Letters to the Editor

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MILITARY: Retirees should be happy with what they have

Letter by Lawrence H. Smith, University Place on Dec. 16, 2011 at 3:24 pm | 36 Comments »
December 16, 2011 3:24 pm

Some time ago, I wrote The News Tribune stating my opinion that the military retirement system was quite generous, especially when compared to the average civilian retirement package. That letter brought a comment from one who believed the retired military personnel were owed every nickel of their retirement pay and benefits, stating that low pay was common for decades for the military.

The respondent was right in stating that military pay was very low in the 1950s and ’60s, but something happened with the ’70s and later decades: Military pay and benefits increased rather dramatically. In fact, the military total compensation package is quite attractive to those young folks coming out of high school without the intent or funds to get higher education.

A career in the military with retirement at 20 years is a pretty attractive deal for many, considering the current pay and benefits.

In my first letter on this subject, I stated that my current retirement pay alone had a present value of more than $600,000. What I didn’t mention was that I’ve been retired for 16 years so far. I estimate that the day I retired from the military, my benefits easily had a present value of more than $1 million.

So, my advice for our retired military personnel is to be happy for what you have. Your benefit package is very generous compared to others in the civilian sector. If it weren’t, why did you stay in the service past your initial military commitment?

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