military pay rate after commission

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by lizzienelson, Jun 15, 2010.

  1. lizzienelson

    lizzienelson Member

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    Can anyone please tell me what pay rate the newly commissioned officers get paid at? Do they get any credit for for their 4 years at the academy?
     
  2. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    No, time at the academy will not count towards pay or retirement.
    Base pay for a 2LT is $2,745.60. BAH (Housing) varies by location but since this is an AirForce forum- assume he's going to Laughlin for his first assignment so that would be $1,029. BAS (subsistence) would be $223. There are a few other allowances etc and of course if they go on flight status that will change a lot but what the Army says is "Real Military Compensation" for a brand new 2LT is $53,755.25 (This number is one that the government calculates figuring in the tax advantages since only Base pay is taxable)
    Here's a link to all of the pay charts:
    http://www.armytimes.com/money/pay_charts/
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2010
  3. armybratkl

    armybratkl Member

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    2010 base pay for an O-1 with less than two years service is $2,745.60 per month. The years at the academy do not count towards the years of service. In addition to the base pay there are other allowances, such as COLA (cost of living allowance), BAS (basic allowance for subsistence), et cetera.
     
  4. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    All newly commissioned military officers coming from the academies (Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine, or Navy) are paid at the O-1 rate, unless they have 4 years of prior enlisted service, which would qualify them for the O-1E rate. Academy time does not count toward their pay rate.

    Current monthly base O-1 pay, with less than 2 years of service time, is $2,745.60 American dollars.

    The 2010 Military Pay Tables can be found HERE.
     
  5. daysi_cruse

    daysi_cruse Member

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    What if you are coming into the academy with two years of military service? Does that raise your paygrade to O-1 with more than two years?

    *Not to mention that the military paygrades go up every year so it should be a little more in 4 years then it is now.

    I heard that although the time at the academy doesn't count towards retirement, if you stay in for 20 years after the academy your retirement pay is calculated for 24 years instead of 20. Is this true, I heard it from an academy graduate and gave it validity but it sounds funny.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2010
  6. armybratkl

    armybratkl Member

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    Yes. Prior enlistees graduating from the Academies will make more after commissioning than those who went straight out of high school, as long as the prior enlisted were in for at least two years, I believe.
     
  7. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    In a word...no.
     
  8. armybratkl

    armybratkl Member

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    No, it doesn't.

    However, if you go to college on reserve status, that time does count towards your overall time in the service. I don't think you can go into the Academies and be considered a reservist, though.
     
  9. bandit

    bandit Member

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  10. Bundy

    Bundy Member

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    Our son is in the USAFA class of 2014 and we are new to the military so forgive my ignorance. I'm a little confused about the 2LT pay scale after graduation and the Laughlin example given in the second post. There are two figures given for subsistence: $1029 and $223. Which figure is it and is this in addition to the base pay of $2745.60 / month?

    I assume that there are built-in benefits in the compensation that are not generally available in the civilian sector, such as "free" medical insurance that add value to the compensation package, but how does one accurately compare military and civilian compensation? $2745.60 / month is a fairly modest starting income for the level of person graduating from a service academy. What is the Army figuring on top of this base pay to arrive at their $53,755 / year "real military compensation"?
     
  11. Navy1981

    Navy1981 Member

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    Bundy,
    Once you get familiar with the military pay system, it is quite simple. So here goes. Everyone commissioned as a 2LT or Ensign is listed on the military pay scale as an O-1 (Officer level 1). The highest level is O-10 (your 4 star generals and admirals). There is also a pay scale for enlisted personnel that goes from E-1 to E-9. So, the higher up the pay scale, the more rank and more money.
    Base pay is what everyone gets. It is exactly what it sounds like. So every O-1 for the year 2010 will receive $2,745. Pay raises are given annually on Jan 1 (approved by Congress), when you get promoted and generally every 2 years you stay in the military.
    Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) is money provided to pay for rent, utilities, etc. It varies from base to base depending on the cost of living in that geographic area.
    Basic Allowance for Subsistance (BAS) is money provided to purchase food. Which for officers is around $233 per month.

    So all together, these three types of pay add up to roughly $50,000 year if your new 2LT/Ensign is receiving about $1250 per month for BAH.

    There are other types of specialty pay (bonuses, having a specific job etc) that can add up to even more. Here is a website that helps explain military pay further. http://www.military.com/benefits/military-pay/military-pay-overview
     
  12. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    Base Pay + Basic Housing Allowance + Basic Allowance for Sustenance + Tax savings on untaxed BAH and BAS.

