Military Pay Raise, No New TRICARE Fees or BAH Cuts: A Win for
The recently released final report on the FY 2019 National
Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) released by Congress yesterday was a major win
for MOAA's advocacy efforts across the board.
The bill is on track to be signed before the start of the
fiscal year. This is a major achievement, especially considering the last time
this happened was over 20 years ago in the FY 1997 NDAA, according to
Politico's Morning Defense briefing July 24. Early passage of the bill
would also prevent the need for another continuing resolution and provide much
needed stability to DoD; defense leaders have been asking for this for years.
Some wins in the final defense legislation that align
directly with MOAA's key legislative goals are:
full 2.6-percent military pay raise, which matches the administration's
request. The raise is the largest in
eight years and is consistent with private sector wage growth, as
determined by the Employment Cost Index, which is in accordance with the
law. This raise only keeps pace with current wage increases and leaves
those who are currently serving with a residual pay-raise gap of another
2.6 percent left over from reduced pay raises in FYs 2011, 2012, and 2013.
end-strengths for the armed services over FY 2018 levels. This will put the armed services and the nation in a
better position to deal with ever changing and challenging global mission
requirements as outlined in the new defense strategy. Authorized new end
strengths are 487,500 in the Army; 335,400 in the Navy; 186,100 in the
Marine Corps; and 329,100 in the Air Force.
reduction in Basic Allowance for Housing.
- No new TRICARE fees.
MOAA's success at achieving these important goals in the
final legislation came from working closely with congressional leadership and
staffs, support at the grass roots level from our membership in answering our
calls to action, and a concerted effort with our partners in The Military
As House Armed Services Committee Chair Rep. Mac Thornberry
first stated back in May, “Restoring readiness while increasing the capability
and capacity of our armed forces is a key focus of this year's defense policy
Likewise, members of Congress consistently emphasized
readiness and increasing capacity throughout their preparation of this year's
defense authorization bill. They kept as their focal point our nation's new
defense strategy released under Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis back in
MOAA joins with our coalition partners to thank
the leadership of the armed services committees and their staffs in
Congress for their hard work on behalf of our servicemembers and veterans and
How to Manage Investments During a Crisis
Do you ever find yourself worrying
about what will happen to your investment portfolios based on world events?
management should not need to flex to the crisis du jour. If it does, you need
a better plan. An investment plan based on crisis management or the emotions
stirred by a crisis is a plan that won’t work.
management expects the unexpected. Proper portfolio management is about
managing to the risk (e.g., the British exit from the EU, a financial bubble,
or a terrorist attack).
Your money serves
different purposes. Some must be available for short-term needs like
emergencies. Some is for mid-term needs like saving for a home. Some is for
long-term needs like retirement. Another might be to generate income. Each of
these financial objectives requires a different strategy of money management.
Short-term savings must
be stable and liquid at all times because when you need them, they must be
available for use. Sure, you aren’t making a return on your short-term savings,
but that’s not the point. The point for short-term money is stability and
Long-term money, on the other
hand, requires a return that allows you to offset the damage of taxes and
inflation over time and earn excess returns to build wealth. You won’t be
touching this money for a long time. Short-term volatility is not the point;
the long-term gains are the point.
For average people to build wealth for long-term
needs, the investment markets must go down. You
need a portfolio strategy designed to take advantage of the short-term drops in
the markets. Short-term drops are our only chances to buy at sale prices before
the markets continue their constant movement upward.
So are world events and
crises a big deal? Absolutely. They can drive down the markets so our next
contribution to our 401(k)s, Thrift Savings Plans, or IRAs can take advantage
of lower prices. You should expect — even want — a market drop (the reason
doesn’t matter), plan for it, and take advantage of it.
New GI Bill Provisions Offer Veterans Technical Training and
The Harry W. Colmery
Educational Assistance Act of 2017, commonly referred to as the “Forever GI
Bill” contains 34 sections covering educational, vocational, and disability
benefits to support veterans, active duty servicemembers, National Guard and
Reserve members, and dependents. Two of these provisions are aimed at focusing
on careers that provide former servicemembers and military retirees education
and training benefits that should lead to high-paying employment.
The first program (Provision 111, More Benefits
for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Programs), which premieres
Aug. 1, 2019, will provide the opportunity for up to an additional nine months
(and maximum of $30,000) of GI bill benefits for eligible beneficiaries
enrolled in programs focused on STEM fields. These fields typically require
more than the traditional credit hour requirements to earn a degree. Priority
will be given to those who are entitled to 100 percent of the GI bill benefit,
already have enrolled in a STEM program, and have completed 60 semester credit
The second program
(Provision 116, Pilot Program for Technology Courses or VET TEC) is a five-year
pilot program with opportunities to enroll in high-technology programs of
education that provide skills needed for in-demand employment. These programs
include computer software and programming, information science, media
application, and data processing. The VA will provide employers or
training programs with GI bill funds to offset training expenses and a housing
allowance for the beneficiary, with the expectation that employment is the end
game. This program also is expected to premiere sometime in 2019.