Thank you Carol! I retired from the Coast Guard in 2007. The cost of living has about doubled in those 7 years: gasoline is double, tolls have doubled in NJ, and mass transit costs have gone up significantly. My pay raise this year was $1.15. For some reason they are withholding less so I actually get $7.95 more.
And thanks to the artificial raising of the housing prices with the real estate bubble leaving housing costs 2-4x what they would be if the bubble never occurred, I can't afford to buy a house in the country I served to protect and defend for over 20 years. In my state of NJ it's hard to even find a decent rental: most apartment buildings have been converted to condo's. And, Section 8 housing (free rent money for the poor) pays double what a property is worth driving the cost of all other rentals way above value and affordability. Tack on extremely high property taxes and everything is working against people.
I will be moving out of state in the coming months as my pension doesn't go very far here. And, I'm a retired officer! I don't know how the retired enlisted folks are getting by.