GI Jane Finances

April 26, 2011

Suze has lost her mind!

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 7:17 pm

OK, I am far from being a money guru.  Suze did start me on my financial journey. She has gone from one extreme to another.  First, she was a proponent of good debt vs bad debt, credit scores and 8% return on investments.  Now, she want people to work until 67 even though someone can have $1.3 million in assets and $116,000 in mortgage debt.  Here’s what Joann (52 years old) and Tony (54 years old) had:


Emergency fund: $320,520

Investments: $145,285

Home value: $360,000

Total assets: $1,303,752

Liabilities: $116,389

Suze gave them a D-/F with a $6,700 a month pension between the both of them.  They have $123,000 in a TSP.  Their expenses are $6035 a month–do not know what they are, course.  Suze said their term insurance only went to 70 years.  Also, they did not use their Survivor Benefit Plan that guaranteed income.  So,  if one spouse died,half of their retirement income would go away.  Joann thought that their investments would generate enough income to supplement any loss.

Suze based her opinion on her mother who is still alive at 96 years old.  According to the Center for Disease Control, the life expectancy for the U.S. is 77.9 years of age.  It hard to say without knowing what the heck the $6,035 are in expenses.  I usually include my saving allotments as an expense.  It would be nice to know what they are so the viewers are not in total shock when she gives people a near failing grade.

Heck, if they are in trouble I am in a world of hurt unless I plan on working until 80 years old!

GI Jane


April 22, 2011

Shopping and Family Matters

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 12:34 pm

I will attend my first auction in Korea.  I attended two carpet auctions in Japan.  I spent about $2,000 the first one and nothing on the second.  I want to update my bedroom set and own a couple of little pieces.  Hopefully, I won’t lose my mind…my upcoming vacation already cost me a pretty penny.  I am not looking forward to being reunited with my furniture in storage.  Next week, I will be going to Jeju Island again for several days.

I slacked off working out over the winter and boy did it add 20 lbs! Tae Kwon Do is certainly not enough to keep the weight off.  My Primary Care Manager is putting me on Lipitor for high cholesterol, even though I have a 1% chance of getting heart disease due to the high good cholesterol count.  So, I started running again and extending my workout.  I want to be in tip-top shape for my trip.  I know my mother will give me hell for adding on weight.  I do not know why because she is pretty overweight and never ran a mile in her life!

Family matters

My brother saved $3,000 in his 401K.  His expenses are pretty low: rent, cable and $3K in student loans.  He does a lot things right, just wish he would tackle the student loans quicker.  My mother is still planning on retiring in July.  Both parents will live on Social Security and their modest nest egg.  I’m nervous that they are a bit overconfident.  They live simply apart from their love of cruises, a small mortgage note and property taxes on two house. Oy vey!  They do not listen to me, so I just have to watch and see how this will work.

GI Jane

April 13, 2011

Love and the military

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 12:02 pm

Divorce Rate For Women In Military Double That Of Men.

Very interesting article. 

I want to discuss a several points:

When naval officer Amanda Smith was deployed to Kuwait in August of 2009, her job was to find holes in existing military medical programs and fix them. Smith (her name has been changed) was a mender. She held together the morale of her peripatetic unit. When she found out that a child of one of her soldiers had been molested during their deployment, Smith stayed up nights comforting the inconsolable single mother.

She also tried to maintain the fabric of her own dislocated family. Her husband, Jeff, had returned from Iraq only three months before her own deployment, and their children were living with extended family in Oklahoma while their father went back to school in California.

Then, without any reason for suspicion, Jeff began to berate her for having an affair while abroad. “When the accusations kept flying at me, I wondered if he had a guilty conscience,” said Smith, who never questioned Jeff during his deployment. “Is that what he did when he was gone?”

On a cold Friday in December 2009, Jeff called Smith in Kuwait to say he wanted a divorce. Emotionally overwhelmed, she did not contact him again until she returned to an empty house in April. She found out that he was engaged to someone else Mother’s Day weekend; although their divorce was finalized only last week, Jeff filed for “single status” so that he could remarry last November.

Smith joined the rank and file of military divorcées.

