Marine Corps Officers must teach Marines about investing Investing

The Roth IRA Investment Vehicle For Marine Corps Officers

Marine Corps Officers MUST be knowledgeable when it comes to investing. Not simply for their own benefit, but more importantly for the Marines whom they teach financial management. The Roth IRA should be one of the first things you teach your Marines. The Roth IRA is an retirement account that offers a future tax-free retirement income. The idea behind the Roth IRA is that you pay taxes now in order to free yourself of such a burden later on. The investment account is a sensible option for those who expect to be paying a higher tax rate during retirement. If you are not making a whole lot of money now you can minimize future taxes by paying up-front at your current lower rate.

Marines and Marine Corps Officers Are Eligible

There are eligibility requirements for the Roth IRA. However, given that you have chosen a career in the military you likely won’t be making enough money to warrant exclusion from this investment option.

Here is the official Amount of Roth IRA Contributions That You Can Make for 2014

If your filing status is… And your modified AGI is… Then you can contribute…
married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er)

< $181,000

up to the limit

> $181,000 but < $191,000

a reduced amount

> $191,000

zero

married filing separately and you lived with your spouse at any time during the year

< $10,000

a reduced amount

> $10,000

zero

single, head of household, or married filing separately and you did not live with your spouse at any time during the year

< $114,000

up to the limit

> $114,000 but < $129,000

a reduced amount

> $129,000

zero

More to Know

As I explained, the main benefits to having a Roth IRA is the future tax benefits you will receive. There are some additional considerations you should take into account.

  • You have a 15 month window to contribute (e.g., January 1, 2014 to April 15, 2015)
  • You can’t contribute any more than you make (e.g., if your income is only $2000 for the year you can only contribute $2000 of the $5500 max)
  • Age is not a factor to eligibility
  • There is no requirement to start withdrawing (with a traditional IRA you have to start withdrawing at 70 ½)
  • If your spouse doesn’t work you can contribute to their Roth IRA

Early Withdrawals

It is incredibly important for Marine Corps Officers to educate their Marines about how early withdrawals work with the Roth IRA. In most cases, withdrawals from a Roth IRA before 59 ½ will be subject to a penalty.  One could end up paying a 10% early withdrawal fee + taxes on the Roth’s earnings + income tax. There are ways to avoid some of these penalties such as disability, death, medical expenses, first-time home purchase (up to $10,000), higher education expenses, and ironically to pay taxes owed to the IRS.

There is no doubt that a Roth IRA is a solid investment choice for Marine Corps Officers and the Marines they lead. The retirement account affords you a wide variety of investment options such as mutual funds, brokerage (stocks, bonds, and other securities), CDs, and more. I encourage everyone to do their research and compare the varying opportunities in order to find the best option for you.

Enjoy some beer while in the individual ready reserve Marine Officer

Enjoy Your Time In The Individual Ready Reserve

So you graduated college and got commissioned as a United States Marine Corps Officer, but what do you do if the Corps has decided to throw you into the individual ready reserve. If you were fortunate to get an assignment to The Basic School with only a few months to relax then you probably don’t have any worries. Move back home with the parents, or stay around school and keep working your day job. Sadly, that will not be the case for many new officers such as myself. With a 12+ month waiting period ahead of me there is no wonder I started this website in the first place. Fortunately, I am going to do my best to offer some advice to those who are scheduled to twiddle their thumbs for the foreseeable months.

Get a job…SIX+ MONTHS BEFORE YOU GRADUATE!

Chances are you have a desire to put some money in the back, pay off some loans, pay rent, etc. The best, if not only, way you are going to be able to do that is by getting a job. I HIGHLY encourage those of you still in school to start looking months beforehand. Even if you already have a job that you enjoy there is no reason to sell yourself short. The last job I worked at college was doing technical support. I was very happy with the job, people, and better than average $14.00 an hour. However, that did not stop me from searching for new opportunities to use my degree. I applied for a job as a computer engineer in December of 2012. It wasn’t until March of 2013 that I was contacted. A month later I did a series of interviews and two weeks after graduating in June I started as an engineer. I don’t say this to be boastful, rather I want you to understand that it takes a long time to find a good job. If you put it off the opportunities for short term employment will shrink.

Enjoy some time as a fat body

Hopefully you ended senior year in peak physical condition. If so, I would say take some time to live a little. IRR is horrible in so many ways, but it does give us some time to relax and enjoy a purely civilian life. Criticize me in the comments all you want, but I say eat fried pork and drink beer to your hearts desire. There will be a day when you need to turn the fun off and get back in some boots. DON’T SHOW UP TO TBS A FAT BODY!

Travel. Explore. Disappear.

Marines in the ready reserves don’t get much from our military status, but they do get Space-A! If you don’t know, Space-A is a way for service members and their families to travel on military flights at a low cost. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to use this great benefit, but I do know it is available. Consider getting together with some fellow graduates and taking a trip somewhere. It could be a flight across the world, or a road trip for a few days. There will not be another opportunity for you to do this for years. Who knows you might not get the chance to travel freely and without worry until you retire.

There are not a whole lot of reasons for you to be happy about being put in the Individual Ready Reserve for an extensive period of time. My hope is that you will take up a better attitude about the situation and make the most of it. Enjoy time as a civilian and don’t worry too much about TBS. The time will come when the Marine Corps becomes interwoven into your lifestyle so cherish the moments you have left with your families, friends, pets, favorite restaurants, bars, stores, and whatever else you love.