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FDNYOldGuy

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Everything posted by FDNYOldGuy

  1. As @Jon - Trident Home Loanssaid, you can't do VA loans on a co-op. There was a bill on the books in NY (not sure if that's the major financial metro you're talking about, but it's certainly the co-op capital) a few years back to have the VA allow co-op loans, but that never went anywhere. I reached out to my NYC rep...but never heard anything back. Plans changed, so I dropped it. That said, you mention co-op and condo in your post, so just to clarify if it wasn't a typo, they're different. Condominiums you own everything from the walls in and can do with the place what you will (within HOA guidelines, of course). So you're getting direct title for a unit, which the VA can wrangle because they can easily foreclose on it. Co-ops you own shares in the company that owns the building and the number of shares you own allot you an apartment of comparable size to the number of shares you own. It's rare and never really happens but, theoretically, the co-op board could move you out of the unit you have lived in for years and into another that was the same size (amount of shares-worth) if they wanted to for some reason; regardless of what renovations you've done/comparable conditions of each unit. It's why people dislike co-ops, as you don't actually own the unit you live in. There are a lot more hoops to go through to upgrade your unit since, the company that owns the building has to be willing to allow your upgrades. Obviously further into the weeds, this causes different foreclosure processes and layers of financial fitness to look into (is the board/company properly run and financially solvent), which is why (I'd imagine) the VA is pretty hands-off. Anyway, it sucks they don't, but always worth reaching out to any reps or checking on any potential laws in process.
  2. Always worth a shot, but you could hit the same bumps with income. You could just plan on doing the same backdoor option with contributions. Or you can look into Roth TSP (if you’re still in/an ART) or Roth 401k if you’re in Gen Pop. You won’t have the options to invest in securities outside of those plans’ offerings, but it’s an easy way to contribute to a Roth option and not have the income caps (and more than the $6k/yr). You can also roll them over after you retire into your already-established Roth IRA and avoid the RMD requirement.
  3. So, it’s been awhile since I was deep in this stuff, so please check my work. But, if you’re over the Roth limit, you won’t be able to write off the Traditional money, either. The income limit is what cuts you off from either benefit. That said, you can still open up a Traditional IRA that you CANNOT write off the contribution and quickly wrangle the backdoor Roth re-characterization. Seriously, you can open your Traditional one day, put your contribution in, then roll it to the Roth the following day. You should avoid tax implications/pro rata if you don’t invest in anything in the Traditional account. Here’s a good article that goes over it pretty well.
  4. This. BAH-RC (or whatever the national average BAH is called) over home BAH, no +/- 6 months of Tricare, and no leave earned on orders <31 days. Still pretty new, so certainly could be missing something, but this has been my experience thus far with having just bounced on and off RPA <30 a couple times in the last month or two compared to previous >30 day MPA orders in the past. I’m not sure if you can take accrued leave from previous orders that hasn’t been taken/sold back on <31 day orders, but I’d imagine you could. You just can’t earn anymore.
  5. I can't remember the exact quote and haven't been able to find it through quick searching, but I remember hearing one in the past from Germans about the Sherman. To paraphrase: "It took 10 Shermans to take out one Panzer, but the Americans always had the 11th Sherman coming over the ridge."
