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Son Is Ready to Join, A Couple Parental Questions
Last Post 19 Nov 2016 08:13 PM by SchoonerBum. 16 Replies.
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jenkinskcUser is Offline
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jenkinskc

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23 Sep 2016 08:23 AM
    My son is 17 and is ready to joint the USCG.  Since we are on the verge of a new FY can anyone speak to bonuses in the next FY?  He is thinking MST or Public Affairs Specialist.  He would also consider ET or OS if there was a bonus.  They said the wait for PAS school was in the multiple years because so few are sent each year to school so that is likely not going to pan out for him.

    Also, how are bonuses paid (besides enlistment)?  I ask because if there is a bonus and the wait to get put on the list for A school is 4 months then the list yields another 1 year wait and the bonus isn't paid until full completion he wouldn't see the bonus for upwards of two years.

    Also, any insight on prepping for the ASVAB, he has done all the practice tests but he needs to get a few more points in a few areas for the MOS's he likes.

    Many thanks in advance and with any luck a new coastguardsmen will be ready for BASIC training after his senior year!

    - Brad
    AirDale13User is Offline
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    AirDale13

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    23 Sep 2016 09:50 AM
    There are bonuses available this year. Contact local recruiter for a list of all of them. ET and OS continue to have a $10K bonus as of today. Bonuses for OS and ET are paid out upon completion of A-School. A-School will be scheduled within 11-14 weeks of the first day of boot camp. Because of this requirement boot camp is scheduled around the A-School date given to us when the request for a guaranteed A-School is sent up. Bonuses are paid out in a lump sum and will be taxed 25%. To avoid being taxed, for now, the entire amount can be put into the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). Bonus payout should be expected within 6-8 months of joining for OS and ET.
    Taking practice tests is the best prep for the ASVAB if done under timed conditions. This simulates the stress felt on the actual test.
    jenkinskcUser is Offline
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    jenkinskc

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    23 Sep 2016 09:52 AM
    AirDale13, thanks for the quick response.  So there is no information on FY17 bonuses yet?  I ask because it is unlikely we can get him to his recruiter before the end of the month as I work for DHS myself and am on projects that will not allow me the time to make it over and the local recruiter keeps strict 8-4 hours and is not available after hours or on a weekend to meet with us.
    AirDale13User is Offline
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    AirDale13

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    23 Sep 2016 09:58 AM
    I didn't say there wasn't information, I just don't remember all of them off the top of my head at the moment. Better said, I think I know them all but Im not going to speculate Ill need to check the list again which I don't have with me at the moment. Your recruiter can tell you all of them. Hopefully they can make time to see you, if its a small office you may have to work around their hours.
    jenkinskcUser is Offline
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    jenkinskc

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    23 Sep 2016 10:13 AM
    Yeah, they are a new office and small.  Any info would be great, he is worried that my lack of availability before the end of the month is going to cost him his enlistment bonus.  Obviously I do not want that to happen.  Thanks for the help.
    AirDale13User is Offline
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    23 Sep 2016 10:26 AM
    The enlistment bonus shouldn't be going away as OS and ET have enough slots open to not worry too much. Im going to be back in the office on Wednesday.
    mkellyUser is Offline
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    23 Sep 2016 10:45 AM
    Just a quick thought, but this is not a job to choose based on bonuses. I'd advise your son to get in and then decide on a job. In this work environment, choosing a job based on the money is the quickest way to be unhappy in the Coast Guard.
    jenkinskcUser is Offline
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    jenkinskc