A friend of mine went through a divorce after returning from a deployment.  I won’t discuss the specifics, but her absence definitely contributed to the break-up of her marriage.

This is very true:

Marriages between civilian husbands and military wives have the highest likelihood of ending in divorce.

According to Karney, among men in the military who are married, over 90 percent are married to civilians, whereas the majority of married women in the military have spouses who also serve.

There is an aversion for military men to marry military women.  Civilian wives are far more likely and more importantly, can drop everything and follow her husband.  I cannot abandon my job until my active duty service commitment is over.  Even then, when faced with the choice of leaving my career, it is hard to do the further along you have towards the mandatory 20 years for a pension.  I definitely feel like I am married to my job.

“The U.S. military is an attractive place to work for some of the most traditional men in the United States,” he said. “It is also an attractive place to work for the least traditional women in the U.S. because being a warrior in the armed services are not attractive to traditional gender roles… Those women might not be attracted to the institution of marriage as a traditional institution.”

I used to get a lot of flack when I was a cadet from my boyfriend at the time.  The military is like a “Good Ol Boys” club.  A lot of functions are couple-oriented.  Even if I am dating someone, I will not bring someone to a function because there is too many gossipy busy bees.  As a single-person, I miss out on the off-clock networking when spouses are invited to the commander’s house especially.

“They used to be called wife clubs and people still Freudian slip,” Litchford said. “I have found that once I show up they do try and make an effort to ask me what I would like to do besides have tea and little sandwiches with the captain’s wife. I’m game for glazing your own pottery though… I went along and made myself a mug.”

The one thing I do not miss is being part of a spouses club.  I have no desire to scrapbook and get involved in pecking-order nonsense.

Cutlip found that a majority of the women attributed the failure of their marriages to “improper partner selection,” which could imply that women in the military are more willing to end an unsuccessful or incompatible marriage.

Marine Becky Andrews (whose name has also been changed) met her soon-to-be-ex-husband at a Virginia military base. The two started dating; she got pregnant; and he was then deployed to Japan.

“Even though we had a child together, I was unable to be placed at a nearby base as long as a single mother,” Andrews said. “We figured it would be best if we got married and then we could figure it out.” After the wedding, Andrews was moved to San Diego. Her husband joined from abroad eight months later. It took them two months of living together to call it quits.

Andrews, says failed shotgun weddings were commonplace throughout the base.

“Girls come in from podunk towns fresh out of high school where people didn’t give them a second look, and then they are in land of testosterone,” said Andrews of a military that is approximately 15 percent female. “Honey, you are the cream of the crop because you are the crop.”

Andrews adds couples tend to marry young so that they can be sent to bases close to one another. She also notes that in the case of the Marines, some would marry out of convenience — to get out of dorm style housing that was only available to married couples or officers.

I remember when I was enlisted that people would meet in basic training and get married before or in technical training school.  It seemed so bizarre to me at the time.  Military folks have a big incentive to be married.  The incentives are more pay and on-base homes/townhouses.  I am sure there are more, but those are the most significant.  I had one young lady who worked for me in 2000.  She was on her fifth marriage by age 31.  Shot-gun marriages I am sure are very common.  I rarely see a single-mother among the officer corps.  The military is very traditional and conservative.  The “cream of the crop” quote made me laugh out loud. 

That is why I am excited about moving to San Antonio.  I am approaching the end of my career.  I have to stay a minimum of three years at the next assignment.  My career should not be as non-conducive to relationships as it has in the past.  Up until now, it really caused a lot of consternation in that area of my life. I would have to say about 71% officers are married and according to the article 90% are married to non-military women.  I thought I would marry a military man.  But reality is that they want someone who can pick-up, move and fill-in the traditional role.  As a quasi-feminist, that mentality has made it challenging to say the least.

GI Jane

April 10, 2011


Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 6:58 pm

Yeah, there won’t be a government shut-down.  I did not even know it was possible to not pay the military.  The AF has been experiencing Reduction-in-Force and Selective Retirement Boards.  Just when I was about to power-up my laptop to halt my savings allotment so I can pay rent, the government craziness was over.  I tried to check my check on mypay and the website was still down.