  6. FDNYOldGuy

    USAA

    If you 100% stick to TERM and don't let them hose you into a ***Universal/Whole/Variable/or some other version of a policy that costs more for less coverage under the guise of crappy returns***, you can just go to any local insurance broker near you that has a good reputation and they can hunt for the best rates for you across multiple companies. They have a strong vested interest to sell you one of the policies besides term (WAY higher commissions), but if you keep them on track and stand your ground that you JUST WANT TERM and nothing else, they can usually provide some good options. They should give a breakdown sheet of each company's quote and, mostly for you, you want to look at their Moody's/S&P rating along with pricing. Those ratings are a decent guess at the company's health; hence its ability to pay out your policy. So, don't just go for the cheapest; look for one with As or Bs for ratings. It's been awhile since I messed with this stuff/went shopping and insurance isn't my forte, but it should still be similar. If you want to go to individual companies and do the shopping for yourself, just look for companies with good ratings and names you've probably heard of: Mass Mutual, Northwestern Mutual, Met Life, New York Life, TransAmerica, Prudential, Allstate, etc. Jimbo's BDS69 Insurance of America may have great rates, but they might not be around to pay your policy out when the time comes, so don't go too cheap. Good luck in the hunt! (***for the record, these types of policies CAN have a place in a basket of investments...they're just usually way down the list behind other boxes to check first before going this route)
  7. As @hockeydork said, pumped hydro or spinning the mass in a vacuum are options. I've also been following this company, ENERGY VAULT, (and others like it) and think it could be a potential storage option besides pumped hydro (harder in urban areas) or batteries (high in demand for other uses with currently tight resources/questionable materials availability and practices). I'm no engineering genius, nor, admittedly, have I dug very deep into the technology (it's on the list of things to do), but it kinda makes sense as a simple/viable option that could be deployable in different environments (cities, rural, deserts, limited sun, whatever). Basically, it's a big ass crane that stacks heavy concrete blocks. It can utilize renewable electricity to lift the blocks and store the kinetic energy when power to do so is readily available (when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining), then it can return that kinetic energy to electrical energy by lowering the blocks to turn a generator when other renewables can't (calm days/night). Obviously, baseload potential through (optimally) nuclear or (currently) coal/gas is still a must to ensure there's always something available, but anything that can help defray some of the reliance on fossil fuels/other countries that provide them would be good in my book. Of course, all of these technologies are currently expensive and can't provide what we need at this moment, but we've got to start somewhere. Economies of scale don't just appear, engineering gets better with time, and costs go down/effectiveness goes up when things become more widely implemented, but something has to start the ball rolling. If it's a removal of Russian oil that gets the investment/interest building, so be it. The biggest changes happen when they're affecting wallets, so seems like an opportunity to start that change.
  8. I’m coming from a little different angle, but experienced this, as well, and it’s certainly something to consider. When getting my MS I interned for a real estate investment company and briefly considered juggling both that and the FD, or maybe even jumping ship and vesting out, because the money was solid. The above quoted was one of the biggest issues that kept me from doing it. We’ve kinda been…institutionalized…with the life and culture of the AF (more FD for me, obviously, but it is similar mentalities). After spending 10+ years in, getting used to how things work, getting used to the schedule/work-life balance/etc., and getting some rank/seniority, going back to a “real job” where you’re locked into 40+ hour, set schedule work with a boss that may likely be younger than you from a drastically different background can be a tough shift. They likely won’t care that you were in a negative 4 G inverted dive, were dropping bombs while they were dropping Social Studies, or have a chest full of medals; they need you here 60 hours for no extra pay to get those TPS reports done. That’s how they climbed the ladder and you’ll be expected to do the same. That can be hard for folks that are used to ruling the roost, having more of their way, and having people laugh at their stories and jokes. Not saying anyone couldn’t be capable of adapting, or interested enough in the work that it was exciting/fun/worthwhile at all, though. If it’s something you’re passionate about, it can be great. Just giving my .02 and experience (from a slightly different perspective/background) to add to the logs. Personally, I just realized coloring and hammer jokes were more my speed. YMMV.
  9. The caveat I'd heard with T6 time being able to be logged PIC is that it is ONLY IF you had a PPL for ASEL prior to UPT. If you didn't have that category rating, then it wouldn't count as PIC because you would not be rated/qualified in category or have privileges yet. I did have a PPL prior to UPT, but since I'm also looking for logging time as PIC that is airline accepted/equivalent to signing for the jet, my understanding is the only T6 time that counts is my solo time, since those are the only times the instructor didn't sign for the jet. It would count toward FAA PIC mins for getting an ATP, but just not help for the airlines PIC time. Either way, thank you for the input, @HossHarris and @CaptainMorgan. Going back through my personal logbook now to readjust the entires accordingly. Knowing now helps me enter things appropriately going forward and saves a mess if I decide to retire from the FD and try the airline route 5+ years down the road. Thanks again!
