Breaking: USCG offers 2.5 mo Continuation Pay in 2018 and beyond


ALCOAST 278/17 spells out the authorization for ALL Active Duty members to receive the promised Continuation Pay. (reserves get 0.5 mo) Members must have less than 12 years of service to sign up for BRS and receive the Continuation Pay. If you Sign up for BRS in 2018 after hitting 12 years, no pay for you, so it pays to…

Guest Post: 3 Ways Military Families Can Cope With Tough Financial Times


Today's contribution is from freelance writer Sally, who hails from an online life insurance company. Her concern for her parents, who are aging, have sent her on a mission to help alleviate some financial stress, especially among seniors. While this blog concentrates on not having financial stress, and the younger crowd, here are a few reminders on coping with tough…

Guest Post: Military Student Loan Forgiveness: Facts and Programs Available


Today we welcome a reader and guest poster, Drew Cloud. His article on Military Student Loan Forgiveness is especially timely with all the rumblings about the PSLF going away (even going away retroactively). What would you do if your loans you thought would be forgiven suddenly weren't, through no fault of your own?! While none of these options applied to…

Standing by for Baby MilitaryFIRE & updates


Hello all, Mrs. MF's and my baby will be making a sooner-than-expected entrance this week. Wish us luck! I'll get to posting about how we handled our baby-finances here soon! Some updates: Mrs. MF has cut my hair to perfection in under 20 minutes twice this month. That's a massive improvement, and all the more reason to keep doing it. Read…

Financial Independence and the Military Spouse: Mrs. MilitaryFIRE’s take.


This post is by my lovely wife, Mrs. MilitaryFIRE. As we approach 3 important milestones (First baby, first military move, and second anniversary) she has this advice to offer as a military spouse on a FIRE path: I wouldn’t call myself frugal but by definition, I guess I am. Since my husband has started on this journey to financial independence…

Optimizing Advance Pay during Military Transfer Season


Advance Pay is one of the awesome things about moving every 2-4 years in the military. The government will give you an interest-free advance on your pay with 12 months to pay it back! It’s a huge opportunity to take advantage of. In this post, we will talk about what to use Advance Pay for, how to optimize it for…

February Update: We’re Broke


Since the beginning of 2017, we have been living paycheck to paycheck. The other night, Mrs. MilitaryFIRE asked how much we were making after each paycheck. “Zero,” I said, “we’re essentially broke.” We started the year with our checking account below its normal level due to some 2016 year-end IRA contributions and we haven’t been able to bring it up…

Learnin’ and Planin’


One of the disadvantages to the military lifestyle is the inability to iet up a forever home until later in life. While the moving and travel may be a bonus for some, I’d be happy to set up shop in one place for the rest of my career. Our family is all located in New England, and we want to…

Our Passive Income Goal: $2,400/yr by 2020


It is February 2017 and our family has almost no passive income! What is passive income? It is an income source that requires little to no work to sustain itself. Some examples might be royalties from a book, rental income, or profit sharing from a business you part-own.  Looking around the FIRE community, many people rave about owning rental real…

DIY: Your Barber is Stealing Your Wallet


I love to make my own stuff- I’ve made my own boats, bed, cheese, maple syrup, wine, Mrs. MilitaryFire makes greeting and holiday cards and we grow a garden. I hunt and fish. While functional and edible items are a useful side benefit of these activities, I’m hard pressed to say any of them really save money, especially if I…

7 Lesson Learned by Debunking Retirement Plan Scammers, Gamers and Detractors


Retirement Plans, especially those sponsored by an employer (the 401K, 403b, and the TSP) are probably the most powerful and simple tool you have on your path to wealth. The TSP in particular automatically leverages the power of index investing for incredibly low fees. It has Roth and Traditional options, Targeted Retirement Funds, and starting in 2018 will come with…

How do we track our spending? January Expenses Revealed!