    $2,745.60 = Basic Pay for O-1 with less than 2 years
    $1,647.00 = BAH (O-1, no dependents, Washington DC)
    $223.00 = BAS

    $4,615.60 per month
    X12
    ------------
    $55,387.60
     
  13. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Is it true that there are bonuses or extras for such things as proficiency in a strategic foreign language (which languages? what defines "proficient?")?

    What is the status for 2LTs going to such things as graduate school? medical school? world-class athlete training?

    Will the AF pick up the tab for graduate school (tuition, R&B, fees) if they approve of attendence?
     
  14. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Fixed.

    Additionally, something to consider when figuring the total income is the opporunity to receive what are called Military Special Pays. These are pay incentives given as a result of certian duty assignments and qualifications.

    The most common MSPs are Aviation Incentive Pay ("flight pay" as it's often called) and Parachute Pay (only for those who are actively on jump status and maintain jump proficiency).

    Other pays include...

    Foreign Language Proficiency Pay

    Dive Pay

    Sea and Submarine Duty Pay

    Imminent Danger and Hostile Fire Pay

    Hazardous Duty Pay

    Hardship Duty Pay

    Family Separation Pay (not really an MSP per se, but very common)

    Demo Pay

    There are certainly others I've not listed here. Aviation Incentive Pay and Parachute Pay are two of the most common special pays that will be received in a non-combat environment. When deployed to either theater of operations, several of the other pays will be activated for servicemembers.
     
  15. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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  16. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Proficiency is determined by:

    1. Speaking a critical need language eligible for pro pay
    2. Meeting a level of proficiency deemd eligible for pro pay based on the servicemember's score on the Defense Language Proficiency Test for a given language.
    3. Being in a designated Military Linguist career field
    4. Be assigned to duties requiring language proficiency
    5. Be school trainined in an approved course

    What that means is that only a small slice of the military is eligible for that pay. (It's done so the military doesn't have to pay every hispanic soldier who knows spanish). Generally, you will only find linguists, certain intel/planning fields, and special operations officers receiving this pay (that's for the Army, your mileage may vary in other services).
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2010
  17. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Thanks Luigi and Scout; I know I should be doing my own homework on these issues (and others!), but it is so easy just to post the question and within minutes have you kind folks answer it!
     
  18. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    The one thing to stress to newly commissioned officers, is that it will take months before they actually see their "true pay". The reason why is DLA (Dislocation Allowance) and TLA (Temp Lodging Allowance) will be in their first few paychecks after they arrived at their 1st base. It is even harder when they go overseas because of COLA.

    Also, if they live on base, they will obviously not receive BAH. It is best they keep a watchful eye on their LES. If the AF overpays them, they will grab all of that money back in one paycheck. Bullet and I learned that the hard way as 2nd LTs. They were giving him BAH for 6 weeks while we lived on base. As soon as he informed them they took it all back. He actually received a pay check for 80 bucks. OUCH.

    Financially, I would also say that in our experience too many people see DLA and TLA as a windfall, but reality is it still will not cover your expenses. We lived in 9 homes, and not once did the curtain rods fit from any of the other houses. Trust me you land up spending alot of money to reset a home. Additionally, the AF loves to play with you. If they send you to somewhere like Columbus, you can bet your butt that the next place they send you to will be Elmendorf, now all of the sudden you have to totally replace your clothes because it is highly unlikely that you have Sorels and Parkas when you live in Columbus.

    You also spend a lot of money eating out for awhile (until you are in the home) which is much more expensive than you think.

    It is also important to get the best insurance. Typically there are 2 levels, one is repair and one is replacement. You want the replacement because the AF will kill you financially if your objects go missing or are damaged. In the AF they depreciate the property if it is less than 6 months old, and they go as low as 60%.

    Here's a tip for investment. If you have a specialty pay, invest that immediately on a systematic program. The reality is if you are a flyer, and you invest flight pay, you are making the same as the non-flyer. Start young.

    The other tip is you have the benefit of VA mtg loans...USE IT. If you are a located at a base for 4 yrs, BUY a home. Your tax savings will offset even in a bad market. For example, Buy a home for 200K, your mtg/RE taxes would be @15K in deductions, now you get to also deduct other items because you are itemizing. This could be about 1500 a yr.+ 4 yr assignment, that is 6K total, sell the house 4 yrs later at 208K, (BAD MARKET), minus RE costs of 5%, you are still ahead 3K. If you are smart you buy in the neighborhood where the military resides, and worst case scenario you rent it out. The people I know who did the best bought at a very young age, they opted out of being renters or living on base.

