Reserve retirement and the blog’s top ten posts













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Last October I moved the blog from to Bluehost. By then I’d been blogging about financial independence for two years. The blog had reached nearly 122,000 pageviews and about 7000 views per month. Certain posts had bubbled their way up to the top of the reader rankings.


Top ten posts after two years of blogging.

Top ten posts October 2012


Boy have things changed in the last eight months! By the time you read this post, this self-hosted version of the blog will have already gone over 100,000 pageviews. It started at nearly 10,000 pageviews per month and is now pushing 14,000. Thanks to a boost a few weeks ago from a surfing metaphor on Mr. Money Mustache, it even broke 1000 views per day.

What’s even more interesting, though is how the top ten posts have changed. This ranking below is a fresh start from zero (not a continuation of the last two years) so it only has eight months of data.


Top ten blog posts after moving the blog to Bluehost

Top ten posts June 2013


About 75% of the blog’s traffic comes from search engines directly to a particular post, and it didn’t take long for that to exceed the number of readers landing on the home page. The subject of “Calculating a Reserve retirement” is even more than five times as popular than the post on “How many years does it take to become financially independent?” This Reserve post has been up for over a year, so Google gives it some ranking authority in their search algorithm. Of course a lot of people are clicking on that search result, too, so Google gives it even more ranking authority.

Reserve pensions are four of the top ten topics, and the Thrift Savings Plan has been available for over a decade now so that could be a fifth Reserve subject. Add in the fact that the USAA Career Starter Loan goes to cadets/midshipmen, about half of which are commissioned from ROTC units…

My best guess is that most of the searchers are trying to figure out their Reserve retirement benefits from this blog to check their service’s website calculator. Ironically those website calculators started going behind their service’s login firewalls about the time the post came out. Maybe Reservists can’t log in to their service’s website calculator without a CAC or their password (especially if they “retired awaiting pay” a few years ago) and they’re just looking for a fast answer.

If you’re a regular reader of new posts like this one (or if you stumble across this post from a search engine) I’d appreciate your thoughts on why these Reserve posts made the top ten. I’ll happily devote a separate section of the blog to a popular topic, or even write an eBook on the subject.

If you know how to program smartphone apps then you might want to take a look at your service’s retirement calculator and see whether its code can be ported to run (without bandwidth) on a phone or a tablet. One active-duty entrepreneur had this epiphany with Total Pay (over there in the sidebar again on Uncle Sam’s smiling face), and you could make life easier for your shipmates too.

It’ll be interesting to see how the “top post” rankings change over the next year. I think the drawdown will continue until at least 2017, but perhaps the Reserve retirements will have slowed down by then.


Any other ideas why the “Reserve retirement” topic is so popular here?



(Click here to return to the top of the post.)



Related articles:
Calculating a Reserve retirement
Military Reserve and National Guard retirement calculators
Military retirement from the Individual Ready Reserve
Reserve military retirement for active-duty veterans with previous Reserve or National Guard service
Reserve military pension for “discharge” instead of “retired awaiting pay”
Military Reserve sanctuary and active-duty retirement
Sanctuary and military retirement during a Reserve career
Reader questions on Reserve retirement Tricare and points
Guest Post Wednesday: “My Road to a Reserve Retirement”
Navy Reserve retirement credit for ROTC summer training
The regulation for calculating an active-duty pension


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WHAT I DO: I help you reach financial independence. For free. I retired in 2002 after 20 years in the Navy's submarine force. I wrote "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement" to share the stories of over 50 other financially independent servicemembers, veterans, and families. All of my writing revenue is donated to military-friendly charities.

  1. I imagine that some of the traffic from the Reserve retirement posts comes from active duty service members who are trying to decide between staying active duty, switching to the Reserves, or leaving military service altogether. I know I have accessed your “Calculating a Reserve retirement” post several times in order to help me decide what to do in the future.

    At the end of this enlistment, I will have 9 years of service, and I am somewhat torn between my options. I have recently decided that I will definitely leave active duty, but the Reserves still has a lot of appeal. I don’t personally know anyone in the Reserves and I cringe at the thought of talking to a Reserve recruiter about pay and benefits. However, reading your posts has cleared a lot of things up about the Reserve retirement system. The information you’ve shared has helped me to better weigh the pros and cons of Reserve service. So thanks a lot! And with the drawdown expected to continue until 2017, hopefully there will be a lot more people in my position looking for similar answers and coming to this blog to figure it out!

    • Glad that helps, Brandi!

      I’d also suggest finding out what Reserve units are closest to your new location, and asking them about billets & AT. You don’t want to have to drive hundreds of miles for a drill weekend if you can help it, or change time zones for your AT. I’ve even seen servicemembers change services for the convenience– especially going from Navy to National Guard.

      Most recruiters will encourage you to sign up for the Reserves as part of leaving active duty. If you do it that way (no break between active duty & Reserves) then you can be guaranteed only voluntary mobilization for the first year or two. After that, of course, you have to balance lifestyle and your civilian/Reserve careers against the decision to keep drilling or transfer to the IRR.

      If your civilian career should take you to federal civil service, then read (one comment above this one) for more advice on balancing Reserve vs civil service… and on “buying” your active duty time in the federal civil service pension plan.

      Many of your shipmates from earlier active-duty commands may have moved to the Reserves by now. You can probably find them on or the Facebook groups for your previous commands. And, according to my (Navy Reserve) spouse, at least half of the women you’ve served with are now in the Reserves.

  2. I’m happy with netvibes- It works on various devices and does not require a software download.

    Still trying to figure out how to replace iGoogle :(

    • Thanks, Eddie, I’m going to have to try netvibes too.

      I read most of my blog subscriptons at my desktop, but that’ll change in a few months when I’m using an iPad on the road for FinCon13.

  3. I’ve used FeedDemon and Feedly for several months now. Having learned how to use it and being updated to the latest version, I find I like Feedly. If one goes to the top of the page and changes the format to “magazine” it gives the best view. Also, another secret – instead of clicking on the check mark at the top of the page, wait to go to the one at the bottom and it will automatically take you to the next blog.

    Also, when first logging on, go to the right side and click on the blog closest to the top of your alphabetical list.

    Comment? Question? What's on your mind?