💥💥 How I made an extra $700/week in US Navy RTC Boot Camp 💥💥
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It was the summer of 2002 and I was in Navy RTC, from the moment I stepped my foot off the white buses into Camp Moffett, it was a huge cultural shock for me.
As I am sure you can guess bootcamp is very restrictive; you are told what to do, and when to do it and you are not allowed any candy, soda, cigarettes, etc.
I have always been an entrepreneur at heart, looking to make a buck and in bootcamp I found the perfect opportunity to make an extra $500 cash per week, adjusted for inflation 18 years later that is about $700 in 2020 dollars.
Very quickly I learned how things worked at bootcamp and found a little loophole in the security.
To make this very long story short, at the time, recruits wore one type of uniform referred to as utilities and graduated sailors wore their working whites.
I discovered if I put on my working whites uniform, the MAA which is the Navy’s version of Military Police, would let me walk right out the main gates of boot camp, and I could walk right into the gates of the main naval base down the street.
From there I could go to the Navy Exchange, purchase whatever items my fellow recruits wanted and smuggle it back into bootcamp. Selling each item at a hefty profit. Of course, getting caught would be very bad, in fact, I did get caught, and it is a very funny story how, while being honorable and accepting my punishment. I was able to use my wits to reduce the outcome of my punishment, but that is a story for another video.
Sound off in the comments below and tell me how brilliant or stupid my actions were, of course, I know I wasn’t the first to figure this out, and I sure as heck wasn’t the last.
For any of you that think you will be cute and do the same. I’ve heard the Navy has locked things down much more, so new recruits may not have the same abilities to wonder on and off the base as we did.
Now for those of you that have stayed, here are some tips to maximize your finances while in boot camp. This works for Navy, Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, and Marines.
Depending on your contract you will enter bootcamp at a paygrade of either E1 through to E3 and current 2020 military pay grades show you will earn between $1,600 and $2,000 per month. Of course, the military takes almost all of your first paycheck to cover “personal items” you are issued like shampoo, razors, tennis shoes, etc. Excluding this first paycheck, you are paid at least $50 per day for a 30 day month.
With this $50 a day I suggest you take at least $10 per day, preferable if you can take $16 per day and allocating this to a Roth IRA. At the end of your 6-year commitment to the US Military you will have invested $42,000 towards your retirement, even better, based upon historical averages of 7% growth per year you will actually have almost $52,000. That is $10,000 for free.
That is only the beginning. If you continue this until age 60 you will have invested just under $250,000, but and here is the great part . . . your investment will be worth approximately $1.4 MILLION.
This isn’t even the best part of the advice. Throughout the years you paid your normal income taxes on the $250,000 each year, the remainder of your $1.4 million is tax-free courtesy of uncle sam.
For more details on exactly how a Roth IRA works, check out my video on IRAs. The link is in the description box.
Now back to how to make this work for boot camp recruits. Prior to leaving for boot camp I highly recommend you get a checking account and IRA setup. You can use any bank you wish, but I do recommend USAA or US Navy Federal Credit Union as they are able to offer additional benefits to military personnel.
Whichever you choose make sure you bring your account numbers and routing information for both checking and your IRA with you to bootcamp.
There are VERY FEW personal items you can keep with you, but they will let you keep your banking info on a small piece of paper.
Then on one of the first few days of boot camp, they will sit down with you to get that information so your paychecks are direct deposited correctly.
Once you setup your direct deposit, it will be automatic and you do not need to worry about it. Get back to focusing on training and finishing Boot Camp.
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In closing a quick statement: I am not a lawyer, CPA, tax advisor, realtor, financial advisor, etc., etc., I have absolutely no licenses/certifications in anything related to these industries, I am just a dude on the internet. So, in full disclosure: the information I provide here is for “entertainment purposes only” and you should seek counsel from competent and certified individuals if you have questions.