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Everything posted by FDNYOldGuy

  1. 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.
  2. 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 They rescinded all offers that hadn’t started citing AFRC funding issues.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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. “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
  8. 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).
  9. It's amazing to me that they haven't figured out a better way to run the track system to avoid situations like this. It's crazy folks are getting non-vol'd into 38s because they have more slots than interested/capable studs in one class when you've got people splitting MASS hairs the class behind to not get "left out." Or that the DNIF game to get timing worked out is the best option for someone that might be on the cusp in their class, but be high ranked in the class behind. There's certainly no shortage of people that want pointies and just because they want it doesn't mean they should have it if the skill isn't there. But, it seems a lot better to hold a slot open for someone that is aiming (and capable) for that life over stuffing someone that might have good hands but wants heavies into an entire career trajectory that's very different than they hoped for. I know little about how the stew is made, so I'm likely talking out of my tailpipe. But it made sense to me that maybe a better option for UPT structure would be less breaking studs up into classes and more breaking down the Phases even further into their component blocks and living in those components. Instead of you being class 21-69, you just show up into the Transition class at the beginning of training (or start it in Phase 1 Sims...whatever works). You and the other folks in Trans shuffle through that block, working on the same level as everyone else in that block, until you get to check ride; whenever that may be. Once you pass check, you move into a different classroom/section/whatever that is only folks now in Nav block. Perhaps at at the end of the first block in the Form class you start looking at track, as IPs there can get an eye on folks they think are getting Form over those struggling more. Lather, rinse, repeat through Phase 2 and 3. I guess maybe the downsides could be harder to track/mentor individual studs without the structure of classes and little less stable camaraderie since you'd not be with the same "class" for the entire run. The fast runners would leave the slow and steady folks behind, but it still seems like it would be a way to get groups more on the same page and with peers struggling through the same blocks as you are. While you can get insight from the further along folks in your class, they just sometimes are focused on their alligator and not the one they already whacked in the head, so it seems sometimes the slower paced folks languish in the end as the class moves on/empties out/has new gators inbound.
  10. @Guardian hit a lot of the positive points of following your heart, but I'm just putting a little different spin on it. BLUF: Shitz hard. Doubly if you're in a relationship dragging someone else along who is established where you currently are. Kids can push it into used diaper full of Indian food level of chaos, if you throw that in the mix. Thousands have done it and continue to do it, so it's 100% not prohibitive; just my experience. I'm still 100% glad I did it and would do it again, but it was harder on my better half than we both thought it would be going into it. Even for Guard/Reserve. First off, you'll PCS to your UPT base in the middle of BFE. Sure, your sig other can come with, but they're not exactly in garden spots of professional employment opportunity and social stimulation, so hopefully he/she/they can work remotely and don't mind being in personal/professional Antartica. If they stay back while you're at UPT, cue up the concerns of time apart/relationship stagnation or degradation/new wrestling partner potential. Could be totally fine, of course, but that's personal to each individual and relationship. Training pipeline, especially pointies, is going to take a lot of your time (studying, chair flying, practice sims, planning, eventually missions, etc.). You might be living in the same place as your spouse, but thinking you're gonna have a lot of time to spend fostering a relationship with a he/she stuck in the middle of nowhere/alone might be a bit of a pipe dream. Again, YMMV and you may have 8lb 6oz newborn baby Jesus' brain and believe that fundamentals are the crutch of the talentless, but that's not the case I saw from most folks I was in training with. I wrote a lot more because I'm verbose, but I deleted a bunch for brevity's sake and to not seem overly negative. In the end, it all depends on the individuals and you will likely be just fine. But, just trying to give a little caution that even going for the G/R route, you aren't out of the woods and free of big asks of your significant other/big hurdles that are outside of agreeing you get to go fly fun airplanes.
  11. Thank you for the help and advice, as always, @brabus @Desk Jobs Suck, I just looked back through my UPT orders/mods and I don’t see anything about them being “Voluntary” written anywhere. I’d guess they won’t be too crazy about picking up on that piece, but it’ll totally depend on your employer. If they go for it, it’s ~2-2.5 years worth of training/differential pay, so it’s definitely a huge help if you can make it happen.