I finally booked my Chicago trip.  Delta Skymiles is so dicey.   I was shopping for upgradable flights so I could use 12,000 miles to upgrade in class.  When I called Delta, the representative said that the flight from Chicago to Ft Lauderdale was $880 dollars!  What is the point of having miles when the upgradable flight costs $300 more than a Delta first class ticket on Expedia?  I called Delta back and found someone who knows what they are doing.  Expedia was a bit misleading, the flight was half first-class and half coach.  I ended up getting an upgrade for $74!  Very happy about that.  I swear calling Delta takes years out of your life.  I also had to change my tickets for Italy because my friend said he lived 5 hours from Rome.

Anywho,  I have a big event tomorrow morning.  We had a good rehearsal on Friday…just hope it does not rain.  The weather forecast is not exactly lining up with what is happening locally.  I decided not to get a canopy since we have so much to set-up already.

Great stories from interwebs…

I like this guy:

  • Dane Lacey, 49, a radiologist from San Diego, has saved nearly $1.4 million for retirement in eight years by living below his means.

Did you always have a goal to front-load your savings? Yes. I want to retire when I am still young enough to travel, hike and body surf. It was a race for me to put a large amount away so that I could enjoy it. I knew that if I got it in early, it could grow.

Read more:

  • This other guy is admirable since he has an average salary, but with terrible eating habits.


GI Jane

April 7, 2011

Shock and Awe

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 2:12 pm

A government shut-down seems imminent.  I can’t imagine not receiving a paycheck next week…hopefully Congress will get it together.  Especially after paying $934 in taxes, never owed that much in my life.  Just paid for my Italy trip.  So glad I have an emergency fund.  I would be up the creek if I did not.  Can’t imagine how people lower in rank who live off-base would cope if it drags on?  The last time this happened was in 1996 for three weeks.  Thankfully, they got back-pay, but the media said back-pay is not a guarantee.  Not in this recession!

I have been looking at houses in San Antonio online.  My housing allowance is $1,335, but I will experience a $1,200 monthly pay cut.  The government also pays for my utilities while living overseas.  Since I won’t have my utilities paid for in the states, I need to artificially create a utility allowance within my housing allowance.  Therefore, I need to pay no more than $1,000 for rent.

You have to drive everywhere in SA.  Gas prices in Chicago is about $4.00.  Jimminy Crickets.   I still looking forward to moving home.  I wish I can have the same salary as I do now.  I will experience a big lifestyle change with the move.

GI Jane

April 2, 2011

The summer awaits

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 6:44 pm

I am gearing up for my move to San Antonio.  My boss finally approved my leave for 7-29 Jul.  I finally paid for my plane ticket to Italy.  I only have to book my trip to Chicago and Florida.  A good friend emailed me that he visits SA several times a month.  I also found out what my position will be.  It is somewhat outside my career field but in it.  I need to have additional training for the job.  Hopefully, the training will only be a couple of weeks.

I have a big event that I am planning in about 8 days.  April will be an interesting month.  A friend is throwing a birthday bash and I am going to Jeju Island again.  I am training with nunchucks and a staff for Taekwondo.  I hate nunchucks!

Today, I finally removed my eyelash extensions that I have been wearing for 1 1/2 years.  I loved having them.  People would always compliment me on my eyes.  I bought some Latisse last September during my trip to the states. I pray they will turn out even longer than my natural length.  What women do for beauty?! lol.  I never thought in a million years I would wear fake eyelashes.  But they really make you look awesome.  My brother has the most beautiful eyelashes.  I have no idea why men have longer lashes than women?

I am so looking forward to SA.  I have become a TV addict, namely an iTunes one.  The operational tempo here really sucks the life out of you.  When I lived in Japan, I couldn’t tell you what was on TV apart from Dancing with the Stars.  I have met some cool people here though.  I will be visiting one of my amigos who moved to Italy in July.  I can’t wait for the summer!  I’ve checked out some SA  meetups and housing.  I have one more old SA friend to contact…think she is out-of-town.

It is so cool that I named this year to find an awesome mate.  Even though I had some interesting prospects over the past four years, I love the SA and Austin single scene.


GI Jane

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