If you want to make it to Early Retirement or Financial Independence, you absolutely must know what your spending is. Tracking your expenses is the only way to gain a holistic view of your spending habits. I I have said before, tracking is not budgeting. We are "toughening up, cupcake", avoiding the excuse to spend and not using mental crutches to…

The Simple Path to Wealth: Book Review


I’ve been following Jim Collins, who blogs at www.jlcollinsnh.com, for about two years now. His simple, direct, and low impact investing style has changed how I invest. Investing before was exciting and time-consuming- watching the news, reading stock charts and pouring over technical analysis. Now, investing is boring. But I’m finally seeing returns. Mr. Collins turned the advice in his…

Guest Post on The Military Guide: Blended Retirement System


Hello everyone, I'm proud to announce the publication of my guest post over at The Military Guide. Doug Nordman was kind enough to feature my thoughts on the new military Blended Retirement System. In my guest post I also provide a spreadsheet which you can use to calculate what you stand to gain - or lose - if you chose…

3 Ways to Plan Next Year’s Taxes: less pain, more gain!


A major goal of my family is tax efficiency. While this post won't be outlining any fishy tax schemes, it should help you save on your taxes. Paying less taxes has also helped us direct more money to paying down our loans while simultaneously investing. Taxes are a necessary evil. They pay our salary and provide services. However, the government…

Pay Down Debt or Invest for Retirement?


Should you pay down debt or save for retirement? Like many finance questions, I think the answer to this question is: it depends. In the following post, I designed an experiment to test my guess that it is better pay down high interest debt fast, but it might be better to invest if you only have low interest debt. (Spoiler-…

DIY: Gardening your way to frugality


One of the benefits to living in a temperate climate is the ability to garden. While many people grown the odd tomato or basil plant around here, I think gardening can be a fantastic way to thin the family grocery bill. As I have mentioned before, if you don’t track it, you don’t know what its worth/costing you. Over the…

Utilize the TSP’s low fees to supercharge your retirement


What if I said YOU could make 1% more in your retirement account, every year, for life? As far as things go, a 1% advantage is pretty good these days. The market isn’t returning twenty-odd percent like it did in the lead up to the '08 crash. I’m talking about the fee’s you pay to invest. Vanguard, which has some…

Why FIRE?


Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) As part of our pre-marriage financial summit, my wife and I took a long look at our retirement goals. At the time I hadn’t discovered Mr. Money Mustache or any of the FIRE crowd. What we found was pretty dismal. I had graduated from a top university with no debt, had worked with a generous salary for…

Financial Independence with the TSP and IRAs


In a previous post we discussed how the actual annual TSP (Military 401K) contribution limit is $18,000. Most military folks, and indeed the general public, don’t know you can max out your contributions at work and continue to save for retirement by using IRA’s, with all the tax benefits that come with these methods. This got even more confusing when…

What’s my Maximum Retirement Contribution, anyway?


The TSP is the military's 401k. The below may apply to your retirement account too. Just about every current military member has sat in a training where someone has demonstrated the power of compounding interest. “Look”, they say, “if you start when you’re 18, by the time you retire you have $1 million. Wait till you are 25, only $600,000.…

Budgeting is an Excuse to Spend


I am a budgeting failure. Once, in a calorie counting phase, I found myself viewing the calorie budget as a challenge. If I had 100 calories left over at the end of the day, I would allow myself a donut, or a beer, up to my maximum, rather than banking my lower count for the win. This is exactly what…

Risks and Rewards of Balance Transfer Credit Cards


After I resolved the Loan Group fiasco, I undertook our most risky strategy yet. We used a Zero-percent balance transfer credit card. What is a 0% BTC? Many credit card companies issue promotional offers to entice customers to switch their business. Zero Percent Balance Transfers are a common enticement. By applying for the card and indicating what current credit card…

Student Loan Refinance – FIRE Edition


Our next foray into repaying our $107,000 of student loans was learning about student loan refinance and consolidation. I researched several options, including SoFi and Citizen's Bank, where Mrs MF held a checking account. I submitted our request to refinance to both companies. We included myself as a co-borrower because I had better credit due to the age of credit…

Debt Snowball: Not a Chance in Hell


Have you considered the Debt Snowball for your debt? Learn from my story and save yourself the trouble. As I noted in the introductory post, before we got married, my wife and I sat down and seriously discussed our finances. I knew she had student loan debt. When she said she had a lot of debt, I assumed the worst would be twice…
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