    Finally, YES medical is free for the AD member, but realize one day you will get married. You will pay for Tri-Care and United Concordia Dental for your dependents. The costs are not astronomical, in actuality they are inexpensive, but I don't want people to believe that even if you see the doc on base as a dependent you are not somehow paying.
     
  19. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    great advice, Pima. Don't fall for your "inflated" pay that you see for the first few months. Life is expensive.

    I remember all too well the times my roommate and I would go to the China King buffet and eat off the same plate because we didn't have two nickels to rub together until payday...:thumbdown:
     
  20. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    When it comes to pay, anyone who has ever lived the life will relate to my next statement.

    As a 2nd Lt., you will say when I make 1st, I will finally have money, then when you make it you will say when I make Capt, I will finally have money. This will go on for your entire career, and end with when I retire.

    DO NOT GET ME WRONG...because Bullet and I are conservative financially, the AF gave us the opportunity for me to stay at home with the kids, but we also did not go on yrly vacations. We lived very comfortably, but we did sacrifice. We owned our Honda for 11 yrs, but because we did that Bullet was able to buy his corvette. It should be noted that he had the beater car and I always had a new one (never more than 4 yo). We never bought homes that were so overpriced we knew the military could not buy in the neighborhood. I never went into the local WalMart or Target without running into my friends and even the Wing King's wife! Heck, the best source of shopping is actually on base and it is not the BX...it is the THRIFT SHOP! (Go back to curtain rods to understand)

    You will never be a millionaire on military pay, and that includes having flight pay, even when the enlisted believe you make a million + flight pay.

    That being said, you will be able to live a very nice life, and honestly the pay should be a non-player. How many people in this country can say they lived all across the globe. People still to this day come in my house, and say "Oh that's neat where did you get that?" I answer I got it when we lived in England, Alaska, Kansas, etc. I never missed not taking yrly vacations, because where we lived allowed me to experience it without paying for it....Think about it, people spend thousands of dollars to visit the UK for 2 weeks or Alaska, you get it for free!

    When you go AD your new family (AF) will teach you how to make the buck go further. The military understands that the pay is low, that is why the BX/PX/NX exists, but the commissary, the Class 6 (alcohol), Movie theater, Gym, golf course, bowling alley, MWR, O'Club, etc exists. If you elect not to use these places it is truly your loss. These places will stretch your dollars further than you can imagine.

    For example...MWR typically has Auto hobby shop, where you can get your oil changed much less than in town. They typically have a framing shop, where you can get prints framed at nominal cost, and if you take the class, you only pay for the supplies. They have an outdoor rec, where you can rent campers. You can get discounted tickets to amusement parks. Space A is also a great thing, but you need the time freedom to really use it. The golf courses are great and cheap. For Bullets retirement we paid 175 for a round with carts and that was for 18 people. You can't find that on the economy for a private course....of course the joke is the AF builds the runway 1st, O'Club 2nd, and golf course 3rd:shake:

    As I said your pay won't be incredible, and yes, you have that medical, it really comes down to how you utilize the perks that will stretch those dollars.

    One other thing...going back to buying a home...Let's use the DC 1500 BAH. This amount is not taxable, in other words the govt does not acknowledge it, but the mtg companies do. You buy a home with a 1300 mtg (under the 1500 BAH, which you will get). You make according to the IRS @33K, however, you get to knock off 15K for your mtg. Your taxable income is now at 18K, even though you really made 55K. HUGE HUGE HUGE.

    The other tip, always check out the residency benefits for the state you are assigned to. For example, in NC, if you become a resident, and are PCS'd, but your child goes to college in state, you do not pay OOS even if you are now in another state. In FL., they have no state taxes. There will be requirements to prove your resident, but most of the time it comes down to DL, bank account and voter registration.

    LASTLY...MOST IMPORTANT... the military allows you to take advance pay....equaling 1 month. BE VERY CAREFUL. Great to have this lump sum, but remember you will pay for it over the course of a yr and that can hurt. For example, 2700 may be your base pay, now remove fed, state, FICA, etc. and you are at 2000...take the 2700, and you are at 1750. No problem right because you live on base. Take that spanking new car pmt of 500, insurance at 200, cable/phone at 200 and you are at 800, food 250, and you are at 550. Not much more than you are making as a cadet, it can be a tight yr until that is repaid. The smart officers take that to pay off credit cards or car pmts that have interest, some use it to invest in the market. If they use it to pay off credit cards they quickly cut them up. Don't take it as freebie money because if you do, you will go deeper in debt...now you will use it for that 52" plasma, when you had a perfectly good 36".
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2010

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