  10. BLUF: For FPs/non-A coded pilots, what is the best way to log our Primary and Secondary time in personal logbooks if we plan on potentially applying to airlines down the road? SIC, Dual and SIC, or some other way? (***I found some stuff on Page 6 of this thread that talks about non-A coded time being SIC, but it's 15+ year old gouge and I was wondering what more recent thinking/experience might be.) I don't mean to reopen the can of worms about what PIC time is. As I understand/apply it, Primary time fits FAA PIC as "sole manipulator" and counts toward ATP mins, but doesn't matter to the airlines for their PIC mins when we're NOT A-coded as we're not signing for the jet. Make it PIC if needed to get the ATP; don't make it PIC for the airline mins. I understand this varies by airline and one size doesn't fit all, but just looking for the best way to track what I'm flying now in my personal logbook to then tailor toward each individual app a few years down the road. I know we'll turn in our AF records as part of the interview, so I don't want to log things incorrectly in an airline app that will raise questions down the road when I show up with my records. Thus far, I've just logged Primary time as "Dual Received" (96.69% of the time an IP is in the other seat) and Secondary as "SIC," with the "Total Time" being the sum of Primary and Secondary. ("Other" I log in a separate category outside of my "Total"). Does that seem like it makes sense? I have heard some folks say log all FP/non-A coded time as SIC (especially since inevitably some of the time is without an IP in the other seat), but I was unsure as it also fits/looks better(?) in the Dual Received category and not making it all SIC allows it to align more with Primary/Secondary totals for tracking purposes. Any info is appreciated! I know the PIC question has been hotly debated on here but, if we're solely logging non-A coded military Primary and Secondary flight time to focus on airline apps/hours down the road, what is the current thinking for the best way to do so? Thanks in advance!
  11. I've used MyFlightBook for quite a few years and find it to be pretty solid (and free; although I usually throw a few bucks a year in donation for using it). It'll back up to the cloud/Google Drive, you can download it to Excel, and you can customize it to add categories you want to log (including Military Primary/Secondary time, Other time, etc.), so it's pretty versatile. It'll even pick up flights/hours on its own if you set it up and give telemetry data, although I'm sure it's not ideal if your hours/stick time is lower than the plane go up and plane go down time it logs. It also seems to have a database of planes and will auto populate them if you're flying multiple bug smashers in a school/club/FBO.
  12. I graduated May 2020 (KEND) and we didn’t have much. Drop was just our flight and close fam in the auditorium (not the previously used O Club with all other green bagged folks). Graduation was similar; a quick ceremony with very limited # of family (Facebook livestream was the only option for out of town/non-quarantined/large fam) in the chapel. Definitely no banquet. Kinda the height of early unknown Ronas, but certainly not much (sanctioned) celebration to cap the UPT adventure.
  13. @nunya is spot on. Shirts can do some mountain moving. During the height of ‘vids last year I went to the shirt for some childcare issues as I was finishing up UPT and had a newborn and they had it squared away in a day or two. I’m still new (and not AD), so I’m not sure what all is possible; but the Shirt knows and their sole job is to help get what you need. Loop in your CC so they know, but I’d imagine should be able to get something worked out. Good luck with it all and don’t hesitate to reach out for help from your peers.
  14. But, they were good friends. He called him a “terrific guy” and talked about his love of “young women” while partying with him and taking rides on his plane. And Clinton was a good friend. And Bill Gates. And Stephen Hawking. And Prince Andrew. And… Instead of trying to turn this into a partisan issue, maybe we should keep focusing in on how a lot of wealthy people, whatever their political affiliation, seemed to spend a lot of time with a guy who preyed on and abused underage girls? All while having a couple decades of allegations, investigations, and convictions, yet seemingly minimal repercussions. The fact people like this existed out there for years and got away with all they did due to money/privilege/connections makes me seethe with anger at the injustice. I hope she burns for her (alleged…for now) role in this mess and I hope even more that she spills the beans on the high profile people that were a part of it and enabled it, regardless of their political party. F-these people.