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    23 Sep 2016 12:03 PM
    He is not seeking a job based on bonus obviously as his first choice is MST and Public affairs which has no bonus but his alternates currently do.  That said if he chooses to pick one that currently have a bonus then it would be smart to get things done to ensure he gets the bonus the MOS offers and not do it later and miss out on free TSP investments.   He was advised by the recruiter that PAS was not really a route to go as the wait it too long for school.  He may likely wait to make a choice but I want to have the relevant information for him to make a decision because if he sways towards something that has a bonus right now it is smart for him to take care of business to ensure he gets said bonus so it can be invested.
    Old Guard2User is Offline
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    23 Sep 2016 01:37 PM
    Wow, I agree with MKelly. You talk more like an investment banker than someone that wants their child to have a job they enjoy. I wouldn't care if the bonus was a million dollars, if it was far down on the list, I wouldn't go for it. Going to work every day with a smile on your face and a song in your heart (yes, I do look at life through rose colored glasses at times) is far better than any amount of money in the bank. I also don't care if an entire 4 year enlistment has to be served before the desired A School becomes available, just wait. You have nothing to lose except a few bucks. More money can always be made, happiness can't truly be bought.

    Also, does he really know anything about any of those ratings?? (We don't call them MOS, it is ratings.) Does he really know the incredible amount of boring times an OS has?? Does he know about the 3am calls to respond to a teaspoon of oil spilled in the harbor as an MST? My son is an OS. My ex-husband (we were married 12 years and I've seen enough to write a book and, at the time, pass any service wide he took) was an MST and then career M Officer.

    I must also add, your son can go to a recruiting office by himself. He can't sign anything without his parents while he is still 17 but he can talk. I think it is great that parents want to be involved and help guide but if you don't have the time, understandable, he can go himself during office hours. This is a grown up decision to be made by the person that will actually be wearing the uniform. My son still doesn't have a license at 27 years old. I had to drive him to the recruiters. But once he established his rapport with the chief he was working with, they communicated by phone and Colin made decisions all his own. I was informed as to what he was going to do, I wasn't consulted or even needed. That's a good thing. His father and I raised him to stand on his own 2 feet and he did. He would have gone alone if there were decent mass transportation and he could have gotten to the office without me. But for that, he needed my assistance. Colin also knew pretty well when he enlisted he wanted OS. They were offering a bonus back then, Boot to A School, some cash, he could have signed for that. He decided not to. He wanted to go into the fleet and really look around, see what the ratings offered. His father just retired from 30 years in the Coast Guard, Colin came home from the hospital to CG housing. He still wasn't 100% sure he was confident to decide a rating before enlisting. He took almost 2.5 years to finally say "Yep OS is it." He really wavered seeing different ratings. He went OS anyway, missed out on that bonus. But it didn't matter, there were no regrets because he was certain he was doing what was right for him, money or no money. Do not be a helicopter parent, let your child find his own way.
    Sector NY, Staten Island
    jenkinskcUser is Offline
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    23 Sep 2016 03:14 PM
    Well I was hoping for some advice not to be scolded for trying to get information and help my son make informed decisions.  The jargon I do not know, I am not in the Coast Guard, I was using terms familiar to me.  I care dearly for my son and I want him to be happy but as a 17 year old YOUNG ADULT he needs insight and direction from his parents still.  Not a helicopter parent but I would think a parents insight is still important at 17 years old.  I have tried several times to explain that he doesn't care about the bonuses and my only reason for asking was that if he was to choose those jobs it is literally STUPID to screw yourself out of a bonus that can be used to better your future (i.e. investments, TSP, etc).  This is a logical question when you are trying to help a young adult make wise adult decisions.  Thanks for the bit of info I did get from those that replied.
    blaneyparkUser is Offline
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    23 Sep 2016 05:42 PM
    For a bonus that amount to 2-3-4K big deal. As said before look at all the jobs offered. Once you lock into a special job (rate) that the CG invested 15-20K to teach someone it isn't that easy to switch rates. I joined the CG at 17 years old and had no idea of all that was offered. I found it better to explore before jumping in to something just for the money.
    BellsUser is Offline
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    Bells

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    23 Sep 2016 07:14 PM
    I would advise anyone to go in the field first. There is a reason why certain ratings offer bonuses and some aren't. Not to start a rating war but as of now, the aviation ratings, BM, HS, MST, PA and maybe a few others aren't offering bonuses because their retention level is obviously higher. Not to say that probably alot of people in those do love their job....