  12. I actually just looked at my seasoning orders and saw that they did NOT have the USERRA 5-year limit exempt verbiage that my OTS/SERE/UPT/FTU orders had. I thought because it was still a "School" order and still part of the training pipeline that it would be, but perhaps not. It could be a box just not checked when the orders were written, but I'm not sure. YMMV. EDIT: Read through the SAF MR posted by Brabus and, from the way I read it, seasoning should be exempt, but my brain is a bit mushy currently.
  13. Right in the middle of heading back to my civilian job now. I always planned on going back, so maybe a little different than your situation, but you can always look at it as...what if you need that job for some reason? Who knows what the world situation will be when you pop out at the end of the pipeline? Your unit may not have orders to keep you going as long as you plan; the airlines might not be hiring; you might find yourself without a viable option for a another civilian job; or (not trying to put the evil on you, Ricky Bobby, but gotta give a legit look at everything) you might just not make it through UPT, so you might need to go back to the civilian world. Hell, even if all goes well, there can be some serious breaks in the ANG pilot training pipeline, from my understanding, and it can vary by unit whether they keep you paid/insured and on orders during them. You might find yourself waiting for a few months between OTS and UPT or UPT and PIQ to where you might need to have a civilian gig to keep a roof over your head and yourself fed. So, why leave your USERRA protected job in the dust when there’s at least a (hopefully small) chance you’ll have to go back to it? The fact they pay you Mil leave is a nice positive kicker, but I’d honestly hang onto the gig more so because the world is uncertain and, whether you love your job or not, it is one you can have legally held for you while you journey through the pipeline.
  14. Nope, not at all. It’s a regressive tax on poor folks that’ll push more poverty because they’re paying higher taxes (similar to VAT) on necessities to them. I’m actually more of a fan of the tax rate schedule under Eisenhower when we invested heavily in infrastructure/science/space exploration/defense/etc. over the continued hopes of trickle-down. But, I’m a dirty lefty that thinks corporations and ultra wealthy can afford to pay more in taxes/have their tax loopholes closed/bring their stashed cash back to the US. I think they’ll survive.
  15. I like this video (and channel) for some pretty decent explanations on economic stuff. Might not agree with all of it, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t lots of good points/it isn’t well thought out. Is Hyperinflation Coming? As for whether the gubmit will be able to pay your pension, or it’s bills, is mainly touched on by the video and posters above: we print a valuable, world-useful, and respected currency, so as long as those things keep happening, we can kinda print whatever we want. Also helps that, while our numbers seem crazy, the whole world is doing the same thing (well, at least in relation to Covid and the Great Recession) trying to prime their economic pumps. Weimar Republic was bad because there were other stable(ish) investments to park your money like the US and UK in the 20’s. Currently, there’s not really any other major economy that’s “just fine.” Everyone sucks, so everyone’s printing, so there’s not a huge cause for alarm. So what, though? They also have more money AFTER taxes than the bottom 90% due to wealth concentration. Using just a sheer numeric value is disingenuous because, yes, they may be paying a greater NUMBER, tax-wise, but I’m certain, dollars to donuts, they’re paying a much smaller % OF THEIR INCOME in taxes than those in the bottom 90% due to multitudes of tax loopholes and dodges; especially when you start getting closer to that top 1%.