  15. Good question and I have no clue. It was previously the date of graduation/you getting your rated Aeronautical Orders. Since they’re giving wings early (I don’t know if that’s when they publish AO’s now or if it’s still UPT complete. I am guessing the point previously was you started the clock the moment you were “usable” to the AF. Theoretically, you could be a FAIP at the end of T6 only/getting wings, so maybe that’s when it starts?
  16. The anecdotal evidence is that you might just get to walk away if you’re a part-timer and fail out of UPT/don’t end up with your hired position. @OptFire is right about actually signing papers and incurring a smaller commitment for OTS, but I haven’t really heard of them enforcing it if you bomb out of UPT. More stories of folks that WANT to stay Mil and just change into Maintenance or Intel or something if they fail out over them forcing you to change careers/fulfill the service commitment. @Hopefulflyer389 is also spot on that you don’t owe 10 years until you get wings slapped on your chest at the end of UPT.
  17. This is about the smartest thing 99.69% of us can do; invest conservatively in a few ETFs/funds and just keep plugging away at building it up. A financial advisor is helpful, too, if you find one you trust. Just be wary of them trying to push anything too hard or crazy; some are not fiduciaries bound to your best interests and are paid commissions to sell you specific products that might not be what you need. "Time IN the market is better than timING the market," and most of us would be better of following George Carlin's advice ("It's a big club and you ain't in it") over thinking we can beat the market with some "only we see it" investment. Sure, every once in awhile, you hear of someone hitting it out of the park, but those voices are always pushed to the front and much louder than the thousands and thousands of folks that bet big on the next big XXXXX and lost their asses. People don't talk nearly as loudly about their failures as they do their successes.
  18. I like picking countries with demographics I like (young populations heading to consumerism, growing industry/QoL, reasonably stable governments, etc.) and throwing money in ETFs of those countries for my IRA. Still got a few years (although getting closer quickly, it seems) until I can access my IRA without penalties, so it’s a long play hoping the numbers do their thing. But, definitely have had some decent unrealized gains on the journey thus far. Then again, these days, most US large/mega caps are pretty internationally diversified, so you’re getting decent exposure even investing in US companies.
  19. BLUF: Those of your waiting to start the pipeline might wanna keep the bridge intact to your current civilian job and not hold onto getting a guaranteed 4-year, AFRC-funded GS job with your squadrons to build up those airline app hours. Anything can change between now and the end of the pipeline by the time you get there, but things don’t look great for this program continuing. I’m still at fingerpaint-level in this world, so my view is just from what I'm seeing down here and things could certainly change after the new FY budget in a couple days. They rescinded all offers that hadn’t started citing AFRC funding issues. Does seem like they’ve kept folks already working in those positions, but they’re not taking any new ones; even ones with offers/start dates coming up.
  20. As others have stated, too, rent gets a bad rap. Instead of thinking of throwing your money away to someone else, think of it as having the ability to say “f-this” to a lot of things. Lots of expensive repairs, crappy neighbors/neighborhood, bad schools, or market/value tanks? Rent gives you the ability to say “I’m out” and just walk away. As you said yourself, markets are insane. What if the crash happens right before your next PCS and you’re underwater in a property you can’t sell? What if you get a double whammy of a flooded rental market and you have trouble getting a good renter or covering your nut? Now your financial picture gets a little more dire and you’re stuck spending that money not on your current living needs. Buying a personal house is great, but it gets a little overvalued in the “American Dream” we all get taught. Some people’s Dream turns into a nightmare that they get sunk by because they get clouded by the drive to follow in others’ footsteps of “success.” Pre-9/11, housing outpaced inflation by about 1% over a ~75 year period. Not what you call a killer investment. It’s only been in the low interest rate environment since then that money has chased housing to some pretty crazy heights, with the last year or two being exceptionally crazy. Does it keep going? Who knows? Rent makes you not have to care, either way, is a big piece to that.