    And honestly I never thought so many schools would have such a short wait he's got alot of options
    Take what you like and leave the rest behind.
    AirDale13User is Offline
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    AirDale13

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    24 Sep 2016 12:53 PM
    Posted By jenkinskc on 23 Sep 2016 01:03 PM
    He is not seeking a job based on bonus obviously as his first choice is MST and Public affairs which has no bonus but his alternates currently do.  That said if he chooses to pick one that currently have a bonus then it would be smart to get things done to ensure he gets the bonus the MOS offers and not do it later and miss out on free TSP investments.   He was advised by the recruiter that PAS was not really a route to go as the wait it too long for school.  He may likely wait to make a choice but I want to have the relevant information for him to make a decision because if he sways towards something that has a bonus right now it is smart for him to take care of business to ensure he gets said bonus so it can be invested.

    Im surprised to hear this advice from a recruiter. The best advice is to do what you love so if he wants to be in the USCG and wants to be a PA, wait it out. He's gotta really want it with a 4 year wait. A lot of folks are only thinking of doing 4 years and get out. At that point a guaranteed A-School is great and with a bonus is even sweeter. So what to do....my advice would be to get in and see what its all about. There is a $2000 bonus just for joining right now. Bonuses for OS have been around for years so I don't see it going away. Remember the bonus for A-School is not an enlistment bonus which means folks in the CG right now are eligible too. Get in the CG, see what it offers and then he can make a great decision. Trying to make that decision now is hard.
    drumbeaterUser is Offline
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    drumbeater

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    26 Sep 2016 01:50 PM
    I would be focusing on getting in front of the recruiter and making sure he will qualify you then start discussing ratings. My son just got the $2000 sign on bonus, taxed at 25% and I think spread over a year, so it's not all that. He just wanted to be in the USCG and bonus was an add on. He thought about picking a rate for a bonus before going to Cape May, but decided (and was advised) to first finish boot, go to your first station, then try a few different jobs and see what you enjoyed. He's 21, so might be a little different for him, but at 17 I would surely want to leave my options open. If you pick a rate you're stuck with it for your entire time in is the way I understood it.
    AndisossUser is Offline
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    Andisoss

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    27 Sep 2016 06:44 PM
    I would encourage him to go into the fleet as a non-rate and see all the jobs first hand prior to committing to one. The largest mistake I see from our young folks is they pick a rate to either "get off the boat" or they go for the bonus money. We all know that in reality, $10,000 or even $20,000 is not worth having a job you are miserable doing. The people who choose to go PA tend to LOVE their job and stay in for a very long time. This means there are fewer openings into the field, which is part of the reason the "A" School wait is so long. 

    As a former recruiter, almost every single one of my recruits (I keep an eye on them) ended up picking a job they did not have any interest in during our interactions. I had guys who wanted to be an AST become an YN. I had girls who wanted to be an MST become a AET. 

    Your son also needs to understand the first few years in the Coast Guard can be rough to say the least. We have decks that need to be swept, dishes that need to be cleaned and a lookout helm on my bridge that needs manning. But as bad as that sounds, I am a commissioned officer (prior enlisted) managing a multi-million dollar budget with impossible deadlines. I miss the days when the full extent of my responsibility was washing forks.
    Old Guard2User is Offline
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    Old Guard2

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    28 Sep 2016 01:38 PM
    I'm fairly confident the OP didn't like my response. Seems other agree with me with not the same nasty spin I sort of put on it. But I doubt he is reading any of this. That's a shame too. There are a lot of seasoned Coasties giving the same answer and he doesn't appreciate it.
    Sector NY, Staten Island
    SchoonerBumUser is Offline
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    SchoonerBum

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    19 Nov 2016 08:13 PM
    As a new coastie, give your young'n space.

    Every other branch makes you choose before you know what's going on. The CG is awesome in that regard.

    As for things like bonuses, rates and such, there is a saying that has been quoted time and time again.

    "Choose your Rate, Choose your Fate"


    You want to know what you're getting into before you choose.

    This is from someone 25 with 9+ years of work under my belt.

    SN
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