  16. Sign the paperwork to get the ball rolling, just in case you decide to take it in a year from now (~6 of PIQ + 140 of seasoning + any leave you’ve built up/are able to take). There’s no commitment to TDART; time owed or for you to take the job, so why not just get your ducks in a row to have the option when you pop out at the end of your Prog Tour in case you need it? If the airlines aren’t hiring what they think they will or something else happens to diddle your current plan, it’s a guaranteed, better-than-CFI/regional pay job option to get paid to fly airplanes and further a career. It’s actually GS-9 pay below 300 hours (pretty huge pay cut from AD orders/BAH/BAS), but you should be able to make 300+ hours in that 140 days to make GS-11 pay when you start. ”Getting orders” is a floatable thing between MWSesesessss, so I can’t speak for your particular situation. Some deploy and you get solid 2-4 months of orders; others don’t deploy but get TACC missions that you get “long tour” orders (usually >30 days) to pick up trips that AD can’t because AD is too busy. But, I will say talking to a few friends in different MWS (both AD and Res), a lot of flying seems to be drying/hard to come by up due to a reduction in missions and an over abundance of Johnny LTs/folks needing currency or upgrades running around trying to get touches. TDART might be the best way to “guarantee” getting paid decently/getting hours. It’s not glamorous, but sitting in sims and on locals in CIV pay status costs the unit nothing and doesn’t come out of your limited number of Reserve pay periods, so my understanding is that you can rack up hours “easier” without the potential funding issues that you might face as a TR. All that pro-TDART talk to finish that I’m in a similar boat to you. It’s a definitely not-great option for me with my civilian gig and I’m very likely not taking it. That said, I’ve done every step to keep it an option, should I find that it becomes a better deal for my family/flying than trying to juggle max-performing TR flying/what orders I can scrounge and my civilian gig obligations. I think we can have up to a year from end of Prog Tour to actually accept it and start the job and the 4 year clock (time that it lasts; not that you owe for taking it). YMMV, but might as well go through the wickets to keep the option open for you. Only cost is a few extra PITA hours of USAJobs and records wrangling.
  17. Can’t speak to the fighters, because I’m a fattyboi and pretty damn stoked about it. Flying is fun The first thing is to decide whether it’s more important for you to fly pointies, or fly/serve at all. I get the fighter love; most people want that when they’re growing up and heavies certainly don’t have as much glitz and glamour. That said, having seen behind the curtain in my brief time in, there are a LOT of other airframe considerations (lifestyle, flexibility, $$$$, deployments, travel locations, training, currencies, etc.) that are pertinent once you start looking at the forest through the trees. Only you can decide what’s right, but what I’m getting at is there’s more than just whether you sit in a pointies or heavies seat, so be sure to do your research. A big caveat you should think of or look into about your soul crushing defense contractor job: a good portion of them will pay your salary while you’re away in your training pipeline. That’s a nice bump to your 2LT pittance salary while you’re in the pipeline. Not saying be shady d-bag and take the money when you’re 100% never going back, but you also don’t know what the economy will be by the time you’re spit out at the end of the pipeline. COVID Part II: Electric Bugaloo could have the airlines looking like they have for the last year and you could find yourself without many prospects. So, keeping your foot on the bag at your current job while you’re in the pipeline might not be the worst idea. Especially when you’re getting paid to do so. Either way, as said by others, only you can decide. But, good luck with whatever you choose! It’s an awesome ride!
  18. Here’s a quick and easy source document, in case you haven’t seen it. Could have been matching (if you switched to BRS), deployment, or if you’re over 50 (or TSP thinks you are), that allowed you to go above $19.5k. Also could have been a mistake in there, but it usually is a pretty solid system at stopping over contributing. But, there’s also a Request for Refund form referenced in that link above. Big catch is that, if you’re talking about 2020, the deadline is 15 March for them to receive the form to avoid a tax SNAFU.
  19. I had no idea that was a previous thing in the past. Was it not utilized enough to merit the expense or something? Even if T6s would run too much money, something like @Stitch said with the T53 or, hell, a discount/hours allotment to the (albeit few remaining) Aero Club(s) would be a step. I just figured the T6 adds speed, aero capes, and standardization of mx/parts/procedures because it's what pilots have trained on for 15+ years. Taking it a step further, I'm honestly surprised they don't cram a bunch of Nav in at IFT (get something IFR certed) or with some other bug smasher IFR capable trainer at UPT. Setting up for an instrument approach, briefing, running DLIDS/OLDRODO/WDRWHOS/RSTLNE/Whatevermnemonicisused is pretty much the same in any aircraft; the speed it comes at you and the equipment used are the big differences and vary (sometimes maddeningly) between MWS. Save bucks in a 4-banger at 10GPH nailing the basics over any of the other UPT iron fuel-burn options and top off down the line in current UPT jets to add speed helmet fire/MWS similarities. Then again, who the hell am I and what do I know?
