionLimits.shtml
  13. I've done exactly this. I bought a used car the day before I shipped it. I wasn't a resident or on PCS orders where I bought it (Arkansas), so they wouldn't title it for me. I drove it to Dallas to ship it to Europe. They accepted the previous owner's title from Arkansas that had been signed over to me. I was allowed to title it in Spain, but the process was about a month longer than if I had a new title. 2.5 years later I shipped it back to the USA, again without a title other than the one that had been signed over to me. When I tried to title and register it in Mississippi, they realized that the car had never been titled in my name, and made me pay sales tax. However, MS sales tax is not based on the sale price, it's basically based on the KBB value. So, in the end, I deferred paying sales tax for 2.5 years and paid about $500 less in tax because the car had gone down in value. If I had sold it to another American in Spain, I would have gone through the entire process without paying sales tax.
  14. Slightly off topic, but active duty military from any branch can join the Marines' Memorial Club in downtown San Francisco for free. They have reciprocity with the Army Navy Club and other clubs around the world. I think the Army Navy Country Club is a different entity though, and they don't have an agreement with the Marines' Memorial Club. Anyway, the Marines' Memorial Club has a very nice and very reasonably priced hotel. It's basically half of what you would normally pay in San Fran. There's also a free happy hour on the top floor every early evening.
  15. 6.2. The Successful Bidder shall not:- 6.2.2. Penetrate the anus of the Virgin; Rookie mistake. She forgot to add "however slight"
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