Quote Originally Posted by BENDER56 View Post
... and even when I was in, too.

I joined in '84 as an A1C and retired in '10 as a MSgt. Now, I'll admit my wife also worked for much of the time I was in, but due to the frequent moves she never got far up the pay hierarchy and usually worked at jobs paying slightly above minimum wage.

Anyway, we never had any financial problems. We always had enough to pay for everything we needed for ourselves and our kids, most of what we wanted, and still had plenty left over to save and invest. Of course, it helped that neither of us have extravagant "wants".

My last three years on AD I was making more than 70K. And this was for a guy without a degree.

I never understood all the, "Oh, woe is me," whining I heard throughout my career about being so underpaid and impoverished. I got paid the same as them and I was doing just fine, thanks. I dunno, maybe I was paid from the double-secret military pay scale and didn't know it.

It might be before your time, but in 2000 there was an infamous article published in the Washington Post and written by a former member of the Congressional Budget Office entitled, "Our GIs Earn Enough." In it, she made a decent-enough case that military compensation didn't actually suck as much as everyone seemed to believe. Well, from the uproar it created in the rank-and-file military you would have thought the god-hating commies themselves had descended into main-street USA and canceled weekends forever. Thankfully, some SrA wrote a sappy, ad hominem "reply" that got emailed around the world a hundred times and reinforced everyone's certainty that we all lived in suckville and made everybody feel better. I just don't get people.

Now I get $36K for staying home and sitting on my ass. God bless 'Murca.
One of the big problems (maybe the biggest) we have in the military with our pay etc is we have way too many junior people on the lower end of the pay chart (avg for an E3 is about 21k per year in pay -- 35k with benefits etc) who are trying to support a family on their pay with a lifestyle that does not conform to their income. It is entirely possible to do it on $35k or $40k a year but you have to adjust your spending on non-essentials to do it.

As an E3 living in the barracks (& I had no bills) I had more money than I knew what to do with, as an E4 I lived out in town in a decent apartment, as an E5, E6 & E7 I lived in a small beach house on the Atlantic Ocean in NC and still had more money per month than I spent. I didn't get married until I was an E6 and until our current house (I am now an O4) we never really changed the size of the home we had (we went ahead and got a house we think we will be in for 10-15 years.)