  20. How awesome it would be if Wings/Squadrons were allocated a couplefew T6s that pilots could sortie out for stick and rudder flying? Sure, it really wouldn't do anything for currencies in most MWS, but it would give pilots a cheaper opportunity to keep up on those flying basics over trying to wrangle a .69 of flying time with a handful of other pilots vying for the same on locals (well, in heavies, anyway). They already have 38s doing that for a couple airframes; why not expand it to more MWS? Make it optional, so it's not something that feels like a burden to those that don't care to fly outside of their jet, and allow pilots to just enjoy flying. I am sure there would be some logistics headaches and issues, but a T6 seems like a still high performance but cheaper way to get altitude under ass time than 1-8 jet engines burning way more lb/hr.
  21. Pretty much what @Kiloalpha said. This is where things get a little sticky, from what I’ve been told. You can get a Reserves recruiter to schedule you for MEPS, BUT that then means the Reserves own your file. If you go to a Guard unit, there’s paperwork that has to be run through the wickets to get your already completed MEPS packet released to the Guard. Again, not 100% sure about this, but it’s what I was told when I was looking at both. As for FC1, it sounds as though it’s nearly impossible to get one before getting hired now. It wasn’t impossible in the past, but, as Bob Dylan said, “times they are a changin.” The hiring slowdown, COVID, and limited scheduling have shifted things drastically.
  22. Haha. Well, hope my ramblings were of some help. Your scores are awesome (far better than mine were), you’ve got a solid background (pilots love talking finance...seriously), and you seem like you’ve got a great attitude. You’re also only a year past the age cutoff (maybe 2, by the time you start UPT), so it’s not a crazy amount of time. Your biggest hurdles are, as @Metalhead731 said, timing, competition, and COVID. I lucked out and hit a window where they really needed pilots and fewer were applying. But, now that’s changed and, unfortunately, units (and Reserves/Guard UPT boards) have gotten extremely picky. But, as was said, if you put your effort into it, there’s always a chance. Bottom line is that no one wants a “problem” without a solution. Not that you personally are one, but hiring someone older presents extra work and questions. So, it’s your job to try to get ahead of things and provide as much help with or solutions to those problems to ease the reluctance. Make sure you’ve got a solid packet put together and really sell your age as a pro over a potential con. Try to get ahead on any paperwork needed. See if you can knock out MEPS or an FC1 (extremely hard, these days, but you never know). Network and talk to as many people as you can. You never know who might help along the way. Little is impossible with hard work. I don’t mean to sound like a coach, but it’s true. You can hustle and make it an easy choice for the roadblocks and bumps you might encounter by trying to smooth the road as much as possible. Good luck! It’s certainly not an impossible, or easy, journey, but it’s really an amazing one. Still can’t believe I get to do it, honestly.
  23. Going off of memory from 2.5 years ago, but: -Reserve Board (been very tough this year, it seems, so expect delays) -Swear in (this is your military career “start date,” even if you don’t begin getting paid/drilling until later) -Gained by 340 FTG (you should not be gained by, or drilling with, your sponsoring unit as a Reservist, which is different than Guard) -Get your paperwork squared with them. They’ll get you signed up with the OTS people and the OTS folks will email you CBTs (computer based training) to do before OTS. -About 2-4 weeks before your OTS dates, they will fly you to Randolph for a week of Inprocessing to get you spun up for OTS (signed up for things, Mil email, CAC, etc). This is when you’ll get your OTS/SERE/UPT dates and training base. You’ll be paid for the week and they’ll pay for you to fly down. It’s in civvy clothes for non prior service; priors will wear uniforms and chaperone non-priors. -OTS start and pipeline begin. OTS is always first, but SERE could be before or after UPT, depending on scheduling. They probably won’t give PIQ dates at this time, due to always changing UPT schedules. You’ll be on orders/getting paid solidly with no breaks in orders or pay for 2+ years from that point. Think that’s what the order was, IIRC. YMMV.
  24. Because there’s nothing a federal politician can do for his electorate? You start battling for disaster relief bills to help pick your constituents back up. You figure out why the help didn’t arrive quicker or more effectively. You think of how you can help through economic relief. You at least try to be smart enough to not be a giant hypocrite at doing what you spent a lot of time calling out other politicians for doing. Yeah, maybe it’s symbolic, but it’s a douchebag move for a political voted to represent the people and be their leader to bounce the hell out or not follow the same rules they espouse. Same goes for Austin Mayors, California Governors, Texas Senators, any elected official on any shade of the political spectrum. You’re a leader; lead or at least act like you GAF when the people who asked you to lead need help.
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