This post was sparked by interest in my previous post regarding the true value of military compensation with retirement. To expand further, I developed an interactive calculator that individuals can use to accurately calculate the present value of their future active duty or reserve retirement. This calculator allows any service-member to input their personal information and receive a relatively accurate snapshot of the present value of their total military compensation to include income, bonuses, G.I. bill, and retirement benefits.
There are a few important updates I made to the calculator when compared to my previous analysis; the inclusion of the G.I. Bill and bonus. The G.I. Bill benefit is not used by everyone, however it often part of the decision-making process to stay in or separate from the military. The continuation bonus becomes a very important decision for pilots who find themselves in double-digit years of service. Both the G.I. Bill and bonus are located in the inputs section of this calculator, and should be personalized according to your specific situation.
The first tab of the spreadsheet is the calculator; the tables and graphs populate with are all you need. If you are interested in the specific calculations, you can scroll right. Inputs are highlighted in yellow, and assumptions are in orange. Any of these are subject to change to best suit your situation, however, the assumptions can be left as a realistic baseline. The next tab includes rank progression for both officers and enlisted. If you change this rank progression, it will change the compensation accordingly. The other tabs are for base pay and BAH for each rank. The formulas in the spreadsheet will find the precise rank and import this into the first tab. I used BAH for the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, but you can alter the numbers based on your location.
I hope this calculator can be used to make more informed decisions about a military career, or at the very least amplify the awareness of military benefits. If you think something could or should be done to improve this calculator please don't hesitate to reach out!