  21. I wasn’t headed to Randolph, but definitely knew a ton of folks that were staying in South Flores area right south of downtown. Most were going to Kelly, but knew a couple that we’re headed up to Randy and it’s not terrible because you’re going against traffic. I stayed in a house for lodging rate, but COVID was a help with that being possible. Knew quite a few folks that stayed at Big Tex, Judson’s, and a place across from the South Flores HEB. It’s a great area with a ton to do, so definitely would recommend it; even over being right downtown by Riverwalk. Less touristy, plenty of food and drink spots, and close enough to downtown for a cheap Uber/walk. Much more lively than being up by Randy and you’ll have other pilots around (mostly C5 FTU folks, but some PIT. Can give you a name of a great crash pad operator, if you’re interested. Haha just don’t want to post it up here to seem like I’m pushing them (PM me if you want their contact), but some googling should find a few options. Feel free to ask any more questions you may have. I was there a year ago, but guessing things haven’t changed too much.
  22. I completely agree, @Lord Ratner; this market is nuts and I have no clue how it keeps going up. It's all built up on cheap debt that corps are taking on to buy back their own stocks/competitors or individuals are using to purchase higher and higher priced assets (cars and housing being huge). Interest rates are in the basement, P/E ratios are crazy by historical standards, and debt ratios are high. Not to mention a lax Fed monetary policy that's fed all of this. But, I've been saying that since 2014 and shocked yearly as it just continues up. The only "saving grace" to all of this is that the entire world is going through the same thing, so if it is all built up on debt and free money, is it just the new normal and we're going to experience a big bump in inflation? Either way, you're 100% correct on getting back to the basics. Have an emergency fund, diversify your holdings, and be cognizant of your expenses to not be under water if income drops due to unforeseen circumstances. And, keep saving for retirement. None of us (including the experts) can predict the future. A few "geniuses" will have called it, but it's more the broken clock is right twice a day level than someone actually knowing. So, just be as financially healthy as you can.
  23. Only cash loses if you stay on the sidelines during an inflationary time like we've seen since March 2020. "Time IN the market beats timING the market." 2008 levels were reached late 2013-early 2014 and, if you stayed in the market and kept adding capital, you made out handsomely and solidly beat inflation with one of the greatest bull markets in history. If you cashed out at the wrong time, it really hurt. For March 2020, we were back above those levels within a few months. I'm not saying you're wrong when the downturn comes that cash is great, or that it's that easy to ride through a downturn. Hell, I'm guilty of not heeding my own advice some, too, because I thought I KNEW it was the correction. It's not easy to watch your money evaporate. But, it's certainly not much easier to watch markets continue up double digit %s while you're sitting in cash earning nothing/next to nothing. If you're not trying to retire tomorrow or in the next 5 years, you're likely better off just to keep plugging away and not trying to time it. If it does crash, you're getting discounted securities to stuff all that airline retirement money into. If it doesn't, you'll feel awesome that you made all those gains while others sat in cash waiting for the shoe to drop. Then again, if it crashes tomorrow and you would have gone to cash but decided not to after this post, I don't want folks hating me. So, the BL is: do what you're most comfortable living with. But, try to not let emotion run your decision making. If the markets really fall off a cliff and everything tanks, we've all likely got bigger problems than worrying about our retirement accounts.
  24. “War is a racket. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.” -General Smedley Butler
  25. FAA PIC definition is definitely different than AF/Airline PIC definition. @brabus and @Bigred hit it on the head about what the FAR says and there’s another good thread on here discussing that debate a few years ago, as well, that has good info. If you have a PPL and ASEL, PIC time for T6 can be logged because you’re “sole manipulator of the controls” when you’re flying. It will count toward PIC requirements for getting your (R)ATP, but the airlines won’t count it toward their PIC requirement because you’re not signing for the plane (besides for ~3.0 of T6 solo).
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